Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Nicholas Carr - The Big Switch; Rewiring the World

In Nov 2002, I delivered what I consider to be the most important and significant speech of my so-called career. It was my first for the Prince's Trust and I entitled it "IT's all over now?" (after the Rolling Stones 1964 track). I used the automotive industry as an example of an industry that had gone through a period of rapid growth for 40 years, when it grew several times faster than GDP, before reaching maturity. Growth first fell to equal GDP and then started to decline even further. Even though the number and usage of automobiles in the world continued to rise dramatically, prices declined even faster. I said that IT had reached this 'maturity' stage and future growth would be around GDP (average GDP over the last 20 years is 2.5% and current inflation is c2-3% - so to meet this target, headline growth would have to be around 5%) Almost everyone seemed to disagree with my thesis at the time. As it turned out, I was too optimistic.

Two years later, in 2004. Nicholas Carr published "Does IT matter?" which also questioned IT's place and importance in the future economy. Carr's book came to similar conclusions to me, did rather well and certainly got more international publicity!

Over the last few years I have been making presentations about the major changes which are taking place in how people will use computing. The move towards achieving Holway's "Martini Moment" - achieving connectivity "anytime, anywhere and from any device". The move towards SaaS. The move away from the Desktop - indeed away from the WebTop - towards MyTop and MobiTop.

So I was particularly interested that Nicholas Carr's new book - The Big Switch; Rewiring the World - is pretty much along the same lines as the points I have been making for these past many years. Read A revolution is taking shape in today's FT. If you have been unconvinced so far about the changes that are and will affect all of us - as individual users and in our businesses - then I really do commend you to read the FT review and the book itself when it comes out in the UK on 1st Feb 08.

I really do believe that this will be the main driver for the next generation. The term 'Next Big Thing' (NBT) is over used. But in the context that the PC was a revolutionary NBT and that the NBT that followed that was the internet, then I firmly believe that what Nicholas Carr (and me!) are desribing - whatever term is finally used to define it - will be a NBT of equal magnitude.

1 comment:

Ian said...

The actual title is: "The Big Switch Our New Digital Destiny"