Oh baby, it's a wired world, and the media willnever be the same

I was sitting with a doyen of the media industry during the week as he was explaining some impressive future moves he is making. It was inspiring to see someone still on top of the opportunities the contemporary world offers at the age of 75.

I was sitting with a doyen of the media industry during the week as he was explaining some impressive future moves he is making. It was inspiring to see someone still on top of the opportunities the contemporary world offers at the age of 75.

As he was talking, he explained his recent weekend in hospital where, among other tortures, he was forced to endure the insertion of a catheter. Wince! With watering eyes, I managed to move the conversation back to business, until he started to give me a detailed explanation about how the catheter was essential for the restoration of his health.

Leaning back languidly with legs crossed, he added: "And of course it's still in for another week or so." I was horrified - but he was perfectly comfortable.

It made me think of the need for us all to look after our health from an early age because it's only a matter of time before we have to pay for neglect.

A bit like the media business, which is going through the biggest changes since the printing press, leaving some companies badly out of condition and in need of a life-giving digital examination and injection.

Some still don't understand the consequences of the fact that more than 50 per cent of the readers of this column will be reading it online - unheard of a decade ago. And this change is happening faster than anything that came before. Even television took a quarter of a century to take hold. Within 15 years, digital advertising will take more media dollars than either newspapers or television.

So what does this mean for those that are reading this right now? It means the days of leisurely evolutionary change are over and will never be revisited, such is the all-embracing power of the digital revolution.

When Henry Ford arrived with his motor car, people thought it was such a scary thing that a man should walk in front of his horseless carriages holding a flag to warn everyone within earshot to steer clear of this radical conveyance. Very quickly, the horseless carriages took over and the horse, as grand as it was, was renounced as a beast of burden, only to return to glory on racetracks in the Great Depression with the likes of Phar Lap (and right now, Black Caviar).

We all need to understand what every five-year-old knows - this is a digital world. How many kids have you seen walk across to the flatscreen TV and swipe their hand across the bottom of the screen to turn it on? If you think I'm joking, you should meet Louise's three-year-old grandson. He throws such a tantrum if he can't play with his parent's iPhone that they gave him their old one without a sim card but still connected to the home Wi-Fi. Little Charlie spends as many happy hours as his parents will permit, surfing the net looking for websites that show people's car collections. I kid you not.

There's no time to waste. So even if you have an unexpected misadventure over the weekend and end up at the doctors, or worse, lying in a hospital bed watching a smiling nurse arrive with one of those worrying contraptions that my old mate had to experience, take a lead from that 75-year-old, and get straight back to the shop and throw out all those old systems that you know have had their day. And make sure you haven't got any executives around you protecting what they hold dear - you can bet it will be beyond its use-by date before the year is out.

Everything goes out of date and everything has to be renewed. No exceptions. Charlie, who has been able to see the future so well for years now, has started to tell me about how and when China will hit the wall - but more of that in a week or so. In the meantime, you might consider adopting the mantra of Charlie the Oracle: "Own tomorrow by reinventing today."

Make sure you don't take a catheter to your business - the business catheter is really someone called a Receiver Manager, and you don't want one of those either.

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