“The technology sphere is one of the few in the US economy that is still fully functional, dynamic, often fast growing, highly innovative, and wildly profitable. It’s also one of the few in which you can still get very wealthy starting from very little, and do it fairly quickly.”
“There simply are no other fields in which I can spend $100 tomorrow and set up a new business (AWS, or a dedicated server, and off you go). I need no permission. I need no lawyers. I need no zoning permits. I need no environmental studies. I need no retail space or warehouse. I need no tv spot, newspaper ad, or yellow pages placement. I need no consultants. I need no incorporation to get started. I don’t need an army of workers. I don’t even need to buy any software. I’m limited only by … me. Oh and I need a $150 Windows XP machine with notepad and a free copy of WSFTP from 1997 that would run equally well on Windows 95, with a shitty $50 17″ LCD monitor – and most of that hardware you can pick up for free from lots of sources.”
This is exactly why we’re in the middle of such a gigantic socio-economic shift right now. I presume that most industries in the future will be based around developing software in some way or another. This means traditional software houses, web development, UI/UX design but even industries like visual effects where people will be developing their own tools to work faster. Since the cost of developing anything is now so low, the cost of starting a business will drop significantly too.
Traditionally, people came together to group resources such as capital, knowledge and/or labour and ‘organize’ into a business. The assumption was that the grouping of these resources would create economies of scale (and sometimes synergies) that they would not experience if they worked as self-employed individuals.
In our times however, the effect of automation is increasingly more powerful than economies of scale. If a person can automate their daily work, their labour output can increase to the output of thousands of employees.
Economically, this means that in 10 years or so a significant amount of people will be self-employed. They will have developed their own software packages, tools, apps, or robots to work for them and will be able to sustain an income, equal to or higher than they would earn in a traditional organisation.
Some may call this a lifestyle business: it makes enough money to live from comfortably but doesn’t show start-up like explosive growth. That’s quite a derogatory term for something that is more likely the future of employment.
P.S. I'm on Twitter too if you'd like to follow more of my stories. And I wrote a book called MAKE about building startups without funding. See a list of my stories or contact me. To get an alert when I write a new blog post, you can subscribe below: