ahead of one’s time

what does it mean to be ahead of one’s time? Literally speaking:

“In advance of concurrent commonly accepted ideas; showing characteristics of changes yet to be; present in one’s work before later advances in the field.”

everyone in media has an opinion about the future of media. some are likely, some are implausible, few are original. the job of a futurist is to see trends. while futurists don’t have the luxury of being in the future — they must dwell in the present where there is work to be done … details, tonnage, day to day effluvia to be handled, they also see the sweeping story. they grasp realities that the average consumer may not see. or that a high level executive who is being lobbied by countless competing interests may not yet notice. and that the dopes who are always ga ga for anything remotely novel cannot comprehend or articulate. the job of a futurist is to herald what’s to come. another part is to stay patient and keep working while others assimilate the same information and come to a similar conclusion. it can be frustrating – the waiting. nobody believes the futurist – really – or pays serious attention. then a year later the new york times writes a piece about it and suddenly there’s credence and everyone’s having the same epiphany the futurist had months (or years) ago. by then the futurist is bored with the whole thing and has moved on to the next slightly obscure esoteric problem or challenge.

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