An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis
Be curious. Allowing your mind to wonder produces very rich thoughts that may not otherwise happen.
As a part of my series about “Big Ideas That Might Change The World In The Next Few Years” I had the pleasure of interviewing Dustin Whitney.
Dustin Whitney is an entrepreneur and a futurist. He operates at the intersections of enterprise, innovation, and design. Dustin’s current focus is around global demographics and the future of work.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you please tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
My career began to take shape at an early age. I became a manger when I was young, and I realized I had much to learn. I was fortunate to get involved in a leadership development program which had a profound impact on me. What began as executive training morphed into a deep and impactful personal journey. Early goals of becoming a better manager and boss quickly turned to how to be a better friend, a better father, a better husband. It has allowed me to approach topics with balance and clarity.
Can you please share with us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
While I always thought I’d be in business and probably working in an office environment, I never thought I would climb mountains or ride motorcycles in far and remote areas. Encouraged to get out of my comfort zone and to put my trust in others, I joined a team that promotes leadership and adventure. We’ve led many expeditions and have helped many.
A particularly memorable trip was in 2013 when we journeyed to Africa to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. We always include a charitable component in every one of our adventures, so before our trek we first brought much needed supplies and resources to an orphanage in Tanzania. We climbed and successfully summited the mountain after a great day of playing soccer with the kids.
Which principles or philosophies have guided your life? Your career?
I try to incorporate servant leadership in everything that I do. It’s a practice that is incredibly rewarding, produces results, and brings the best out of people. It’s amazing what can get done when people are treated with respect and without concern of who gets credit.
Ok thank you for that. Let’s now move to the main focus of our interview. Can you tell us about your “Big Idea That Might Change The World”?
The world is facing a shortage of working age people. While it is true that the global population has tripled since 1950, doomsday predictions of overpopulation are misleading and could be based on flawed interpretation of widely propagated demographic statistics. Heavily relied upon models have not been accurate — predicting too many births as well as too many deaths.
In short, the population has grown dramatically over recent decades largely because fewer people have died — not because of increases in births. The result is an unexpected shift in the makeup of our society — many more older people than expected and a whole lot fewer young people.
How do you think this will change the world?
The implications are broad and deep. These demographic shifts are going to present tremendous challenges for business and society. We need to re-evaluate the fundamental components of our economic systems and rethink our approaches to infrastructure, community development, and healthcare systems. Prospects of automation, the use of robotics and deep learning machines are not threats, but potentially important solutions. Likewise, today’s immigration debates are not merely matters of humanity and justice, but of economics and of future prosperity.
Bad decisions are made when based on flawed facts and well-intended policies could make bad situations even worse. Proper planning with market driven solutions is needed, yet some may look for easy answers. Having more children can correct this unforeseen and disproportionate drop in working age populations. How does a society produce more babies? Encourage childbirth with incentives and support? Some may pursue increasing births in ways that mother nature didn’t intend to. The potential of a Supreme Court reversal of Roe vs. Wade is certainly creating divisive opinions. Is the world willing to clone people? What about birthing camps? How about technologically driven artificial wombs? Will some societies go down that path?
Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this idea? Can you tell us that story?
The tipping point for me was when I realized there was a flaw in the numbers that everyone seems to use. Virtually all analyses performed by governments, economists and major investment operations associated with numbers of people, their geographic regions, and ages are based upon the same projections. The U.S. government entitlement and pension trajectories, the balance of economic power — as determined by the World Bank — and virtually all major public and private spending programs use the same numbers.
What do you need to lead this idea to widespread adoption?
A willingness to put aside biases, review the facts, and to commit to intentional, sincere engagement.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why.
- Be curious.
Allowing your mind to wonder produces very rich thoughts that may not otherwise happen.
2. Prioritize flexibility.
Balance is incredibly helpful and leads not just to productivity, but deeper levels of satisfaction and happiness.
3. Thoroughly consider opposing views.
Other people’s opinions matter and there is a reason behind them.
4. Surround yourself with virtuous people.
Virtue leads to a happy and meaningful life.
5. There’s never a right time — don’t wait.
It’s better to seize the opportunity of the day rather than letting it pass you by.
Can you share with our readers what you think are the most important “success habits” or “success mindsets”?
Ego can be poisonous.
I always like to remember that we stand on the shoulders of those that came before us.
Aristotle had it right in his definition of a leader — ethos, pathos, logos are all necessary components.
Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
These changes are a global topic that is impacting the entire world.
This isn’t something that may happen or could develop at some point in the future.
This is happening now, and the numbers show it.
There is virtually no part of American life that this will not impact.
Want to know more? Call me.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
I welcome collaboration. People can follow me on Twitter (@dwhitneygroup) and I produce a newsletter with more in-depth analysis. Email is the best way to communicate with me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.
Dustin Whitney’s Big Idea That Might Change The World was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.