Friday, December 9, 2011

Developeronomics and the Rise of the Internet and Software

There was an interesting article recently in Forbes titled The Rise of Developeronomics by Venkatesh Rao. It talks about software developers and how important it is for companies to hire and hold on to the best ones.  One interesting claim is that good software developers are not just somewhat better than the average developer, they are often 10x better than the average one, and can make a very big difference to a company.

The most interesting quote, however, is how the development of software has been changing much of the economy, especially once the Internet was developed:
Speaking of history, let’s put all this in perspective for non-software-industry types who still don’t understand just how epochal the birth of the software industry is for the rest of the economy.

As Alan Kay, a major pioneer of today’s software-eaten planet,  pointed out recently, the Internet doesn’t have stop, shut down, or rewind buttons. Once it was turned on,history was essentially rebooted. Software began eating away at the pre-software layers of civilization on the planet, and depositing software-infused layers instead. 
One of these days, we’ll recognize the enormous significance of what’s going on and replace the BC/AD distinction with BI/AI (Before Internet/After Internet), with January 1, Year 0 reset to October 29, 1969, the day the Internet was turned on (if you want to start right, 2012 is actually Year 43, AI).
And yes, this time, there will be a Year 0, if programmers have anything to do with it.
This type of argument suggests that the technological singularity is happening now, and we're living in the middle of it. It's taking a few decades, but that's a blink of the eye if you take a longer term historical perspective.

No comments: