The Game Changers

The US as well as much of the global economy seems to still be in a mess. There are and will continue to be discussions from all parts of the political spectrum on how we got here and what needs to be done to help improve prosperity. I’m of the notion that a large government approach to solving these problems islarge old computer often ineffective. I look to what history and industry teaches us. History shows we’ve been here before and industry proves there has and will continue to be a way out of the morass.

We are obviously in a wave of progress that supersedes the late 19th and early 20th century industrial revolution. No matter if the consequences weren’t always smart or attractive; the fact is the growth in heavy industry paved the way for a new wave, a wave of technology.

It’s easy to see the evolutionary cycle of innovation and technological progress in hindsight. By the mid 1950’s much of the world was building upon the advantage of electricity and modern plumbing we now take for granted. Advances in communication, construction, physics and chemistry were paving the way for new inventions. A new form of hardware was emerging. At first it resembled the technology of the day, large and heavy but soon this would also change and at a pace which in my lifetime is astounding.

The Shockley diode was one of many early inventions which formed the basis of the modern integrated circuit. This device, likely to not be known by most people, introduced a new approach to a range of problems yet to be discovered. The miniaturization of electronic circuits which are the foundation of our modern world fuel our current and future advancements in science, medicine, communication, logistics, energy and transportation.

The entire integrated circuit revolution which brought upon us the computer age now propels us with increasing velocity toward things we would be totally unprepared had these items not been invented. In order for the human race to advance, computers are the technological equivalent to having an opposable thumb. We are evolving from a hardware funded economy to an application based. Just as oil, steel the steam engine, and the jet have moved us along with jumps in prosperity, and the subsequent boom in computer hardware, we have already entered the age of the software application.

So instead of using the redundant terminology of software & application, let’s just refer to these new uses and inventions of software as an application.

Applications are likely going to play a huge part in our economic revival. We were supposed to have gone through a transition of manufacturing to service economy. That change is still upsetting the economic apple cart and as disruptive as those changes have been, they will pale to the new ones. Let me back up before I explain that idea further.

John Underkoffler demos spatial presentation at TEDAll new evolutionary technology is dependent on a select generation of working people who thoroughly understand and apply that technology. Furthermore, any advances in new systems and applications require all prior inventive and scientific discoveries to be passed on to the succeeding generations. This means any thing we knew about before, metallurgy, chemistry, agriculture, communication, medicine, physics, mathematics, language, manufacturing, arts as well as basic day to day living in an increasing diverse society, must be fully understood if we are to reliably move forward in any predictable way.

If we choose to elevate ignorance and prey upon the basic emotional human element, we have a bleak and unpredictable future. It’s absolutely necessary to have an emotionally stable and educated society in order for human progression. There are loud voices which suggest the society we live in is unfair. This relative unfairness can only get worse if the masses refuse to adopt successive building block principles of continual education, stabilized families and a desire to stay inquisitive.

Now back to my main premise of the next evolution in the global economy. Most business starts out with one or a handful of enterprising individuals. The idea behind this new business starts from this small group but needs outside support for it to grow. Support comes through a vast array of services which include what I see as applications. The cost of entry for this to occur will be the game changer and I want to highlight just a few of these relatively new Internet structured developments.

Lets start with the existing well known. Google, Twitter and Facebook. Each of these has created mechanisms which vastly aid in research, societal connection and communication. Despite the various forms of media  criticizing Mark Zuckerberg, et al. and the company Facebook, there are amazing future possibilities to be realized with this company.

Lets’ look at a few other hopefuls and the formation of what can greatly assist entrepreneurs.

Asana – a shared project management resource.

Kickstarter – a small scale funding capitalization resource.

42floors – a unique spin on the real estate office market. This is still too regionalized but the idea of packaging commercial real estate with office products and the presentation just has to be a good choice for those clever enough to use the idea in their area.

Sidecar – a smart phone application which in a sense is the equivalent of a roving reporter. Since the advent of camera phones this to one degree or another has allowed guerrilla video to flourish.

Multiple touch technology – we saw the demonstration of the idea in entertainment with the Minority Report or a step up with Iron Man using a 3D image multi-touch technology. Microsoft is working on their own Surface computing. Already released into the mainstream through products such as the Apple I-Pad or I-Phone as well as most Smart phones, this technology will find its way forward in education, medicine and industry.

There are several others too numerous to mention all at once, but as the technology slang goes, shift happens. Marc Andreessen on CNBC