TECH TALK: DEMO 2006: Chris Shipley Talks

Chris Shipleys opening remarks captured the essence of the state of technology. Here are some excerpts:

The distinction between consumer and business is fading, and fading quickly. I rarely differentiate between my personal and professional uses of computing, nor, I suspect, do you. In this, we are not unique or more sophisticated than other technology adopters. We are representative. We adopt the tools that allow us to be most productive, no matter how we describe productivity or where we use these tools.

We dont stop being business computer users at 5 or 6 . . . or 7 or 8 in the evening. We dont ask permission of an IT department when we find the right tools and services to get our jobs done more efficiently. We adopt what is right for us and we work and play when we need to.
Business and personal computing will become much less distinct. Software developers will no longer feel the need to dumb down products in order to sell them to the consumer market. Indeed, the inverse is true: developers will smarten up technology in order to make sure the products we buy as individuals also meet our needs as business executives.

At this DEMO podium some 18 months ago, I talked about the shift to service-based computing. Indeed, every bit of software introduced at this conference has been designed in whole or in part with communications or service-based components. It is only slightly premature to pronounce the passing of the packaged, stand alone desktop software, but I am quite certain that that day will arrive before DEMO hits another significant birthday.

At DEMO two years ago, we shined a spotlight on blogging, RSS, and other components that make up the market we dubbed social media. Today, we widen that circle to include an array of products that extend and transform social media into social browsing, social bookmarking, social search, and other social applications.

In fact, the cooperation and collaboration of many individuals — whether contributed as part of a defined group or as one persons independent contribution become the way clear to make sense of the massive amounts of data that besiege us on a daily basis. This move toward social computing in which people collectively and individually provide human filters to massive data sets begins to fully unfold here at DEMO this week.

Individuals are becoming overwhelmedWho needs a better search algorithm to find another 100 or 100 thousand needles in the information haystack? We can barely explore past the first page or two of search results as it is.

Who needs more buttons and features and options on just about any product? Can you seriously say that youve used all the capabilities of any of the software or devices that you already own? Do you really want more?
Needing no more new features, being unable to sift through any more search results, being overwhelmed by options, these individuals are going to stop or at least slow down the acquisition of new technology.

Theyll stop buying, theyll stop using.

Instead, they will wait for applications, devices, and services to deliver on the promise of their potential a promise that doesnt demand steep learning curves or a permission slip from someone in central IT.


This is the challenge I put to you today. How can we make computing more simple for the mass of individuals who represent new and widening markets for the products this industry creates? Im not suggesting that anyone dumb down technology. Quite the opposite. Im suggesting that as we simplify technology, we open it to new buyers and that we bring personal technology back from the brink of diminishing returns.

Tomorrow: The Best


Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.