From the moment the web entered our conciousness, to when it became evident that the newspaper business was going to die, the writing was on the wall.
Blood in the streets was to be the new normal, and certain types of companies would seemingly collapse overnight.
One moral of the story was that in the connected age that which can be commoditized would be commoditized.
The realization of this truth has been painful, though. It's taken over a decade to play out. A lot of jobs have been destroyed. Many more have seen their earning power squeezed.
The shift from a W2-driven Model to a 1099-driven one is emblematic, rendering both economic and psycho-social impact.
But the incredible news is this. With so much change and so many worker bees suddenly cast into entreprenurship, necessity became the mother of invention, and LOTs of innovation and invention was created.
Vertical Integration and the Blended Age
A by-product of all of this innovation is that the tremendous amounts of R&D spend, the emergence of data-driven insight, and the maturation of the tech industry fabric has lead to really good native experieces to users.
The new models are born of the notion that differentiation is about curation, integration and cultivation of an ecosystem.
As platforms mature, a wide variety of service/business models take hold that are both integrated and organic. One only has to look at Apple, Uber, Google, Amazon and AirBNB to see this playing out.
My meta thesis is this. Vertical Integration from customer to connector to code is the new wave.
The rise of mobile has sealed the deal; that's now the best way to deliver great user experiences, and consumers will increasingly expect to be delighted by seamless, rich, real time and highly mobile experiences.
The beneficiaries of all of this goodness creation will be far and wide.
This the new engine of growth. It will operate with nine (9) primary "gears," detailed below.
Each of these gears will offer deep utility and delight as standalone offerings, but will also be "blend-able," yielding value chains previously unfathomable:
- Artificial Intelligence: The idea of algorithmic, machine and data driven learning is already in plain site. Google is the patron saint of this domain.
- Genetic Engineering: Does anyone doubt that now that we have unwrapped the Code, we are going to fully explore its implications?
- 3D Printing: If we can 'print' microprocessors on silicon wafers, who says we can't print limbs, custom vehicles, cities and matter itself?
- Drones: This is how the robot age begins to become omni-present in our culture.
- Virtual Reality: Close your eyes. Imagine the metaverse of Snow Crash, and know that it's within reach. Within five years, this will no longer be science fiction.
- Renting Economy: Anything (people, product or service) will be able to be procured on-demand at a real time market price, and it'll be as easy as pushing a button.
- Security and Privacy: Data breeches and indentity theft are seemingly unstoppable. Such challenges are bound to inspire tremendous technology innovation in obvious and non obvious ways.
- Mobile Native Cloud: This is the connective tissue that ties mobile environments together, enabling autonomy, community, continuity, community, media experiences, gaming and apps.
- Mesh Networks: Once upon a time, it was hard to fathom needing a computer in the home. Now, everyone has SEVERAL devices, and many more internet-capable things are funneling into this domain (see Apple Watch). Rich new experiences will coalesce around medical, security, entertainment, daily health and communications.
Netting it Out: The tide is rising in multiple domains, and this is a wave that we will ride for many years to come.