What have the geeks ever done for us?

Dan Bowyer


As I was writing this post I couldn’t get John Cleese's voice out of my head. What did the Romans ever do for us anyway? :)

But in all seriousness – What’s left for digital to do?

I recently read on TechCrunch about the latest batch from 500 Startups being fouttered and feckered into the world. Do we need any more tech startups? Really?

According to the GEM Annual Report, 100 million new business are started globally every year. That’s 11,000 an hour, 3 every second. In the US alone, around $50bn is invested annually and it’s slim pickings as 90% of these investments fail.

With this historic volume of activity, what’s left to disrupt?

I think of it this way. Digital became useful in the mid-late 90s I would argue, as the internet, personal computers and cell phones became prevalent and started to do what they said on the tin. That’s not all that long ago. Keep in mind that the iPhone was only birthed in 2007.

In the early days it was all about content. i.e. having a PC, or a piece of tech kit that kind of did something. Anything was a bonus between BSOD. In more recent times we’ve switched to a super exciting point in time where there is a product or platform for everything and anything we need. Just look at connectors like IFTTT or Zapier and you can make any string of apps connect and do whatever you want them to do.

Nowadays digital is all about context, where it fits and what do you want it to do. In business, this is simply either making or saving money.

So I ask again, what’s left to do? What’s the problem?

You are. You and the slow moving business and sector you work in. The ‘stuff’ is already here in spades, ready and chomping at the bit and will only get smarter. How you apply it contextually in your business. Well, that’s up to you, and by the way – you still have lots to do :)

The tech needs to find its feet too, early options often not being the overall winners – Google was the 15th search engine. Do you know how many taxi apps there were before Uber? I stopped counting at 60.

We’ve only just touched the sides in recruitment, energy, real estate, education, politics (why are we still voting on paper?!) and more. The inertia in most systems is huge, but it WILL be broken down as people start to ‘get it’. And the pace will accelerate.

Forget 3D printing, VR or Drones – that’s just smutty PR. The real action will happen behind the scenes. Tech is not a ‘thing’ any more – it’s an enabler of things. How your kids are schooled, how you manage your energy needs, or do business.

The phrase ‘there’s an app for that’ no longer applies. It’s now down to the people in businesses who need that app to get on the bus.

So, c‘mon in, the CPU cooling fluid is warm.