Did Silicon Valley Build Its Own 747?

11 thoughts on “Did Silicon Valley Build Its Own 747?”

  1. If tech is finished, mundane and boring, then what about The 5th Wave? Is the 5th Wave merely a small step, evolutionary process, or is it a rather big wave perhaps of tidal proportions? Maybe Tibco is one of those companies that’s on to the next big thing since they’re listed among the 5th Wavers?

  2. OK — can’t help but say something there. The 747 is the 3090. The PC is the Bombardier CRJ-200 (the jet that Independence Air uses). Big box using stat muxing as the cost model. The smaller one, more distributed — lower cost of operation, faster turn-around, somewhat disposable, lower barrier to entry, etc.

    Distributed systems (and some of the world’s leading super computers are built this way) shows us that power can come in numbers. Look to the ants and bees as well for nature’s example. I forget the numbers, but some hughely significant portion of the planet’s biomass is ants. Not blue whales …

    Add up the computing power of all the PC’s in the world (not to mention the creativty cultivated by indpendence) and you get much much more than the NCSA model. Frankly I’ve never been very impressed by the work products of the supercomputer centers. But look at we’ve got from the combined small (and sometimes small in package but huge in significance) of developers.

    Can’t leave without saying something about security too. Have you seen the Blade PC’s ? Interesting — scaling of power systems, cooling and space — but still independent processors, memory, etc. Security is always a concern (in big gatherings of people — on big airplanes, big computers/data centers). What is the impact of an outage (or as the case may be terrorist attack) on a 747 vs. a CRJ-200. If we had more CRJ-200’s and less 747’s life would be easier.

    -Victor

  3. Om,

    To derive the next big thing, Silicon Valley would need to change its traditional “solution in search of a problem” mode of innovation, and switch to understanding the applications that people are interested in.

    In my opinion, the next big application, is Content. Rich, interesting, experiential Content. I use Content a bit broadly here, and include experiential shopping and other derivative applications also within the Content bucket.

    And contrary to what VCs and entrepreneurs would like to believe, not all content fits a miniaturized form factor – it craves a very large display, hence the adoption of large screen TVs in the home.

    There are various permutations and combinations of traditional digital PC apps that desire a TV / Audio System & Speakers, and there are others that desire portability and miniaturization.

    In the Home Entertainment arena, the networks (Data, Voice, Video, Audio, Security) need to merge into a manageable 777, as you call it.

    In the Portable Mobile Device arena, the iPod, the Phone, the PDA, the credit card, … all need to merge into, again, another 777, but a miniaturized one.

    Those two Consumer Electronics convergence devices will become the two most important Next Big Things.

    I am not sure that they will necessarily emerge from Silicon Valley, though.

  4. Ed, you are very easily focusing on two words, mundane and boring. I am not saying tech is finished, it is taking a pause.

    the fifth wave is coming, it is going to come soon. it is going to leverage the platforms that have become embedded – the pc and the IP. it is going to take advantage of the speed and bandwidth.

    the fifth wave, as my story had pointed out was about “leveraging the platforms” and building new stuff on top of that.

    but as it was with the 747, it is a just a little pause and we are evolving. even the web 2.0, which is part of the fifth wave is taking baby steps.

  5. Victor,

    I disagree with your analogy. i think the mobile phones of today are the tiny jets. the bombardiers as you say. the numbers are increasing, and yes like ants and flies, they are multiplying. my story, the fifth wave looks into this phenomenon.

    I think the 747 analogy i use is to show that we often forget how much we have succeeded. you very well know first hand, where IP networks have come in the time I have known you. which is not that long.

  6. In the world of mainframe vs. pc’s pc’s won. But the unfortunate reality is that cell phone’s are exactly autonomous systems able to communicate directly to each other. They rely on lots of centralized (rather than distributed) infrastructure. I’d argue that an 802.11 handheld device is closer to the PC in the analogy than a tradition “cellular” cell phone.

    But agreed about how easy it is to forgot the victory of the packet ….

    -Victor

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  9. Om,

    So what happens when quantum computing comes along? Doesn’t that just blow the 747 right out of the sky? Oh yeah, and what happens when quantum computing is progressed somewhere outside of Silicon Valley (like Vancouver)? What will all the VCs in the Valley do then? Will they cry like babies and say “boo hoo the world is ending in Silicon Valley”?

  10. chauka

    you miss the point. did aviation stop at 747? no it did not. what i am trying to say is that 747, PC and IP have the perfect balance of price, power, and staying power and flexiblity to stay put for a long time. next big thing comes along, it could be quantum computing or whatever, and things hit the next gear.

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