Amazon, Google and Microsoft, with their cloud offerings have created a platform by which they have totally commoditized the computing power. The infrastructure that would take millions of dollars to build is readily available for a fraction of cost to everyone. Today we are living in a world where the ideas can’t be kept secret, acquisition of knowledge is free and computation power to execute those ideas are also free. You can also rent the same computation power on “on-demand” basis.
In a connected world, a good idea will not be in secret for a long time. I believe a valuable idea will always find it’s practical utility. New ideas are constantly being shared, discussed and challenged in organizations, college campuses, internet platforms, coffee shops and meet ups. Not to mention the old ideas, that are discussed, debated and challenged for their validity in the current time. Eventually, a hypothesis will be formed, tested and the hypothesis will be proved or disproved based on outcome. I believe no one can stop a curious mind from attempting to solve the puzzle. The book Triumph of the City beautifully illustrates how the cities interconnect ideas by connecting people. The author delivers a powerful message that the growth of a nation depends on growth of it’s cities and how those cities enable humans to interconnect and share their ideas.
The same theme is also shared by the author Steven Johnson is his book Where Good Ideas Come From
This is not the wisdom of the crowd, but the wisdom of someone in the crowd. It’s not that the network itself is smart; it’s that the individuals get smarter because they’re connected to the network.
– Steven Johnson, Where Good Ideas Come From
You get the best teachers from Ivy League universities teaching you for free. There are 100’s of platforms and channels available over internet where the best minds share their wisdom. Khan Academy, Udacity, Udemy, Egghead and YouTube are a few of them. I recently read that the only reason one have to go to college is to get certification, networking or approval.
Think about the world a decade ago, one has to take a library membership to read books, even then the newly published books won’t be available in local libraries. You also need to reserve them and return them in 15 days. Today, one can gain the same knowledge without spending a penny – learn in their own phase, in their own place, in their convenient time and become a life long learner.
The above-mentioned mediums are also powerful in terms of delivery as they engage us through a combination of text, audio, video and animation.
Here is a passionate talk from the founder of khan academy about teaching for mastery and not for test scores.
Once you have an idea and the knowledge to build it, the only limitation you will have is the computing power to run the algorithm and backend services. Today, you can get the same computational power that is available to big corporations for free or for a fraction of cost and take your idea directly to your future customers.
1. You don’t have to worry about availability, scalability and other infrastructure problems.
2. With software as a service model – you don’t have to worry about licensing, installation, upgrade or maintenance.
3. You can rent the computation power on on-demand basis without planning and forecasting your future demand. With cloud infrastructure, a company can automatically scale up and scale down the computational power based on demand. The software actually does this automatically for you. This is very efficient in terms of utilization too as you don’t have to build surplus capacity that would only be used during seasonal shopping or during peak hours.
What’s better? To test an idea, an individual can get all these resources for free!
In Code 2016, Jeff Bezos was asked a question about his Blue Origin space program. Below is the transcript of the conversation.
Interviewer: Why Space?
Jeff Bezos: If you go back to when I started Amazon, all of the heavy-lifting infrastructure to support Amazon was already in place. We did not have to invent a remote payment system. It was already there. It was called the credit card.
Jeff Bezos: We did not have to invent transportation – there was this thing called the postal service. If we had had to deploy last-mile, it would’ve cost hundreds of billions of dollars.
Jeff Bezos: So when it comes to space, I see it as my job – I’m building infrastructure the hard way. I’m using my resources to put in heavy-lifting infrastructure… So the next generation of people can have a dynamic, entrepreneurial explosion into space.
The same heavy-lifting infrastructure is available today for any software developer or a service oriented business.
In an environment like this, a talented ground of engineers could take an idea, learn the know-how and take their product directly to their customers is a very short time. If this is a SAAS (software as a service) product, it adds a positive feedback loop to the game in which the next innovator won’t have to solve the same problem again. They can an simply ingest the earlier service and build their idea on top of the existing service. This ecosystem also lead to an environment where the incremental innovations are going to be cheaper and faster.
Good ideas may not want to be free, but they do want to connect, fuse, recombine. They want to reinvent themselves by crossing conceptual borders. They want to complete each other as much as they want to compete.
-Steven Johnson, Where Good Ideas Come From
One must identify the key parameters that will enable them to be successful in their line of business and concentrate on them effectively. Focus is every more important to be successful!