I’ve been wanting to write this article for a long time now, but I haven’t been motivated to sit down and just do it. Because let’s face it. Predicting the future is hard work. It’s strenuous on the mind. So ala-Chris Berman’s Swami-stylings, we’ll do it 2-minute drill style!~
Ok. Maybe not. That might partially depend on your speed reading abilities…
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah! The New Frontier In Tech! Look we’ve all seen the Facebook IPO fiasco, and can now confirm that the tech bubble is on its way to getting popped faster than a school girl’s balloon in a pin factory. And as I discussed the factors of the last tech bubble burst with a colleague, it became fervently clear that the frontier for tech will not be with Google or Facebook. You see, Google has spread itself so thin over a clusterf*ck of random areas that I don’t believe they even understand the evolution of the tech game. They are trying to think like a small company, but they don’t realize that they are about as immobile as a 300 yr old Sequoia.
Facebook, too, has lost its vision. They are already playing catch-up, and that’s their real reason for this incredible mistake that I see most technology companies make! They are so focused in trying to get into the mobile phone game, thinking that it’s the way of the future, but they have lost vision of their biggest strengths…a billion users and an agile platform. See, with all the ridiculous stubborn-headedness of Zuckerberg, he was doing one thing right by keeping his company limited to a couple thousand employees. He had the ability to change. Social Graph was an amazing innovation in itself and it was much better versed than the data-biased, SEO generated information at Google.
But 2 years ago, he started to listen to big tech. You know, all those really big advisors who made it to the top during the last tech bubble, and have only lasted that long at their post because the economies of scale that existed in the industry until recently. They started talking about 2Q peak profits and confused him with jargon like scaling and the necessity of yoy growth and that scared the young billionaire. Not because business was bad. But because business hadn’t really boomed yet. He was earning something close to $2B in ad sales and was enticed by the word quadruple. But what he gained in shareholders, he lost in agility. He no longer has the cloak of invisibility that allowed him to run his business, his way. Like a tech innovator. Oh, don’t get me wrong! Facebook is 8 yrs old. And it’s technology is 4-yrs down the wrong path. And being worth a cool $100B is nothing to scoff at. But I was still convinced that maybe they would bust an Apple and find their way. But unlike Apple, who functioned in a pre-tech bubble stock market environment more focused on true earnings rather than quarterly profits, Facebook now must stick the path it’s been given. Because this stock market is delusional and finicky.
So what is this new path? Well, I alluded to it briefly above. You see, the early 90s brought an onslaught of affordable computers and three main computing operating systems. What is an OS? It’s essentially a platform and filing system which allows for application functionality and data storage. This rise in computers paved the way for internet users. Because, naturally, a cohesive society wanted a means for sharing and expanding our information and resources. This rush for expansion obviously caused the first technology bubble rise and fall. And when the dust settled, the two types of tech companies that still existed were electronics and computers. Most online technology was in shambles because there were no real set of laws that governed this new space. It was like the wild, wild west out there and people got scared about losing their livelihoods from oversharing. The problem with that was we retracted into a hole. But the electronics and computing business were still successful.
In my opinion, this paved the way for the successes of Apple, Google and Facebook. Not because people wanted change, but because change was upon us, and something needed to jump start it. Out of the rubble, these three major players were able to take advantage of three big areas in today’s market. Apple utilized people’s desires to explore the new frontier but fear of over-exposure to concoct and re-imagine their brand with their virus-free campaign, along with the think different slogan to convince users of their uniqueness versus any other computing device. Google was able to emerge due to their own think google marketing campaign enabling them to take advantage of people’s needs to safely navigate the web as well as a means to safely get themselves out there. Facebook was the final piece to the puzzle. They provided the first real means for people to network with their friends and even meet new people. Because they started in colleges and universities, it enabled them to grow their network in a relatively safe environment, which tempered users’ fears of information susceptibility and overexposure. They’re business is the first real uniformity of the web.
But the age of mobile computing has now brought on the need for cloud computing, a new wave of application designers and better ways of navigating the web. The difference, however, is that once the dust settles from the tech bubble 2.0, we’ll be left in a different internet environment. You see, we skipped a step. I know that most people believe that mobile OS was the next step in the filing system and data storage game, but the problem with that, is two-fold. First, phones are small. They will always be small. You might be able to watch a movie or stream a video off your phone or your newest iPad but it will be difficult to justify replacing your laptop for doing anything data intensive…at least in the near future. Second, cloud computing isn’t where it needs to be. I stress this point big time.
Cloud computing will need to accomplish two things before we can be semi-functional with a phone or a pad. It will need to redefine compression and data transfer/streaming standards. The current protocols are way too data intensive with the pricing plans that currently exist in most phone or pad companies. I understand that the likes of AT&T and Verizon will adjust pricing accordingly, but their real reason for these data limits is due to infrastructure. They don’t have enough bandwidth. AND to make matters worse, since the new standard will be LTE and NOT WIMAX, the maximum capabilities for the 4G technology are capped off at a lower rate (innate to Bluetooth which is what LTE is based off of). The other thing that cloud computing will need to accomplish is a data storage and filing system. Currently, there is nothing really out there which makes it highly difficult for application designers to create real cloud applications, which would make it much easier for data transfer rates because then the mobile device merely acts as a portal to the cloud.
In this ever-changing world of technology, it will be interesting who will emerge as the winners and who will get left behind…but one thing’s for sure…within the next 5 years, we will see a huge emergence of cloud operating systems, compression standards and data transferability that will affect the way that we utilize our smartphones and pads. There will be a need for syncing everyday life on-the-go, and with new creative solutions such as jquery mobile, we are moving that direction. But as I said before, without having a means processing, storing and easily accessing that data within the cloud, it will be difficult to see the evolution of the mobile computing industry.
Anyway, that’s it for me here! Have a great MDW Saturday!
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