Quartz, The Atlantic's often-excellent sister publication, recently published a provocative piece arguing that 2013 was a lost year for tech. It generated tremendous buzz and is worth a read. So, too, is the counter-perspective piece by my friend, Om Malik of GigaOM.
So what to make of all of this?
I think that there are two things going on here. One is the natural backlash associated with the socio-economic disconnect between Silicon Valley, Alley and Beach, and the rest of America.
The gap between those inside the bubble and those outside of it has never been greater. That truth HAS to become a part of our societal narrative, right?
Two is emblematic of the stage of the technology curve that we’re in. In 'Waves of Power' by David Moscella, he presents an axiom that technology segments move from being “Vertically Integrated” to “Horizontally Integrated” to “Embedded.”
This is because the first wave requires integration of all of the system layers to deliver a compelling solution (think: iPhone). It requires true magic.
As the technology matures, various solution providers can provide the piece parts needed in a relatively interchangeable fashion (think: Android and the Microsoft PC).
Once ubiquity is achieved, the technology fades into the background, often to the point of invisibility, and the solution is just expected to work (Google Search, Amazon).
In other words, "boring" is emblematic of success.
Then again, anyone who has taken an Uber, or pondered how AirBNB books more room nights than the entire Hilton Hotel chain, should think twice about dismissing what tech is doing.
If there is any sense of disappointment, it’s the lack of companies other than Amazon, Google, and Apple that are committed to building enduring, great, out of the box innovations.
We need more entrepreneurs that aspire for the "insanely great" and less that chase the quick hit.
- Google Glass will soon be invisible – and the new normal (GigaOM)
- Pattern Recognition: Mobile Web v. Mobile Native; TV's Blind Spot; 'Invisible' Designs
- Innovation, Inevitability and Why R&D is So Hard