Tech Optimism Is Back
USA Today says that Tech Optimism Is Back.
It looks like tech optimism is back in fashion. Here come the glowing press reports about “the next big thing.” USA Today starts us off by noticing that the internet is now poised to go to a new level. While we've pretty much reached the point on the web that matched many of the initial predictions, it has people wondering where do we go from here? [via Techdirt]
That's good news, although in some ways it sounds eerily familiar. In the late 90's, everybody figured that the technology consulting business would rebound after Year 2000 was complete because of the pent-up demand for “normal” projects that were set aside to fix Y2K. That notion fizzled with the Dot-Com Bust in 1999, and the new wisdom was that everything would come back strong within a year as the economy rebounded. Then Sept 11 happened and sent the economy into a tailspin again. In the past year, IBM has given its consultants round after round of 5% pay cuts, making it clear that they're not terribly interested in hiring on consulting help (at least not on this side of the Atlantic).
The economy plays a huge role in any growth like this, and it'll be interesting to see if the companies that'll build this stuff are really willing to take a chance on serious, big, new development, or if they'll be risk-averse and stick close to their current product and services mix. It seems to me that slow-and-steady has been the mantra of late, and I would be mildly surprised to see anything revolutionary pop out of corporate America anytime soon.
One positive note on the USA Today article is that the underlying theme is that of the web as an enabling technology, and not the end-all. That's correct and appropriate. Innovation needs to happen at the edges of the network, not smack dab in the middle (as at least one registrar would have you believe).