Optical Retail Success 130


Tasty, weekly nuggets of random goodness; tips, stories, and science hand-picked to help you find the most success in your optical retail business/career.


If you get up in the morning and think the future is going to be better, it is a bright day. Otherwise, it’s not.

—Elon Musk


Fear or Hope for The Future?

When considering and planning for the future of the optical industry, it is essential that we examine it within the wider context of what is going on in the world today to get a sense of perspective.

Hold on to your seat, because we’re about to get wide.

We are still in the early days of the technology revolution—not in the sense of time, but in the sense of magnitude and impact. Advances are coming within the next 20 years that are so revolutionary as to be literally incomprehensible. What’s more, the time it takes for each successive advance to come to fruition will only get shorter and shorter until we reach a point where the advances propagate themselves.

Does this sound like science fiction? Keep reading.

Our intuition about the future is linear. But the reality of information technology is exponential, and that makes a profound difference. If I take 30 steps linearly, I get to 30. If I take 30 steps exponentially, I get to a billion.
—Ray Kurzweil

What does this have to do with optical retail success?

Everything. Because, as much as it sounds like hyperbole, all that we know is about to change.  

Ray Kurzweil, futurist and Director of Engineering at Google, predicts that by 2029 we'll have AI that passes the Turing test (the ability for a computer to fool humans into thinking it is human). By 2045, a thousand dollars will buy a computer one billion times more intelligent than every human combined and technological development will be taken over by machines who can think, act and communicate so quickly that humans can’t even comprehend what is going on.

A tough pill to swallow, I know. But that is the difference between our linear intuition and where the exponential technological curve—the one that’s been proven out over the last century—is actually taking us.

But before we get too wide, let’s take a step back for a minute. Let’s use self-refraction technology as an example as to why we need context. If you’re tempted to look at refraction technology as an assault on patient health, you’re truly not seeing the forest for the trees. Going only slightly wider, we see that technology allowing machines to actually diagnose disease already is much further along.

Google Deepmind’s AI can detect more than 50 eye diseases more accurately than a doctor.  


FDA approves AI-powered diagnostic for diabetic retinopathy that doesn’t need a doctor’s help. 


AI can detect lung cancer and heart disease more accurately than doctors.


And as I mentioned, we’re only just getting started. This is but a tiny glimpse of the technologies being developed and used at this very moment.

Okay… about to go wide again. 

I think Hollywood has managed to inoculate the general public against...the idea that machines will take over the world. We’ve cried wolf enough times [in film], the public has stopped paying attention because it feels like science fiction. Even sitting here, talking about it right now, feels a little bit silly, a little bit like this is an artifact of some cheese ball movie. But it’s not. The general public is about to get blindsided...
—Jonathan Nolan

To get a better idea of what I am talking about, take a minute to watch this trailer.


Then, when you have time watch the full documentary.


Changes of any kind have a way of driving fear in us and we, as a species, have never faced changes of this scope and magnitude.

 Yet, like junkies (fed by politicians and fear-peddling media) we crave that which scares us. So it’s not surprising that we overwhelmingly believe the world is going to hell in a handbasket; that society, the economy, the optical industry, are only getting worse. And—for those paying attention at least—we are headed for a Terminator-like scenario where humans become an impediment to the machines. However, if you actually look at the data, in almost every case the opposite is true. The world getting better, much better actually. 


Does that mean that we are not headed for doom?


Not necessarily. But, for all the challenges we have faced as a species, humanity has thus far managed to come out better for it.


So, what if instead of being clouded and controlled by fear, we accept that our near future will be very different; that changes will only continue to happen at an accelerated pace; and that the most important skills we can have, as professionals and as humans, are the abilities to keep learning and to adapt.


While we may not know exactly what that future will look like, we can search for ways to take advantage of each new change as we see it coming, rather than ignoring it and hoping someone else will make it go away. We can look for opportunities that might benefit us, our community, and those we love.

Because it hits closest to home, our tendency is to be most concerned about our livelihood. This is a primary driver of Optical Retail Success—to wake people up to the fact that changes are happening that we can no longer ignore and to get people to think differently about how we might adapt and bring about a better future.


No matter how far technology takes us, people will crave experiences, they will crave the unique, they will crave empathy and humanity. Keeping that in mind will not only help us navigate the future, but it will also help us succeed today.


When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
—Viktor Frankl



The Bleeding Wedge

Speaking of fear-peddling media. Are you being manipulated?



Just Your Type

If a typewriter repairman can survive the internet-era, maybe there is hope for us.



OpticianWorks Video Of The Week - What About Bevel Position?

What difference does bevel position on the lens edge make in the appearance of a pair of glasses? Let’s make a few examples and find out.


Through the OpticianWorks free video lessons, Laramy-K Optical is making every effort to provide better and more accessible education for opticians everywhere, but we’re only able to do it with your support.


You can help keep it going in two ways:


Become a paid-member of OpticianWorks.com for access to the best in online optician training (The videos are only a small portion).


Or, even better, open a Laramy-K Optical lab account for the very best in independent uncut work and we'll throw in the OpticianWorks memberships for free! Your customers and your staff will thank you!


I hope you enjoyed this edition of Optical Retail Success.  

Here’s to your success in this year and beyond.

Thanks for reading and sharing!