If software eats the world, who eats software?

Barely a day passes without my twitter feed filling up with the glitterati of tech hailing another industry skewered by the razored-edge of software.

“Disruption!” they cry and take side bets on just how long it will take for the victim to bleed out. Software eats the World…….no kidding.

Against that self-congratulatory and occasionally smug demeanour lies an ugly truth — the software industries themselves are anything but exemplars of algorithmic efficiency.

Rife with closed systems, fragmented by languages and proprietary platforms, littered with poor standards and practices it better resembles an 18th century cottage industry than the mirror-glassed trope of Hollywood.

Enterprise software has long been the standard bearer for instant legacy, the deadweight any business drags as it marches forward, but the consumer end is catching up fast.

The first decade of the internet wasn’t bad — a single environment, HTML. The second decade has been mobile and Apps, so at least two platforms, worse. And the upcoming IOT decade promises a further descent into an omnishambles of awful.

So who can do to the software industry what it is doing to others, and what would that look like?

I’ve led businesses for over 20 years as Chairman and CEO and my experience isn’t unique, every CEO I know has wrestled with the same problems:-

1. Software creation is a slow, labour-heavy, expensive activity

-it’s craftsmanship not an industrialised process

2. Repetition and/or Fragmentation

-iOS, Android, MS. . . one of each please

3. Poor Quality

-enough bugs to feed Bear Grylls for a month

4. Incompatibility

-of course they can’t talk to each other, you idiot.

5. Lack of Transparency

-documentation zero, communication . . . also zero

Some of the answers to these problems are social or industrial (it took doctors a while before they established standards) but there are technical solutions as well (time for software to eat software).

The very nature of software is the rigour of its structure and that certainty creates opportunity. It means that you can separate the “meaning” of the code from the specific language it is written in. And if you perform that abstraction enough times you get what is, effectively, the DNA of the code — i.e. what it intends to do.

Why does that help?

Well, if you know the intent of the code you can recreate that intent in any other native language automatically . That means, labour-free perfect native code — cheaper, faster, better. It doesn’t solve all the problems completely, but it’s a big step in the right direction.

I work with one such organisation, MyAppConverter, doing just that in the iOS/Android App space. But there’s no reason why the underlying tech couldn’t be used across other coding environments.

I couldn’t be more excited by what the future holds — and without doubt software is one of the keys to unlocking a better world. The sooner we turn the microscope in on ourselves and fix our own industry, the quicker we’ll get there.

Cobblers’ children do not have to wear the worst shoes.

Written by John Pluthero
Chairman of essensys ltd and Myappconverter