There’s been a lot of talk lately about the decade of the 2010s, and comparisons from 2009 to now. But I decided to take it a bit farther, and go back 20 years, to 2000.

I went to my local library and checked out The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding, by Al Ries and Laura Ries. I highly recommend it – it’s a short read and full of interesting insights.

Most of them are wrong.

To be clear, I have tremendous respect for Al and Laura Ries. Both are well-known and very successful marketing strategists. But in 2000, the Internet (we still used a capital I back then) was less than ten years old. We really had no idea where it was going, or what impact it would have on our lives two decades out.

In 2000, Amazon was still a bookstore, battling it out with Barnes & Noble. Yahoo! was the big search engine. Webvan hadn’t imploded yet. And the iPhone was seven years in the future.

Probably the book’s biggest miss was Law #6, the Law of Advertising. “The Internet will be the first new medium that will not be dominated by advertising.” Oops.

By now you’re wondering what my point is. The book was written 20 years ago. Of course it missed the mark in some areas. Exactly.

Today we are being hammered with talk about artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), and predictions that just about everything else is dead or dying. We are told what to invest in, what to ignore, and how to succeed. And most of what we are being told is wrong.

There are no more “immutable laws” for branding or advertising.  The world is changing, that much is certain. The next 20 years should be interesting, but in ways we can’t begin to predict. To succeed, we need to be open to ideas we hadn’t considered.