I woke up this morning and the simplicity of the next big thing dawned on me; convergence. While tech companies fumble about trying to describe the purpose of this great thing they have unleashed onto the world; they should stop muddling about and finally define it: this is what “cloud computing” should be all about. Here’s a service that serves as the perfect simile to what I mean: Fusion by google.
I’m starting to think that Günther might not have been so much of a stretch–now just imagine him with an interface such as Siri and a family of apps such as Wolfram-Alpha, Bloomberg, and nicely curated data from all over. Here’s a quick piece I made in about 5 minutes by sourcing data from the CIA World Factbook, Bloomberg and fusing it onto Google maps: its basically what in my mind constitutes a sort of ranking of civilization (yeah don’t get me started on some of them–i.e. China etc..). Probably not a very politically correct concept but whatever–the point is, one can bring together massive sets of independently custodied data and extract value by showing limitless permutations of the relationships between them–then taking it a step further by screening out what you’re most interested in and then presenting the data as intuitively as possible.
I have a feeling I’m going to go on a tear looking for little gems in the convergence business–twenty years ago if you had the most data on the block with a handy Excel pivot table, you were king. Today, I feel we are all drowning in an inordinate deluge of information which is starting to make us rather complacent in how we think; most of my day I don’t see myself or those around me trying to understand or gain insight into something insofar as we merely run a query or pull a dataset–basically we don’t think and create new ideas as much as we amalgamate parts of pre-digested and formatted .csv tables which reside in some arctic data warehouse.
I believe that as we attain ever more informationally-efficient markets, the future isn’t with who has the greatest or even the most rapid data–but once again with who’s the smartest and most creative in assembling and deciphering insights and putting it all together within the broader context of their own mental latticeworks. In a way, we’re re-entering the 1980′s–the only difference is we have too much information when back then they didn’t have enough–Oh, and the investable universe is now about 180 countries larger.
And my cellphone has more computing power than the NASA spaceshuttle had when it launched. And if I were to mention the instruments we have at our disposal, it would sound pretty boring so let me use a metaphor; I feel like Hunter S. Thompson on the edge of the desert in Barstow:
I’ve got the old school two bags of grass, but also seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers… and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of beer, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls. Not that we need all this for the trip, but once you get locked in a serious derivative
drugcollection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can. The only thing that worries me is the ETNs ether. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ETP etherbinge. And I knew we’d get into that rotten stuff pretty soon.