Technology has one thing common with time it does not stand still. Its progress is relentless and even in challenging times like these, just like in the world’s oceans, the churning continues. Old technologies and leaders have to make way for new as the battles in the marketplace rage on.
Last week, we looked at some of Tech’s 10X forces which have driven change in the past two decades. Starting this week, we will look at some of the 10X forces in technology that we are seeing around us, and the impact they are having. Some of these 10X forces may today be in the realm of science fiction, but there are already enough indications to portend their becoming reality.
We will see how Google has become our second memory, how wireless technologies are building an envelope of pervasive connectivity, how websites are becoming program components thanks to the web services, and how open source is making even the biggest software companies rethink their strategies. We will ponder the growing trend towards outsourcing, examine the rising power of the countries in the East, and consider the rise of networks and intellectual capital.
We will see how USD 100 computers could dramatically alter the use of technology in emerging markets, how the world can move towards using technology like a utility, how weblogs and RSS can dramatically increase the information we process, and how business process standards will reduce friction between enterprises. We will also consider what happens when objects starts talking to other objects, and the screen you are reading this on goes 3D (or for that matter, becomes composed of electronic Ink).
(Two areas I will not be talking about are biotech and nanotech because I do not know enough about either of these areas. But, both are having a significant impact and will continue to do in the coming years. It is important, however, to watch out for developments in those areas, because in the coming decade, the three forces of infotech, biotech and nanotech will overlap.)
As we begin our journey exploring these disruptive innovations, it is useful to keep these words by Clay Christensen in mind (from his book The Innovators Dilemma):
Markets that do no exist cannot be analyzed: Suppliers and customers must discover them together. Not only are the market applications for disruptive technologies unknown at the time of their development, they are unknowable. The strategies and plans that managers formulate for confronting disruptive technological change, therefore, should be plans for learning and discovery rather than plans for execution. This is an important point to understand, because the managers who believe they know a markets future will plan and invest very differently from those who recognize the uncertainties of a developing market.
Starting tomorrow, we begin our exploration of Techs 10X Tsunamis present and future.
Tomorrow: Google: Our Other Memory