Who's on the $100 bill?
I asked this question a year ago to prove a point. A lot of you were probably quick to correctly respond, "Benjamin Franklin." But I ultimately hoped my question would inspire a survey of your own. Ask a few of your friends and family members, and I suspect that the younger the person you're asking, the less likely that they are to know the answer.
While seasoned money handlers have more experience folding bills, I believe that younger people will simply be stumped; they just don't carry that kind of currency anymore. Credit card swipes have replaced cash transactions. Most fast-food chains don't even require signatures these days. Payment is quick, seamless, and may even lead to a pile of reward points at month's end.
The changes won't end there, though. Don't be surprised if we're only a generation away from folks who can't recognize plastic, smaller bills, or perforated bank checks. Online payment platforms, smartphone scans, and embedded RFID chips may be the way the kids roll in a dozen years or so. If not sooner!
Tomorrow is always a day away
Money's not the only thing changing. You probably remember vinyl records, but your teenaged nephew may only know compact discs ... and your nephew's kid sister has never even bought a CD, has she? Everything changes. From the technology in our cars to the way we unwind, the only constant is change.
We're still eating out -- but we're not checking a new place out unless it's praised on Yelp.com, or hip by Foursquare standards. And instead of phoning for a table at trendier restaurants, foodies turn to OpenTable
We're still going to the movies -- except now, many tickets don't get sold until a flick gets a fresh score on RottenTomatoes. We're also willing to pay a premium if the movie is in 3-D -- and even more than that if it's also in IMAX
OpenTable and IMAX are recommendations in the Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter service, and understandably so. The stock-picking service specializes in aggressive growth companies -- typically, the disruptors displacing the technology that you and I grew up with. Restaurants and movie studios may be wincing, but OpenTable and IMAX are generated respective revenue growth of 33% and 120% in their latest quarters. Just imagine how both companies will fare when the economy truly bounces back.
Staying a step ahead of the times
Technology's rapid changes may appear disheartening, if not exhausting to follow. However, the advantages of keeping a finger on the pulse of changing tastes can be huge for your portfolio.
Some of these companies will rip into existing industries. The early dominance of Apple's iPhone, thanks in part to hefty carrier subsidies, makes it hard for both older handsets and newer smartphone makers such as Palm
However, not all disruptors destroy their industries. OpenTable is allowing restaurants to book more reservations and know patron preferences and special dates. IMAX was a big reason for last year's record box-office haul, aiding old-school exhibitors and movie studios alike.
Either way, you'll need to stay abreast of tomorrow's potential winners. Even if you miss out on stocks with relevant futures, you can't afford to let your current holdings become part of the obsolete past.
Being on the right side of those moves will mean a lot more than a few Franklins.
Join Rick and other members of the Rule Breakers analyst team in staying on top of up-and-coming growth stocks. OpenTable, iRobot, and IMAX are all active recommendations.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz always sets his clock a day ahead. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Apple and Ford are Stock Advisor selections. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.