Pasadena Futurist Works to Prepare Society for Technology's Unprecedented Changes

For futurist and Pasadena resident Greg Apodaca, society is in a race to adapt to technology and we’re losing; Community 2.0 is his answer

Published : Monday, December 18, 2017 | 6:44 AM

Greg ApodacaNo one has to convince you that these are new and dynamic times. Even putting politics aside, this is a new world, one that races forward, with everything there is to know in the world doubling nearly every day. In the time it took you to read this paragraph, a new technology was probably just developed.

Communication is instantaneous, and reaction is a rocket ship. Mobilization happens instantly and grows even faster than that.

As futurist Ray Kurzweil explains things, “If you look at the implications of exponential growth, it creates a very different picture of the future and it’s not intuitive,” says Kurzweil. “Problems that may seem intractable now could become eminently solvable in the near future. Not only should this inform investing and planning for the future, it should also change what you think of as possible for humanity. Soon, things which we could barely have imagined decades before might be within reach.”

Okay, you know all this.

The trick is to do something with it.

Now, a new organization, Community 2.0 (C 2.0), whose mission is “to convene business and community leaders and prepare people and organizations to adapt and thrive in our times of unprecedented transformation” recently held its “Inaugural C 2.0 Conversation.”

The group was created by Pasadena resident Greg Apodaca, founder/CEO and vision holder at Community 2.0.

Apodaca describes the organization as “a community benefit corporation.”

As he explains, “What we exist to do is to educate the public, business leaders, community leaders and individuals, about the transformation that our society is going through. As we know, globalization is changing our environment, technology is changing, pretty much everything that we touch. And the exponential technology is really kind of shifting everything that we’re doing. It’s increasing the pace of life to the point where it’s disrupting things. Great examples are Uber and Lyft, disrupting the taxi business, or AirBnB disrupting the hotel business, and the list goes on. So we’re here to try and help people to cope and to thrive in that new environment.”

Apodaca, naturally, can cite chapter and verse about the effect of technology on the everyday.

“Imagine something as simple as trash trucks,” he begins. “Back in the day there was always two guys on a trash truck. One guy driving, one guy throwing the cans into the back of the truck. These days there’s only one person driving and then there’s a robotic arm. So in that way and many other ways, technology is going to be really kind of disrupting our lives, and it’s not just blue-collar workers but white-collar workers too.”

Apodaca mentions a recent TED Talk “where a gentleman there was presenting to UPS employees, and talking about the people who will be displaced in their job.”

Said Apodaca, “It’s going to be three times as great as the past great recession when people were really sweating it, because so many people lost their jobs and couldn’t find jobs again. And the coming technology is going to be probably three times as bad as that.”

Much of Apodaca’s personal mission is a mix of changing people’s mindsets, and training people to enter professions where they won’t get displaced by technology, and making them part of technology, or just helping people get their heads around what’s happening.

As he explains, “We conduct visionary traits and we conduct masterminds, and different transformation works like that. Visionary traits are a great opportunity to do one thing that people need to be competitive in the future. That’s really to identify what you’re passionate about, identify what excites you in life, and to pursue that. So instead of being employed somewhere where you get a paycheck, and you hate your job and you hate your boss but you stick it out because you have to, you have to pay bills, we all do that.”

Revving up, Apodaca says, “We help find out what you’re excited about in life, where you can use your full potential, your excitement, your talents, your passions, to pursue that. Step into that industry, business, role or function instead of doing something that you hate. So being grounded and doing something that you love, that’s kind of one component. The other component would be looking into the future, and seeing where your talents intersect with the needs of the community.”

Apodaca is cruising now.

“If you’re interested in being a bank-teller, you might look at the writing on the wall there and see that ATMs are all over the place, and maybe bank-teller work is not something that you want to pursue. If you want to be a fine artist you might look around again and see that technology is dramatically changing even something as creative as that. And then step into that aspect of being a fine artist using computers and using technology instead of using an old paint, canvas, and a brush.”

Apodaca says there are ways to both be grounded and using your full potential to be valuable and worthwhile in our new society, while at the same time, look to the future and prepare yourself “to use technology to your advantage instead of letting it roll over you.”

As Apodaca explains, “Charles Darwin said that it’s the species that will survive. It’s not the strongest people that will survive, it’s the most adaptable people, and that’s what his theory is about.

But Apodaca the Futurist is also talking our very basic day-to-day lives, saying, “I think our home life has been, in the past, something that we can kind of come home to and rest and relax. I wonder if that’s really the full capacity of what human beings have to do, is go to work as I mention before, hate your job take a pay cheque, come home, kick the dog and maybe have a beer or two or six. I don’t know that that’s really what people love doing, I think that that’s what people are used to doing because it’s the norm and what we see as average.”

As he notes, ‘There’s a very small number, maybe 3-5% of people that really kind of ‘go for it’ in life and live their dream. I think the new norm is going to be that we can’t sit on our couch anymore, and just plan to be taken care of by our job or so some employer. We need to go out and create a life for ourselves that’s exciting and that we can pursue to maybe a new level of success.”

Apodaca also cites writer and business coach Marshall Goldsmith, author of “Mojo.”

Goldsmith said that the Mojo book he wrote is about the ‘Mojo Quadrant’.

“The mojo quadrant is a quadrant that we can choose to exist in when we don’t pursue being happy in the short-term and fulfilled in the long-term,” he says. “So here’s a new higher bar of what’s possible for a human being, instead of working at a job you hate and going home and sitting on the couch How about planning to find a lifetime of passion and a lifetime of success and that means both short-term happiness and long-term fulfillment and aligning those two such that you walk that path.

“There are so many things that we can do out there and we’re just used to sitting at home and flipping through 500 channels and being bored,” he continued. “Boy, what a waste of a life,” says Apodaca, banging the point home again.

Apodaca has an admitted history of community service, and its from that he found his “passion,” he says.

“I was living that life that I described to you about hating my job, coming home and having a few beers and kind of living a party life. When I found community service, I found my passion. It wasn’t too long into it that I said I’m spending all my time on leading projects for the community, I love this! How can I do this for a living?

That lead to his transformation from the for-profit sector selling a corporate travel account, into the nonprofit sector and leading managing large scale volunteer projects across Los Angeles.

That path took him to leadership development and eventually into the Leadership Pasadena program.

“That kind of work changed my life,” he recalls, “and that kind of opportunity woke me up to my relationship with success, and my relationship with fear, and my willingness to go for it in life, and what were the things that were holding me back since then.”

“I’ve been doing this kind of work as I mentioned, for about 30 years,” he continued, “and I love it. This is my life’s work. I firmly believe that this is why I’m here on this planet to do and at this particular time when society is changing so dramatically. I think this an answer, this is a solution for people who are willing to live large, to pursue their dreams, not only for personal benefit but for the community as well.”

More information about Community 2.0 is available at

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