Marc Andreessen famously said back in 2011 that “software is eating the world”. Since I began writing this post, Marc released a new blog post “It’s Time to Build“ and the impact of not building modern critical infrastructure (physical, regulative, systems, and others) as quickly as we should’ve. I agree, it’s time to build – software included.
2020 has given the world an opportunity to unleash the second wave of digitalization where software devours the world for good.
Covid-19 has put this generation on a never-before experienced lockdown and it’s brought the economy to a halt, impacting the future of billions around the world.
If our devices and the internet were too important a few months ago, now they’ve become indispensable. In order to continue with our lives we’ve had no choice but to maximize their use and reinvent ourselves with them.
But we’ve been asleep for the past few years. We’ve been living in our local minima. It’s taken a virus, people losing their lives, and a complete lockdown in order to shift our mindset.
Up until this point, many companies had not completely digitalized, leaving massive opportunities in the table. Now’s their chance to become technology driven companies.
The good thing is technology adoption has been accelerated by many years. Some services, like telemedicine, for example, would’ve taken another 4-6 years to become mainstream given federal and state restrictions on patient data and insurance coverage. Fortunately, the office wait is over.
We just saw how ecommerce went from 15% to ~30% in its total share of retail commerce. In 6 weeks we went from trailing China, to becoming as good as China’s internet population is at buying online.
I’m not sure if that’s specifically a good thing or not, but behavior is changing. And that’s a good thing, just not enough.
What’s occurred is the evolution of trust in technology, allowing it further into our lives – by force.
Some will not like this as an example, but the Chinese have experienced this phenomena before. In 2002 with the breakout of SARS, the majority of people in 1st and 2nd tier cities were forced to stay at home. At a time when remote work tools weren’t a thing, companies like Alibaba, Tencent, JD, and Baidu (back then relatively small companies) emerged victoriously. Developing games, chat apps, and commencing the wave for ecommerce, among other things. Chinese entrepreneurs understood the opportunity at hand.
Almost 20 years later, these Chinese tech companies are some of the biggest most influential companies in the world. They were prepared to build when the time was right.
What will our next 20 years be like? The best way to know is to build it.
When you wake up, try to find your way into the future and start building it. If you don’t know how to create with software, learn to program, join a company or find a partner that does.
Because it’s inevitable, software will now devour the world.