01 April 2014

AVC: “The Search For The Next Platform”

It isn’t clear if the next thing is virtual reality, the internet of things, drones, machine learning, or something else. Larry doesn’t know. Zuck doesn’t know. I don’t know. But the race is on to figure it out. Trillions of dollars of collective market capitalizations are on the line. So a couple billion here or there is chump change. Except for the people who collect that chump change for selling them an option on the next thing. It’s real money to us. Fred Wilson

Probably the most sensible explanation for the recent acquisition spree in the tech world and the apparent lack of direction and long-term strategy of the biggest players. In these circumstances I am strangely reminded of this quote by Steve Jobs: You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.

I’m not saying Apple is the one who will come up with the next big thing; I’m just thinking that if some direction looks promising now, by the time actual products hit the market, consumers will have already moved on to other stuff. Chasing every year’s trendy technology and trying to push it to scale won’t build the next platform; for that you need a clear vision and the courage – or foolishness – to see it through.

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