The View From 2020: A Datasnap From the Near Future

Graham Button takes a break from his Microsoft U studies at a rented media pod on the beach in Zanzibar to file a post ten years from now.

Graham Button takes a break from his Microsoft U studies at a rented media pod on the beach in Zanzibar to file a post ten years from now.


I’m voice-writing this in a rented media pod on the beach in Zanzibar.

Yup, I’m back in school–Microsoft U, the old alma mater, doing a Master’s, my second–this time in NGO Studies. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the marine development work, but all that hover-jetting to the North Atlantic wave farms was just too much ass-time for me.

I decided to do it down here for the kiting–the thermals from these new wind patterns are insane. I’d always wanted to see the Maldives but I was too late–the Melt submerged them a couple of years back. So Zanzibar it is.

Actually I turned down a gig as CEO of a social design think tank to do this re-tooling. The VCs were projecting a fast turnkey company to sell half a dozen patents. Four years tops. But it was a chair job in Shanghai and these days life in the Chinese Renaissance is, I have to admit it, a little too fast for me.


The People’s Building, Shanghai

I’ve been on a media health break for a couple of weeks and I’m just back on feed. Jesus, the Petrobras Raiders winning the Super Bowl! Didn’t see that coming. A 40-year-old running back pulling a 51-meter end run! The stem-cell juice must be working. I guess we’ll be seeing a lot more of that in Baghdad at the Olympics.


And how about the Facebook-Twitter referendum on the New Corporate Governance? Nearly two billion against–you’d think we were back in the 20th century! By the way, that pipeline bombing in the South African zone of Antarctica was a shocker. One of the Oceacorp guys said three different Christian groups are claiming it. Not just the usual Book of Revelation nutjobs.


Their way or the highway

My partner has been gaming restaurant plays and she’s ready to take her idea hardworld. She’s opening three C2C fusion trattorias: In the Gallery District in Detroit, Pharm City in New Orleans, and Green Row in Colorado. Cradle-to-cradle all the way, not one manhandled molecule on the menu. I tried to tell her that in the luxury niche the pendulum is swinging back to “mass” again. Forbidden fruit–it’s “where the rial goes,” as the Iranians have been saying since the sanctions were lifted.

Froot Loops

Those were the days

Speaking of headstrong women, maybe power is going to your heads. Six women on the Supreme Court, five women heads-of-state on the Global Council, twelve on the G14. But this law suit against the guy who was having bionet sex with three avatars? Is nothing sacred?

I met Onwas last week, the nanoscientist prodigy they’re tipping for the Nobel Prize. He was here ballooning since Tanzania is his stomping ground. He’s a Hadza, one of the only hunter-gatherer groups left. You know he got his start with a micro-loan? 300 Eurodollars. He was eating baboons, now he’s a god.


The Hadza see things in perspective

Who would have thought ten years ago that the biggest U.S. export would be intellectual property? I passed an NYC psychotherapy franchise–The Center™–in Kinshasa the other day.

Or that the old “hidden” economy would be outed by the recession of ’08? I was visiting my mom recently, and a knife sharpener came to the door. “Any knives need sharpening?” Now that’s Eurodollar harvesting! She also did bionet troubleshooting and tree surgery.

Better wrap this up, I’m back in the pod in two minutes for a debate between CEOs and diplomats. Subject: Is one life worth more than another? Should be fun.

More next week.

[Wingsuit,; The People’s Building,; graffiti image,; Hazda, National Geographic by Martin Scholler]


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Graham Button is a writer from London who worked in advertising for more than twenty years. He took the scenic route to Genesis, passing through agencies in Hong Kong, Toronto, and finally New York, where he was a creative director and executive vice president at Grey Worldwide. He has created advertising in most media for every kind of brand and all sorts of companies, including Diageo, Kaiser Permanente, Molson Breweries, GM, and South China Morning Post Newspapers. Beaver Creek, one of the Vail Resorts brands, chose to follow him to Genesis from Grey. Work he originated as a copywriter or championed as a creative director has been recognized in awards shows
in Los Angeles, Toronto, New York, London, Cannes, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Sydney and has been featured on
America’s Funniest Videos and Larry King Live.


About the author

Graham is a founding principal of Bravo Echo, working with leaders of organizations to evolve their business through brand, strategy and commuications. “We find the truth behind the noise, distill insight from human patterns, and build narrative that changes behavior.” He is a writer from London who spent 20 years in the advertising world, at agencies in Hong Kong, Toronto, and finally New York, where he was an Executive Vice President at Grey Worldwide