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The first two eras of the internet

During the first era of the internet — from the 1980s through the early 2000s — internet services were built on open protocols that were controlled by the internet community. This meant that people or organizations could grow their internet presence knowing the rules of the game wouldn’t change later on. Huge web properties were started during this era including Yahoo, Google, Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. In the process, the importance of centralized platforms like AOL greatly diminished.

During the second era of the internet, from the mid 2000s to the present, for-profit tech companies — most notably Google…


It is a wonderful accident of history that the internet and web were created as open platforms that anyone — users, developers, organizations — could access equally. Among other things, this allowed independent developers to build products that quickly gained widespread adoption. Google started in a Menlo Park garage and Facebook started in a Harvard dorm room. They competed on a level playing field because they were built on decentralized networks governed by open protocols.

Today, tech companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple are stronger than ever, whether measured by market cap, share of top mobile apps, or pretty…


From Benedict Evans’ Cars as Feature Phones:

This is a common theme in many classes of device: you start with a product that has a few electronic functions added, and then those functions are delivered with chips, and perhaps they gain an interface and then a screen, and more and more functions (and probably multi-function buttons) — and then, somehow, you’ve built a little weird custom computer without actually meaning to, and all the little silos of features and functions become unmanageable, both at an interface level and also at a fundamental engineering level, and the whole thing gets replaced…


As [Edwin] Land ultimately recognized, the adoption of his [polarized headlight] system was fatally hampered by the fact that there was no competitive advantage for any car company in using it first. Since all cars needed to incorporate the technology as simultaneously as possible, it was either going to be all, either voluntarily or as directed by the government, or none. No state or federal governmental agency ever stepped in to direct the adoption of the technology in the way that seat belts would be required decades later. Herbert Nichols, a journalist with the Christian Science Monitor who had followed…


“The strongest force propelling human progress has been the swift advance and wide diffusion of technology.” — The Economist

In the year 1820, a person could expect to live less than 35 years, 94% of the global population lived in extreme poverty, and less that 20% of the population was literate. Today, human life expectancy is over 70 years, less that 10% of the global population lives in extreme poverty, and over 80% of people are literate. These improvements are due mainly to advances in technology, beginning in the industrial age and continuing today in the information age.

There are…


“Ether is a necessary element — a fuel — for operating the distributed application platform Ethereum. It is a form of payment made by the clients of the platform to the machines executing the requested operations. To put it another way, ether is the incentive ensuring that developers write quality applications (wasteful code costs more), and that the network remains healthy (people are compensated for their contributed resources).

Ether is to be treated as “crypto-fuel”, a token whose purpose is to pay for computation, and is not intended to be used as or considered a currency, asset, share or anything else.”

Source: ethereum.org


“Steve Jobs supposedly said, returning to Apple, that his plan was to stay alive and grab onto the next big thing — to listen for the footsteps. He tried video, and a few other things, but he got there in the end. But he might not have.”

From: Inevitability in technology


“If you asked people in 1989 what they needed to make their life better, it was unlikely that they would have said a decentralized network of information nodes that are linked using hypertext.”

Farmer & Farmer


  1. I’ve never heard of it.
  2. I’ve heard of it but don’t understand it.
  3. I understand it, but I don’t see how it’s useful.
  4. I see how it could be fun for rich people, but not me.
  5. I use it, but it’s just a toy.
  6. It’s becoming more useful for me.
  7. I use it all the time.
  8. I could not imagine life without it.
  9. Seriously, people lived without it?
  10. It’s too powerful and needs to be regulated”

Credits:
#1–#9 by
Morgan Housel, Time
#10 by
@peterpeirce

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