The Jig Is Up: Time to Get Past Facebook and Invent a New Future
After five years pursuing the social-local-mobile dream, we need a fresh paradigm for technology startups.
We're there. The future that visionaries imagined in the late 1990s of phones in our pockets and high-speed Internet in the air: Well, we're living in it.HT: Big Think
"The third generation of data and voice communications -- the convergence of mobile phones and the Internet, high-speed wireless data access, intelligent networks, and pervasive computing -- will shape how we work, shop, pay bills, flirt, keep appointments, conduct wars, keep up with our children, and write poetry in the next century."
That's Steve Silberman reporting for Wired in 1999, which was 13 years ago, if you're keeping count. He was right, and his prediction proved correct before this century even reached its teens. Indeed, half of tech media is devoted to precisely how these devices and their always-on connectivity let us do new things, help us forget old things, and otherwise provide humans with as much change as we can handle.
I can take a photo of a check and deposit it in my bank account, then turn around and find a new book through a Twitter link and buy it, all while being surveilled by a drone in Afghanistan and keeping track of how many steps I've walked.
The question is, as it has always been: now what?
Decades ago, the answer was, "Build the Internet." Fifteen years ago, it was, "Build the Web." Five years ago, the answers were probably, "Build the social network" or "Build the mobile web." And it was in around that time in 2007 that Facebook emerged as the social networking leader, Twitter got known at SXSW, and we saw the release of the first Kindle and the first iPhone. There are a lot of new phones that look like the iPhone, plenty of e-readers that look like the Kindle, and countless social networks that look like Facebook and Twitter. In other words, we can cross that task off the list. It happened.
What we've seen since have been evolutionary improvements on the patterns established five years ago. The platforms that have seemed hot in the last couple of years -- Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest -- add a bit of design or mobile intelligence to the established ways of thinking. The most exciting thing to come along in the consumer space between then and now is the iPad. But despite its glorious screen and extended battery life, it really is a scaled up iPhone that offers developers more space and speed to do roughly the same things they were doing before. The top apps for the iPad look startlingly similar the top apps for the iPhone: casual games, social networking, light productivity software.
For at least five years, we've been working with the same operating logic in the consumer technology game....MORE