The California Gold Rush of 1849 was one of the most significant events that shaped American history in the 19th century. It caused an estimated 300,000 people to migrate to the San Francisco area in search of gold. Most of the workers were American, but many arrived from Latin America, Europe, Australia, and China. Ultimately, $2 billion of gold was recovered.

The impact of the migration was long-lasting as a variety of technological advances in agriculture and transportation were made to meet the needs of the prospectors. The lure of great fortune drew people to California and although much gold was recovered, few were able to convert the opportunity into long term financial success.

One of the greatest opportunities for modern prospectors is within the digital realm. Entrepreneurs, innovators, startups, and existing companies are working feverishly to exploit what seems like daily advances in digital technology to create new companies, products, and services.

Entire sectors of our economy are being reconsidered and recreated, including civic institutions, health care, and most recently financial services. Leaders are using technology to figure out ways to provide more effective and seamless service to constituents and customers. Perhaps most important is that they are simply open to trying something new.

Tolstoy stated in War and Peace that history is made by the movement of the people. The physical movement of people is something that governments are contending with globally right now, but the bigger story is the shift to a digital way of being.

Technology will become part of the background our lives and always be there. We will become part of it and it part of us. It is simply another layer of information that we can access instantaneously at any time. Pokemon Go is significant because it brought this notion into the awareness of the general public.

When trying to make sense of the shift to digital, understand that what is happening with digital technology is simply a mirror image of existing human networks and systems.

What can you do to be a part of this movement? Connect new tools and processes with established industries. Work to bring others along.

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