When old and new worlds collide – a look at what’s happening


Who says that the Apple watch will ring the death-knell for luxury watches? Tag Heuer has announced on 18 March this year at BaselWorld, a pre-eminent watch show in Switzerland, that it would be entering the smartwatch market with a partnership with Intel and Google. Tag Heuer is not a stranger to the smartwatch having developed a special edition of the Aquaracer 72 for the crew of the America’s Cup but what is more significant is that it is entering a whole new paradigm for watches, and watch-making. This makes for exciting times!

Related: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/style/tag-heuer-smartwatch-is-the-talk-of-baselworld.html

In this article, we examine the different lifestyle changes that are occurring and what it would mean to the old world offering.


Golf originated from 15th century Scotland so this is really OLD world. That it has survived to the latter day is a great testament to the resilience of the sport. But not any more. Golf clubs around the world are seeing a significant decline in membership and it is not unusual to see middle-aged and older members ambling about the club grounds. The relevance of the sport, and its association with upper-middle class “stiff-upper-lip” lifestyle is alien to our younger population who grew up on the anonymity of computer games. That golf requires the player to be a consistent “somebody” who cannot take on an avatar is making the younger players quite uncomfortable. And to actually have sticks that hit balls down manicured fields is totally anachronistic to latter-day recreation. Perhaps golf as a concept can still survive in Wii, but as a game in and of itself, it will certainly dwindle in its demand. And if the sport doesn’t reinvent itself in the next decade or so, large swathes of land will give way to development; maybe even earlier for land-scarce Singapore.

Fountain Pens

When was the last time you wrote a cheque with a fountain pen? In fact, when was the last time you even wrote a cheque, period!? The use of the fountain pen has dwindled rapidly over the past decade to the point where fountain pens have been relegated to an ornament. Having survived almost 2000 years of history (the first fountain pen design was mooted in 974 A.D.!), it is now fast finding its way to the museum. Having already been relegated to antiquity, the remnants of pen use can still be found in some learning technologies. Yet the pen is more a means to help older learners like me, who have had fountain pen lessons in school, than the new generation who may have handwriting as a footnote to keyboard lessons. What the fountain pen is to our parents and grandparents, so is the keyboard to our children. While the pen may well find its way to antiquity, the pencil will still maintain its relevance – especially in survival situations! I cannot see a way in which fountain pens can hold its relevance over the next 20 years, which makes me wonder what I will do with my hundred or so fountain pen collection!


One wonders if teachers, as teachers go, will maintain their relevance. Learning will no doubt still be a key driver for any society yet the means by which it is delivered has come under huge transformation. E- and m-learning methodologies may have supplanted the need for face-to-face learning. In fact, while learning was previously synchronous, many modes of asynchronous learning have supplanted the need for real-time learning. This tremendously increases the reach and scalability of knowledge sharing, and hence, learning. This will also significantly reduce the effect of “star teachers” to “star curriculum” as the teachers are able to replicate, and multiply, their reach. In time, teachers may be replaced by an app, bringing learning full-circle and right back into the hands of the learners. Teachers have to reinvent themselves from merely content delivery to content packaging; and the one who can create a program that reaches out and touches the learners in the largest of scale will be the last teacher standing.


I am sure that if you are in the world of publishing, you will be shaking in your pants. If you cannot come up with a viable solution to combat self- and online-publishing, you will soon be out of a job. True, there is a certain aspect of didactic learning that cannot be replaced by a tablet, yet the children of tomorrow might not cultivate that habit of reading a book. If this learning mode is not developed, they would not know the difference, and as a result, will not choose a book over the computer or tablet. This is already happening, and within a whole generation, there will be no printed books left. There might still be one or two printed copies of books kept as a backup or as a repository (although that too is fast being out-moded by the cloud), but in time, books will be distributed online and to one’s cloud account. No more fuss, no more shelves, no more bookworms.


The monotheistic religions have actually embraced the new world quite well, pushing their isms onto the World Wide Web, reaching out to the masses. That ISIS can still radicalize normal Muslims to leave the comfort of their homes and fight for their cause shows the potential of online content in pushing religiosity. Yet this is just one level. Another would be a whole new religion born out of the Internet. With no form nor basis, the online world can take over the establishments and dogmas of brick-and-mortar worship, giving people an alternative that many may be seeking. And that may be very dangerous.

Are you ready for the new world?

Many established businesses are already coming under threat by the new world order and there is a need to reinvent ourselves. Yet, like the oil-lamp companies during the turn of the 20th century, who didn’t see the advent of electricity overpowering their universe, many of us are blissfully oblivious to the convergence of the new world onto us. If we are unable to make the shift to embrace the new world, if we cannot follow the lead of Tag Heuer, which has more than 150 years of history, to embrace the new world, we might go down the annals of history not as a footnote, but as an unrecorded event.

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