When we moved back to San Francisco in 02009, my husband and I joined an organization called The Long Now Foundation. About once a month, we attend Long Now lectures to learn about topics like the world’s oldest living organisms; the coevolution of light, life, and color on earth; how to find dangerous asteroids; and the coming century of war against our computers.
As you might have guessed, the organization’s mission is to foster long-term thinking and responsibility. Just how long term are we talking? The Long Now Foundation uses five-digit dates in order to solve the Y10k bug that’s approaching in about 8,000 years. Yeah, we’re talking that long term.
Timescales of this magnitude are incredibly difficult for us to imagine. Our lifespans are puny in comparison. And the pace at which we live and work seems only to be accelerating. We plan for tomorrow based on what happened yesterday. We make decisions for next week based on last week’s results. We get paid—and, seemingly, live and die—based on the numbers we report at the end of the quarter.
The field of customer experience and, no doubt, your customer experience efforts have suffered because of the short-term thinking that is rampant in today’s corporations and financial systems. We’ve been trained to focus on the short-term benefits of cost cutting, strict product returns policies, and fast but kludgy technology fixes.