Thomas Friedman, New York Times Columnist, recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes and author of six Best Sellers, spoke at the University of Miami on the evening of August 21st, 2014 to the incoming Class of 2018. His message simply was that being average is over. He spoke about three trends that will continue to reshape the globe. But before he got into specifics, he told a story of an ancient fable of a man who created the game of chess. As a reward, the Emperor granted him anything he wished. He asked for 1 grain of rice to be placed on one square and for that one grain to be constantly doubled until all thirty two squares were accounted for. The emperor looked at him and said, “Is that all you wish?” The old man said yes. The Emperor said, “Granted!” Little did the Emperor realize that by the 32nd square, the man needed to receive 42,949,673 grains of rice. More rice than was available in the entire land!

Mr. Friedman mentioned this as he believes we are now in the second half of the chess board in terms of technology. That Moore’s Law has continued to remain intact which states the speed of microchip processing doubles every 18 – 24 months. Consequently, the implications are almost incomprehensible. That when he wrote his best seller “The World is flat” in . Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In and so many others never existed. This trend has made the smart phone more powerful than all the technology that was on board the first space flight. He said Moore’s Law, Markets and Mother Nature will directly impact all of us. That Countries no longer can be managed in a vacuum. That anyone can start an International Business for zero cost. That there are no boundaries or barriers to entry in the majority of businesses. These trends are creating the instability throughout the world and has taken middle class jobs away.

Why is this appropriate for today’s blog? Certainly I cannot reference all of his 60 plus minute speech. But he did say one thing that sticks out in my brain. That is, employers do not care how much you know as much as they care about what can you “do” with what you know? Google hires 13% of their employees who do not have a college degree! Because they have learned very specific things elsewhere. That is why Advisors Ahead specifically states that “Learning through observation” will give you the ability to administer wealth management better than traditional training models. This will allow you to take what you know and “Do” a better job with what you know for you, your family, clients and the communities you reside in. Thomas Friedman has got it right.