Arnie WeissmannI recently had this sobering thought: Long ago, I listened to someone make predictions about the distant future, and I've now lived long enough to evaluate the accuracy of those predictions.

The speaker -- it was the first time I heard someone describe himself as a "futurist" -- was an academic, and he made predictions about product development based on his understanding of 1981 technology and the rate at which technology of the time was progressing.

Mostly, he described items he thought would be invented sometime in the future. One in particular impressed me: He said that in the future our wristwatches would not only tell time, but would also monitor our health, taking our pulse and temperature and anything else that could be detected by an instrument that rests on the skin.

Though today we're not all wearing health-monitor wristwatches -- in fact, thanks to cellphones, fewer of us are wearing wristwatches than in 1981 -- it certainly wouldn't surprise me to learn that wrist health monitors exist.

One of the wonderful things about living in 2010 is that you don't have to wait 30 years to see whether such predictions come true. The speed of technology today seems to lag just a beat behind our imaginations, and the window between an idea and its development is much, much briefer.

As a result, there's a skill-set today that's prized even more than predicting the future. Given the surplus of ideas and new products, websites and apps around us, there's more relevancy in listening to someone who has the ability to sort through the clutter and accurately predict which developments are going to be important and why.

Scott Klososky has an enviable record of doing just this. I first heard about Twitter from him, about 10 months before I was to hear anything about it again. I've now heard Scott speak on five separate occasions, and each time, I've come away impressed not only by his insights into technology and his understanding of business but by his specific recommendations about how to apply these new tools. He is that rarest of birds: a practical, down-to-earth visionary.

Scott recently wrote an enlightening book (one of three he has scheduled for release in 2011) that looks not only at social media but at social networking and social relevancy, as well.

If you're not quite sure what social networking and social relevancy are, let alone how they might affect your agency in the future, you'll have the opportunity to find out. You can listen to Scott, live and in person, at Travel Weekly's upcoming LeisureWorld 2011 and Home Based Travel Agent Show, to be co-located in Las Vegas from Feb. 15 to 17.

Scott will present a keynote titled "Social Media and Beyond: A How-to Session for Agents to Grow Their Businesses." He will be taking your questions as part of the presentation.

We have a lot of great speakers in store for you during LeisureWorld 2011 and the Home Based Travel Agent Show. These conferences are designed to be of high value for any seller of travel, from home agents to owners and managers of mega-agencies. In putting together our three-day program, we've found agents who are doing extraordinary things, and they've agreed to share their secrets of success.

We'll have how-to workshops as well as live interviews with top executives of major travel companies. We'll be running our signature "Barefoot Think Tank" twice and presenting workshops that address various aspects of agency management.

Our trade show is second to none, and for our venue, we've secured America's newest AAA Five Diamond property, the Aria Resort and Casino. For a hotel or resort to get this level of recognition in its first year of operation is simply extraordinary.

The Aria is part of CityCenter, one of the most intriguing developments in the history of Las Vegas. Having explored it twice since it opened, I can tell you that you're at a serious disadvantage as a travel agent if you have not yet stayed on-site at a CityCenter property.

We know from past experience that the main reason agents attend our shows is that they want to grow their businesses. We had more than 1,000 satisfied agents at each of our two previous conferences, the first in Fort Lauderdale last April and the most recent in Atlantic City this past October.

We're looking forward to taking our conferences out west, and these shows are shaping up to be our best yet. To learn more, and to register, go to

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While I'm on the topic of information that will grow your business, you'll also want to sign up for our free webinar this week. I'll be interviewing Rodolfo Lopez-Negrete, the COO of the Mexican Tourism Board, about what's new in the country as well as little-known attractions in or around major resort areas.

The webinar will be held at 2 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, Dec. 7. You can listen to it live from your desktop or wherever you have Internet connectivity. To sign up, click here.

The Mexico webinar will be interactive, and there will be time for those attending to ask questions.

Email Arnie Weissmann at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter.


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