Hardware is a Trojan Horse
Stacey Higginbotham
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All of the tech that people are raving about today has been around since the 50’s and 60’s. Why now? Alexa really disrupts the I/O model that’s been in place, and is the first to do so with a plausible commercial viability. I’d argue that right now there are only about five or six guys, mostly similar in background making the decisions for the rest of us: Zuckerberg, Bezos, Page, Brin, Andreessen and Nadella. Tim Cook hasn’t had a significant game-changer besides changing the size of the phone, but he’s a brilliant marketer. I think it is unfortunate that six men suffering groupthink have the rest of us captive, but on the other hand, the world might be far worse off without them.

But Amazon is a special case where Alexa could succeed, almost as if you have to revolutionize the supply chain, vertical integration, shopping, factory stock, shipping to build the infrastructure around it/her. That said, SIRI and OK Google didn’t happen in bubbles, any more so than 3D gaming, CGI, meta-data collection and facial recognition weren’t coincidental in their arrival.

Alexa could prolly be modded by an oceanographer to identify whale and dolphin song and respond in some similar form of sonic range frequency, maybe with an end goal of allowing whales in shipping lanes to identify ship hulls as giant mega-whales and avoid them. But. The moment for it will probably pass, and it won’t revolutionize life, but stay inside the Amazon walled garden ecosystem, unless Amazon puts Google, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Samsung, Sony, Microsoft, FB and Walmart out of business. They’ll copycat it and Bezos will move on. Probably to groceries. Maybe furniture. Possibly drone-delivered WaPo on eInk smartPaper.

The 20% fall-off in VC shook up the industry. Even while that might be a boon for Google and FB, it means as visionaries they must explain why, no that last next big thing we raved about last year wasn’t really, I mean, really, like this next big omg did you see that thing that is going to be huge.

Toss SmartWatches, Beats, Bluetooth speakers and wireless headphones, Windows phones, Windows 8, Google Glass, NFC, bitcoin, petsdotcom, the zune and Kinect into a pile with betamax, mini-CD’s, 8-tracks, flying cars, Feelies, Smell-O-Vision and Panorama in Technicolor.

Lookin' at you Buzzfeed, IoT jewelry, Airbnb, self-driving cars, AR, Holo-lens, the jet hoverboard, and yes, even Uber. Yahoo! and AOL ruled until they didn’t. Cisco, MS, Dell & HP are all still around, so is Sun for that matter, but not what they used to be. Sure, sure, but IBM was around for 80 years before it was supplanted, Uber hasn’t even gone public. Sure, and what will Generation Minecraft need taxis for anyway. Get ‘em a coloring book, some organic vegan gluten-free cookies, some legos and lego’s themed video games and allow them to build what’s-its with their brony brethren with their mob axes and their redstone machines and get out of the way.

Soon we’ll be tossing in chatbots, VR, 4K TV’s along with app stores, walled gardens, Google cards, cable boxes, TiVo’s, Obamaboxes, iPods, chrome books, fire TV’s, fire phones, DVD burners, Blu-ray discs, FB Glass, PS2’s, maybe even Netflix, AT&T, comcast, Time-Warner and big cable, who knows.

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