The Internet Economy Rips a Page from the Packers Playbook
My great friend and mentor, physicist Carver Mead, has often told me paradigm companies are those that “listen to the technology.”
The path before such companies smooths out toward success because they are moving with the technology, not fighting it or trying to steer it somewhere it does not want to go.
Vince Lombardi used to tell his Green Bay Packer running backs, “run to daylight.”
He meant that it didn’t matter so much where the playbook said the running back was supposed to go. Regardless of what the playbook said, the player should always take what the defense was giving him and go where the defenders were not.
The same idea can be applied to a paradigm company. It takes what the technology is giving and runs to daylight.
The Future of Technology is Bright
What technology promises us today is the fulfillment of the internet economy.
What is the internet economy? Maybe the best way I can say it is that our current economy has the internet in it. You’ll know the internet economy is here when it’s the other way around and the Internet has an economy in it.
You’ll know the internet economy is here when:
- You go see your family doctor and his or her assessment is aided by half a dozen specialists who could be thousands of miles away. And they all are backed up by artificial intelligence programs that can compare your condition to millions of similar patients in microseconds, and which is informed by “blood” and other tests that take no blood (or other bodily fluids) and produce results instantly.
- Your insurance company reimburses the doctor before you leave the office, eliminating huge transaction costs.
- You can attend any business meeting anywhere on earth and appear to your colleagues — and they to you — as real as if you were in the room.
- There are no more security lines at the airport and you simply walk onto your plane wishing good morning to a smiling, unstressed flight attendant.
Multiply experiences of this sort across your entire day and life and you are in the internet economy.
But aren’t we sort of there, already?
Far from it. All we have seen so far are hints of what could be, because as good as the internet is, it is not nearly good enough.
The Three Pillars of Internet Economy Success
On the contrary, the very power of the current internet has increasingly revealed weaknesses that will make it unsustainable if not addressed.
The promise of the internet economy rests on three great pillars, each still constituting enormous technical challenges.
- Nearly instantaneous transmission of nearly infinite data. We move a lot of data very fast right now. The internet economy will require step-ups counted in orders of magnitude. This is the realm of 5G, the internet of things, and of an army of analog devices that will transform the sensory data of the world into the digital logic of silicon.
- The ability to turn that data into useful information, again nearly instantaneously. This is the realm of artificial intelligence. But also we need “edge computing”, and “computational storage” merging, the functions of data storage and processing to deliver supercharged data to the AI.
- Every transmission, and especially every transaction, must be inherently secure, and the the ownership not only of cash but any information of value must be perfectly verifiable. This is the realm of the Cryptocosm, blockchain, and all enablers of an internet secure by design, not patched with Band-Aids torn painfully from the wound by the next set of hackers.
For each and every pillar we have technologies in outline, or perhaps grayscale. To get to the full-color renditions will entail ferocious efforts of engineering, and not all are destined to succeed.
We are about to enter a brutal, if ultimately fecund, decade of competition between rival solutions.
Our job is to find the winners (and write about them in The George Gilder Report and George Gilder’s Moonshots).
Tomorrow, we will explore the two great categories by which we identify paradigm companies.
Editor, Gilder’s Daily Prophecy