East and West

I was struck today by what is happening in Silicon Valley software. Currently, most new startups are consumer and social network-related, a frenetic hub of activity which is distracting us from the shift in the global economy. Sure, the consumer sector (e-commerce) is important, and technical innovation is always cool, but while the cream of western society in the US (and the UK) fixates on high-risk, fast-paced startups, Asian entrepreneurs are building things in massive quantities. Crash

Massive shifts in global affairs appear to be preceded by an elevation of the trivial: decadence in pre-war Berlin, a peak in imperialist sentiment before the Great War, pets.com before the dot.com fin-de-siecle crash. I think we are seeing it now in technology: massive excitement in a new wave of social network services, preventing us from concentrating on the fundamentals we will need in a decade or so.

On (BBC) Radio Four this morning, an analyst explained how in Asia, the 2008 Global Financial Crisis is now referred to as the North Atlantic Crisis. This is true. Technological innovation in the trivial distracts us from what we really need to be doing. Building things.

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About Keith Cotterill

After 25 years in finance and technology, I have returned to university to read for a doctorate at Cambridge. I am an active technology entrepreneur and investor as well as a researcher and divide my time between the UK and Silicon Valley.

Posted on November 11, 2010, in California, Entrepreneurship, Technology and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. The consumer-social-software bubble will IMHO cool down some before long. We may then see an upswing in enterprise software activity, as that industry absorbs some of the innovation that first came to life in the consumer space. That should actually be pretty exciting. When and if we will ever get back to making things is another issue of course. Buying less cheap crap from China and drinking less oil would be a god first move, but who is going to put those genies back into the bottle?

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