Section 4 of “Reinventing Societal Infrastructure with Technology” which will be released end of January. I will be posting a new section daily. Please share your feedback as this is a work in progress.
Let’s take a closer, albeit speculative, look at possible ways in which these, so revolutions fundamental to a better world imagined by many of us and the economists, might happen. While other definitions of “better worlds” are possible, that is something left for a different discussion.
Where could a single entrepreneur driven by passion and a vision enter the market with simple products and drive to much larger scale over twenty years or so? Remember that twenty years ago in 1997 Google didn’t exist, and neither did Facebook. Media had not felt the push of Facebook, Youtube, Twitter. Amazon was very nascent and not yet starting to reinvent retail. Apple was under traditional “proper management” struggling to survive, while Uber, AirBnB, Pinterest were not even glimmers. Phones were made by traditional institutions like Motorola and Nokia, the mobile phone as we know it did not exist, and the Motorola and Nokia phones were mostly used for “talking.” There was no “app for that”.
I was personally ridiculed when I suggested then that the Internet should not be ATM protocols but rather TCP/IP. In fact, Juniper Networks was the only company committed to building TCP/IP Internet protocols for the public Internet (No, Cisco was building routers for the Internet but had bought an ATM protocol company that would be their public Internet network play). Going further back through my career, in 1985 the idea of a computer in every home was considered absurd, grandma using email in 1990 was thought ridiculous, and the Internet was a crazy idea and never going to be an important public network in 1995.
Change happens but is not credible until after the fact. Retrospective predictability by pundits is common, but until large change happens one sees mostly skepticism. I have hence come to believe in the power of ideas driven by entrepreneurial energy by almost foolish, somewhat naive entrepreneurs, by those who didn’t know what could not be done. Almost no major change is driven by institutions that one would expect to have power to cause that change! Did Walmart innovate retail or Amazon? Did Boeing/Lockheed innovate space or SpaceX? Did GM innovate cars or Tesla and Waymo? Did Youtube/Netflix/Facebook/Twitter innovate media or NBC? Is there any area where a major innovation came from an institution?
What are the non-governmental components of GDP that can be re-imagined/reinvented with an entrepreneurial rather than a policy/legislative/regulatory approach?
Transportation & related city services
Health, disease diagnosis & management, drug discovery
Manufacturing, Construction, Buildings, building efficiency & cities
Food & Agriculture
Financial, insurance and legal services
Consumer consumption items, services, education, durable goods
**This is a section from “Reinventing Societal Infrastructure with Technology”. To read the previous section, click here.
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