Monday, April 21, 2008

The New* Big Blue

Hind sight is 20/20. So often it seems that events that occurred decades ago were inevitable, and the current state of things is accepted as obvious. Those who make the future are those that realize that there is no such thing as inevitability.

Not that long ago IBM, Big Blue, was the all-powerful behemoth that ruled the realm of technology. It was a scary world for new companies like Apple, Microsoft, and those countless unfortunates who are no longer in existence. For the last couple of decades or so, Microsoft has been the Undisputed World Technology Champion, and it has seemed like an inevitability.

Those of us in the industry have sensed a shift lately, and Microsoft is no longer "the place to be". If Microsoft was the "New Big Blue", then Google may be considered the "New New Big Blue". And, just as sure as Google is becoming the industry giant now, some company will replace Google, likely one that has not even been formed yet.

Dr. Charles Knutson of BYU stressed to me the importance of the individual. There will likely come a point in each of our lives where we'll have an opportunity to say something, to make some decision or point out some insight, that will change the shape of whatever industry we may be in and, potentially, the world. And children who are born after that change is effected will count it as an inevitability. The sad, scary, and unfortunate flip side to that coin is the fact that many of us will not realize the opportunity. We won't make the decision, realize the insight, say the right thing at the right time, and we won't change the world. The important thing to realize is that it is up to us - it hasn't happened yet, and it is most certainly not an inevitability.
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