History lessons from Carnegie, Rockefeller et al
The History Channel recently ran the series, the Men Who Built America. It was a documentary that tracked the rise of U.S. industrial might following the end of the Civil War.
They focused on the pantheon of American big business – Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan.
But, it was the concluding episode of the series, covering the rise of Henry Ford and the automobile, that got me thinking about the technology market.
The point they made as their wrap up is that Ford’s success wasn’t built on oil, steel or railroads to feed industrial development; instead, he focused on bringing an affordable product – the automobile – to the average consumer.
Of course, he couldn’t have built the Model T if the oil, steel and rail infrastructure wasn’t already in place.
In many ways, we’ve lived through a similar era. We have our icons who created the building blocks of the IT market in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
The dotcom era in the late 1990s ushered in the consumer era, which if you think about smartphones and tablets, is as strong a driver of new technology as there ever has been.
Many have called the last 20 years the democratization of technology because you don’t have to be a computer scientist or a programmer to do some amazing things on a computer or other device.
But, of course, none of this would be possible without infrastructure that was built in those earlier decades.
So if the IT infrastructure build out of recent decades is the equivalent of the rise of oil and steel and the iPhone is our era’s Model T, what’s next?
I’m convinced the best is yet to come.
Posted by Nick Wakeman on Nov 28, 2012 at 9:52 AM