In 1989, I gave a speech to a business class at Florida International University in Miami. During a question-and-answer session afterwards, one student, wise beyond her years, asked me if I thought that someday the traditional office would give way to employees in remote locations being connected via computers to their companies.Of all the people she could have asked, she asked the one who, 17 years before, had assured his friends and family that one of the dumbest ideas of all time was to pattern a TV series after the hit movie M*A*S*H.
True to form, I kept my record as the world's worst futurist intact with what, at the time, seemed a pretty valid argument. I told her that most people enjoy the structure of going to work. If nothing else, people are creatures of habit, and commuters usually have a set routine - coffee, newspaper and either catching the 7:14 into the city or driving to their offices. In addition, they usually enjoy the interaction with fellow co-workers, something they would not get working at home or in a remote one-person shop.
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