Returning to the (Electronic) Cottage
This is not a post about rich people now able to visit their second homes after the lockdown—instead, a revisit of the concepts of decentralized work being the new way of undertaking projects.
In 1980, Alvin Toffler’s book The Third Wave introduced the idea of “The Electronic Cottage” as the modern workplace when information technology allows more people to work from home or wherever they want. Toffler was a futurist and businessman who did not get the attention he deserved. Even though he was identified by Accenture as one of the most influential voices in business leaders (along with Bill Gates and Peter Drucker), we do not hear much about him.
When I was at university in the 1980s, we were required to read The Third Wave. At the time, I was more interested in learning about compiler design and database structures, but I read the book and the ideas stuck. Thinking back, it is the only book from my entire degree that I still remember.
The First and Second Waves
The first wave was the agricultural revolution, when hunter-gathers started farming and settled in villages.
The second wave was the industrial revolution, when cheap, non-renewable fossil fuel energy was used to leapfrog previous levels of productivity. This industrialization required mobility from the workforce, and people moved from villages into cities to work in mills and
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