Steve Lohr in the New York Times: “Clearly, a lot of the money, glamour and people have left the technology business. And yet, the technology itself continues to spread, in every way.”
A good point, but why is this so surpising to people? (And when did the Times start using British spellings???) Technology isn’t about glamor, or even glamour — it’s about solving problems. Moreover, the yardstick for successful technologies is that they become mundane. Transistor radios and microwave ovens are unexciting household items, because their technology is so widespread, reliable and cheap.
The same thing will happen to many of the whizzy Web technologies out there today. As Doc Searls points out, software is becoming infrastructure, in the sense of highways and bridges. Infrastructure is phenomenally important, financially huge in aggregate… and as boring as boring can be. There will always be exciting frontiers of technology, and mass-market technologies that remain exciting businesses even as they become commonplace, but let’s not confuse heat with light.
Having said all that, I’d encourage everyone to read Steve’s insightful piece, which flows neatly from an analysis of the tech industry’s malaise to a discussion of computational biology.