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Future Speak

Think demassification. Figure out how to deliver. In the future that prognosticators Alvin and Heidi Toffler foresee, a whole lot of entrepreneurial opportunities await.

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This story appears in the March 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

In ancient times, prophets foretold the future. In modern times, management gurus predict trends--in business, that is. But few forecasters have had the influence of husband-and-wife futurists Alvin and Heidi Toffler.

In 1970, the pair sent shock waves around the world with their prophetic international megaseller Future Shock (Random House). It foresaw an increasingly consumerist society worldwide in which everything would be disposable, leading to difficult cultural changes including the disintegration of family relationships and the erosion of faith in government and big business, while the masses would be empowered by personal computers. The Tofflers forecasted the end of the hegemony of the three television networks by what was then termed the EVR [electronic video recorder] (now VCR) and cable TV--indeed, Ted Turner credited the Tofflers with giving him the idea for CNN. The duo predicted everything from commercial cloning and the dissolution of the Soviet Union to the breakup of AT&T and the trend toward working from home.

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