Robert Scoble writes about the huge investment in new technology across the industry going on right now:
I remember when Eastman Kodak laughed at me when I said that someday digital photos would be 1,000 times more important than chemical photos. I was wrong. I think it’s a million times more important now.
I remember when two guys brought Siri into my house (hi Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer) and, while I thought they would be bought pretty quickly I never thought that that would be the most profitable investment Apple would make. It was the last time I will underestimate Apple’s ability, or Steve Jobs.
I remember when I was the first to use an email server at the magazine I was working at, and that some in the office didn’t appreciate that I was trying to get people to stop sending paper memos.
So many memories of so many disruptions, but the ones that are about to come are far more wild than the mobile phone.
I have a different perspective on this: After the wild success of the iPhone, companies all want to own their own platform now. Most of the investment in VR, AR, and AI are in the hope of growing them into platforms. Companies are willing to invest a lot of money to create platforms, because, as the iPhone has shown, owning a platform is literally the most lucrative thing there is.
The problem is you can’t just R&D a platform into existence. What makes a new platform possible is the status of complementary technology (mainly hardware). What you can do is take existing technology and polish it up and make a product out of it, and that’s what we have now with Oculus, HoloLens, Alexa, Siri, Magic Leap, and Tesla1. But if that’s doesn’t make a compelling product, then you basically have to wait a decade for the complementary technology to improve enough to make a difference before you can try again. What we’re seeing now is a whole lot of wheel spinning by companies dreaming of iPhone-shaped dollar signs.
Tesla has a compelling product today, but only as an electric car, the self-driving features are still far out. ↩︎