1. Do you talk about other topics besides the future? 
Not really — though the future contains most topics, so I think we’re covered. While all my talks are about the future, I have many subtopics within that, so I can address many different issues and concerns about the future. If you look at my past client list, you can see that I’ve spoken with just about every industry there is.

2. Do you specialize in anything particular about the future? 
At a broad level, I talk about the social, cultural and personal effects of technology. Typically my talk starts out presenting ideas about technology and business, but as the talk progresses, I shift more into the personal side of the future and offer insights on how meet the future on your own terms.

3. Some people have referred to you as a humorist. So, are you a futurist or a humorist? 
I’m a futurist. Perhaps a funny futurist, but a futurist. (I never market myself as a humorist.) The funny stuff is just extra, perhaps a delightful extra. My sense is that if you can laugh at the future, then it’s not quite so scary, not quite so intimidating. If you don’t want me to be funny, there’s an uncharge for that.

4. Why does a futurist talk so much about the past? 
Short question, deserving of a long answer. Briefly, it’s because the future is overrated, and the past is vastly underrated. Perhaps now that I’m over 50, I have a greater appreciation for things that have been around for a while. I have also found that an awful lot of new stuff is popular because there’s so much marketing behind those things. There’s often a profit motive behind the prophet motive for new and for change. One of the things that reading Chesterton has taught me is to appreciate the quality of endurance, even of things eternal. To quote the big guy, “It is of the new things that men tire, of fashions and proposals and improvements and change. It is the old things that startle and intoxicate. It is the old things that are young.”

5. Why were you on the board of the American Institute of Architects? You’re not an architect. 
Shhhh! You’re going to ruin it for me. Actually, it’s because I love architecture and design. Back in the early 1990s, I was hired to speak to the Wisconsin AIA and forged some long-lasting friendships with their executive director and members. In some ways there’s great affinity between architects and futurists. Architects have to look at the big picture, become both artist and scientist and think long term. If the product of your work is going to last for generations, perhaps even for centuries, it makes a lot of sense to think broadly and deeply about what should go into a building. As Winston Churchill said, “First we shape our buildings and then our buildings shape us.”

The AIA has two non-architects on their board. It’s something that I think all organizations should put some effort towards — that of getting an outside view that looks not simply at the outside world, but also that inside world that quite often we don’t see because it’s too familiar.