A story that’s often recited in business circles is executives from Blockbuster refusing an offer to buy Netflix in 2000 for $50 million. In fact, according to some reports, the Blockbuster CEO actually laughed at the offer to gobble up the company, thinking there wasn’t a future in streaming movies.

As we know, Blockbuster went bankrupt in 2010. Apparently, there’s only one store left, which is in Bend, Oregon. Netflix is now worth more than $100 billion, according to media reports. I’m a Netflix subscriber and its original series “Stranger Things” is one of my favorite shows. I find it interesting how companies like Netflix disrupted traditional business models and now own their markets.

Thanks largely to technology, we’ve seen many jobs become obsolete over the last decade or so, and new jobs enter the mainstream. Since 2000, several companies have sprung up that are now worth $1 billion or more, including Twitter in 2006, Fitbit in 2007, Instagram in 2010, and SnapChat in 2011.

As some companies rise, others fall. According to a study by Constellation Research, 52% of Fortune 500 companies had disappeared between 2000 and 2014 due to bankruptcy, mergers, or going out of business.

Only 52 companies have been on the Fortune 500 list since it began in 1955. Some analysts expect three-quarters of today’s top 500 firms to be bumped off the list within the next 10 years.

What all of this change means is that students in high school, trade school, or college will face a very different job market than their parents did. I saw a list a few weeks ago put together by Stryker, a medical technology company, that identified the “perfect” employee. It used ambiguous terms like “emotionally connected,” “influencer,” and “lifelong learner.”

Maybe those words mean something special to millennials or human resources directors. I’ve interviewed people at previous jobs, and I don’t remember looking for someone who was “human centric.” But jobs, industries, and businesses do change, so I did some research to find out what companies really want in the next generation of employees.

The Future of Jobs Report from the World Economic Forum, while a few years old now, says that it takes only five years for more than one-third of the skills believed to be essential for today’s workforce to change. The report says skills needed for the future include those that can’t be replaced by robots or artificial intelligence, such as creativity.

“The future workplace is going to demand new ways of thinking, and human creativity is the key to it,” the report states.

Other in-demand skills will be analytic and critical thinking to solve problems, understanding business to make informed decisions, strong communication skills, technical abilities, and of course, leadership skills, according to various analysts and studies.

Hopefully the Academies of Shakopee will help students be better prepared for the workforce, or at least have a broader idea of the types of career paths that are available and what skill sets will be needed.

Brett Martin is a community columnist who’s been a Shakopee resident for over 15 years.


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