As President Obama desperately tries to re-animate the mid-20th century manufacturing economy, a completely different industry is taking off right under his nose. The Economist has an excellent special report on the growth of new startups in high-tech industry:
Today’s entrepreneurial boom is based on more solid foundations than the 1990s internet bubble, which makes it more likely to continue for the foreseeable future. One explanation for the Cambrian explosion of 540m years ago is that at that time the basic building blocks of life had just been perfected, allowing more complex organisms to be assembled more rapidly. Similarly, the basic building blocks for digital services and products—the “technologies of startup production”, in the words of Josh Lerner of Harvard Business School—have become so evolved, cheap and ubiquitous that they can be easily combined and recombined.
The metaphor that the Economist is using, a prehistoric explosion of new life forms, is apt. For a long time the biggest bottleneck to change has been the slow development of software and business models. Hardware capabilities have been expanding faster than we could integrate those capabilities into daily life. That finally seems to be changing. We’re going to be making better and better use of those hardware capabilities from here on out.Be sure to read the whole thing at some point this weekend (and not just the leader essay).