Tech trends shaping the future

Here are some of the questions I ask when thinking about what trends will shape the business and technology worlds in the years to come:

  • What is becoming cheaper/more abundant/ubiquitous?
  • What is improving productivity across many industries?
  • Does an innovation seem like an inevitable step in the progression of technology?
  • What happens when everyone uses it?

So with that said, what are some of the technology trends that have been, and will be shaping the business landscape? Here are five that I came up with:

  1. Bandwidth and ubiquity of internet access
    1. Software as a Service (Netflix, CRM, Google Docs)
    2. Hardware/Infrastructure as a Service (AWS, Dropbox, Heroku)
  2. Mobile computing
  3. Answer engines / modularized search (Quora, Wolframm Alpha, Wikipedia)
  4. Abundance of simple manufacturing
    1. 3D printing: allows consumers to solve jobs as they arise + democratizes rapid prototyping
    2. Simple electronic programming (Arduino)
  5. Open-source platforms/frameworks (GitHub, Thingiverse, jQuery, Ruby on Rails, other smaller plugins and building blocks)
  6. Distributed funding (Kickstarter, Gittip)

If you can think of any others please comment.

3 thoughts on “Tech trends shaping the future

  1. You list a lot of software and computer related changes. I’m not saying you’re wrong, but what is the value-added of software versus the whole economy? It would be an interesting number to know. I think there is lots of room for transformation in other industries. The 2% growth in GDP every year is probably 20% out-with-the-old and 22% in-with-the-new, and this would not be possible without expansion in other areas.

    Some that come to mind for me:
    1) Healthcare
    a) Fee-for-service model (vs. Insurance)
    2) Manufacturing
    a) Rapid prototyping (Additive manufacturing) – Still a ways out but I agree very, very promising
    3) Energy
    a) Battery Storage Technology
    b) Data Center heat processing (along the lines of 1b)
    4) Software
    a) Data Analytics, “Business Intelligence”

    While they are all incremental changes, I think all these areas have the potential to change the business landscape considerably. My two cents.

    P.S. I enjoy the blog, please keep up the good work!


    1. Brent:
      I agree that the trends I listed lean toward the software side.

      I think that some of the software trends will end up affecting some of those you listed — primarily healthcare, energy, manufacturing, etc.

      A lot of this follows Marc Andreessen’s “Software is eating the world” theory. In other words, software (primarily internet/cloud-based) has disrupted the older tech/digital industries but is now moving onto jobs that are traditionally more physical, service-based, or procedural.

      More obvious replacement is occurring in retail, hardware, and manufacturing. But I think big disruptions are in store for healthcare, education, and energy.


  2. 2010 U.S. % GDP by Industry
    Computer and Electronic Product – 1.8% (trending up)
    Electronic Equipment, Appliances and Components – 0.3% (flat)
    Publishing Industries (incl. software) – 1.0% (trending down)
    Information and Data Processing Services – 0.5% (flat)
    Computer System Design and Related Services 1.3% (trending up)
    Total 4.9% (trending up)

    Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis


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