The One Trait that Makes a Successful Entrepreneur:

Connecting the Dots and the Adjacent Possible


Steven B. Johnson writes about the exploration of knowledge and invention in the book Where Good Ideas Come From: Natural History of Innovation. He has this phrase called “adjacent possible,” an exploration of how the present can “reinvent itself,” based on how designers and inventors of the future broaden its current boundaries, connect the dots and come together to create moonshots.

The strange and beautiful truth about the adjacent possible is that its boundaries grow as you explore them. Each new combination opens up the possibility of other new combinations.

The new frontiers of quantum computing, AI, voice, IoT, virtual reality, augmented reality, the self-driving car and all the underlying technologies that driving them are coming together to create a new wave of computing.

Here’s one way the combination of technology could come together to create exciting new opportunities:

Now — Oculus, Vive, Google Daydream and PlaystationVR ramp up shipping for the holiday season. Snap’s Spectacles debut and start being seen on famous faces. Airpods start shipping and sellout quickly. The rise of chatbots help users become used to natural language interfaces — speaking to apps to get what they need. Browser vendors —  Google, Microsoft, Chrome, Mozilla and now Facebook will debut more of the basics needed for WebVR, the physical web and augmented reality.

2017 — The app stores are still the way we all get games and apps. VR headsets will start showing up on airplanes alongside headphones. Eddystone beacons and stickers will start to make their way onto conference lanyards, pet tags and gifts. The yearly traditional May 1st reboot will bring WebVR to the masses. People will begin to think of the world around them in 360. Spielberg’s Ready Player One will open in theaters and the marketing blitz will lead to the trough of disillusionment for VR. You’ll see headlines like “VR is dead, long live AR.” Everyone will be wearing Spectacles at Coachella. Snap IPO’s and owns the summer. Apple will debut the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Google will all debut some form of camera glasses, some shipping for the holiday season. 360 content experiences now become the norm for everyday websites.

2018 — The second wave of consumer VR hits, with room scale untethered headsets broadening the VR install base dramatically. Browser payment API VR integration makes indie web business viable. 

2019 — Competition intensifies among the app stores and ecosystems, as hardware features start to converge. Siloed app stores fight each other heavily with exclusivity deals, but are still where most tend to go for content. WebVR portals are growing, pushing larger experiences, and getting cozier with game engine companies, while building communities and value added service moats. “Is the VR fad over?” articles are written.

2020 — 

2021 — WebVR and the new wave of portals is now the defacto way we share 3D interactive experiences, especially apps. Siloed app stores are used to distribute the biggest games, somewhat like how EA’s Origin is used today. “Smartphones are dead” articles are written.