ML48 – How to be a Futurist with Alex Salkever

Alex Salkever is an author, a speaker and a futurist. He has been a senior executive at a number of Silicon Valley startups and technology companies including Mozilla and Telefonica. He’s also been the technology editor of BusinessWeek and dozens of other major publications. He is co-author of: The Immigrant Exodus: Why America is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent”, which, by the way, was named by The Economist to the “Books of the Year List” in 2012. More recently he co-authored, The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future” which was named to a list of finalists for the Financial Times / McKinsey Book of the Year Award.

Alex Salkever

Episode Summary: How to be a Futurist with Alex Salkever

  • What impact do electronics have in the education and reading process?
  • Monotask v multitask- what is better?
  • Focus in the moment
  • Are there times and places for multitasking?
  • Multitasking is not appropriate in all occasions
  • Fragmentation of the work day is why people are so stressed out
  • Create space for different tasks
  • Futurist- you want to spend a lot of conscious time looking at what is happening and what is going to happen
    • Futurists are often wrong- but it is the process of figuring out what the trends are
    • Anyone can be a futurist – it is a mindset
  • Futurists are observant and curious- familiar with their surroundings
  • Immigrant entrepreneurs- Alex spent time researching how the US has become less friendly for starting a business as an immigrant
    • Visa problems are hurting entrepreneurship
    • Scaring away the risk takers
  • Why are immigrants disproportionately more likely to be entrepreneurial?
    • Have less to lose to begin with
    • More willing to take risk
    • Less likely to get other jobs, particularly white collar
    • Risk appetite
  • Do we control technology or does it control us?
    • Is technology moving too quickly
  • What is the purpose of a driver in the driverless car?
    • What is pushing us towards innovation and how does that push determine our future?
  • Technology is introducing interesting ethical conversations- specifically with genes
    • Ethically and responsibly
  • Self-regulate without regulating ourselves out of innovation
  • Stay curious and read

Listen to the Audio

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Learning From Leaders: 

Current Book: Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Best Movie Ever: Blade Runner

Leadership Superpower: Take complex thoughts and communicate in crisp writing form

Motivational Mantra:

Leadership Trait to Pass to Next Generation:

Best Book Ever: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Anders Ericsson

Additional Items Mentioned

Psych – television show

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

The Emigrant Edge: How to Make It Big in America by Brian Buffini

Alex’s Website

Welcome to the Future by Brad Paisley


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Podcaster | Speaker | Leadership Mentor

Jake Carlson is a popular speaker, accountability partner, and host of the Modern Leadership podcast. Jake built his business while traveling with his family around the world. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn. Read more about him here.