Not Just a Good Idea

In his podcast, Akimbo [], Seth Godin teaches us how to adopt a posture of possibility, change the culture, and choose to make a difference. Here are my takeaways from the episode.

In this podcast, Seth discussed the most important law of our lifetime, Moore’s law. A law is a statement of how things happen in the world. A theory is our explanation as to why something is happening. Theories get better over time because people come up with better, more accurate explanations of what we are seeing. Laws are merely simple statements of how the world is.

Moore’s law, which is generally true and has been true for the entire life of many of us, is responsible for the world we live in now. Unlike almost everything else in our world, computer technologies keep getting faster, better, and cheaper. It’s worth understanding how to leverage this law for the prosperity of ours and everyone around us.

Seth outlined three ideas on how the ever-changing-getting-better aspect of computer evolution enhances our lives.

The first idea is the experience curve. The experience curve says that the more we make something, the better we get at making it. This is particularly true with anything that involves computer and data. As we start working with ideas and with processes, we discover that the experience curve makes us more efficient at scale.

The second idea is that computers can now make computers. This means is that, as we get more powerful computers, those newer computers are helping us make more powerful computers. This is a huge leap forward for the computing curve as it accelerates and compounds over time.

The last idea is the network effect. What we know is that computers by themselves are reasonably powerful, but computers networked together are incredibly powerful and useful. The network effect further pushes the computing curve forward and contributes to holding up Moore’s law.

Moore’s law and the three ideas that associates with it mean that everything around us is going to be network enabled, if not already.

When Yahoo was at its prime, Google was just a tiny, little figment of someone’s imagination. In less than ten years, Google won, and Yahoo lost. Yahoo’s core process was supported by labor-intensive humans, whereas Google was leveraging algorithms and enhancing its offering via the crowd. Yahoo’s model was based on the notion of scarcity – hard to hire enough humans to do the work. Google’s model was based on the notion of abundance – we can always hire more computer chips to do the work.

We are living in an economy shaped by abundance. More computing power tomorrow than we have today. More network effect tomorrow than we have today. It means that just about everything we do is going to be impacted by Moore’s Law. While the chips might not get much faster using existing technology, the experience curve and the network effect will continue to make things better. The combination of three ideas means that Moore’s law is n0t going to get repealed any time soon.

The most important question we should ask ourselves is this. Are we going to act like Yahoo and insisting that a pre-surplus computer mindset will persist?  With resources that are available to us where the computing power, storage, and network connection keep getting better and cheaper, are we going to bet on the abundance model because they are making your work better and more efficient?