Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The circle game

I met with a few fellow software/internet investors and the oft discussed topic of the 'web is dead' long live mobile applications came up. Elad Baron of PlumWillow also brought up the subject recently.

In the '80's application software heralded the death of timesharing. Then, in the late 90's desktop software was declared dead as it was thought browsers would support rich applications delivered by huge pipes. This did happen but these cloud based applications provided a different type of an experience, one that was more information and real-time oriented. Information at my fingertips was redifined and broadened; it was now the world's information. This had the effect of slowing the growth of desktop software, but not obviating the need for it. The market expanded in a way that forecasters didn't expect and grew much larger than most dreamed.

The rise of mobile applications are again changing our computational behavior. From my own experience, I am spending less time on my desktop and more on my fingerheld PC (aka a smart phone). I have 52 applications installed on the device, yet this pales compared to my kids and many of my peers. These applications are for the most part quite different from a generation ago in that they rely upon the internet to be valuable. A combination of instant updating, 'social' awareness, and GPS functionality has greatly expanded their utility. In fact, it's getting more difficult to determine when I am in an application or when I'm using the web to search through Yelp, my mail, or to read the news.

It seems as if the market is again expanding in unexpected ways. It's 'dead' if the area you have focused on has stopped growing, or is shrinking. It's a new world, if your market is growing.

No comments:

Post a Comment