With “Back to the Future” day upon us, a colleague and I were discussing how disappointing 2015 has turned out to be. No Mr Fusion, no Jaws 19, no self lacing shoes or auto drying clothes. But most importantly, no Hoverboards. CollegeHumor’s satirical cartoon on this topic is sobering reminder of how our version of 2015 ended up:
But consider this for a moment: could the hoverboard simply be a part of Marty’s altered 2015, a causality of tinkering in 1955?
In our version of 2015, the first mass produced skateboard hit the market in 1959. While it was hardly popular, it did find a small niche amongst surfers faced with an abundance of sidewalks and a lack of waves. It wasn’t until the emergence of urethane wheels in 1973 that riders grew to significant numbers. Then the late 1970’s gave real maturity to the sport as tricks, half pipes, and skateboard celebrities came into the mainstream.
That leaves Marty with a 4 year head start inventing the hardware and an 18 year jump on making it “cool”. His timeline has now accelerated the concept of skateboarding, drawing a larger audience sooner and encouraging innovation earlier. Imagine what kind of iPhone you’d have today if it had been released in 1989 (instead of 2007).
So on October 21st, don’t be discouraged that we aren’t riding hoverboards. After all, they are our density. We just might have to wait until 2033.