It’s always hard to predict how a generational shift in technology will impact the wider world, especially when you are in the trenches building that new technology. It happened with the mainframe computer, mini-computer, and the PC. These were all technologies that fundamentally changed how industries functioned and culture evolved (especially the PC plus internet), and in ways that were hard to predict. With mobile and the smartphone, a16z’s Benedict Evans argues, the impact will be even greater. a16z Board Partner Steven Sinofsky joins Evans in a conversation examining the massive scale and monstrous leverage of mobile devices and the software running on them and how — unpredictably as always — this technological shift is changing the world. As Sinofsky puts it, “Mobile is everything.”
The history of computing can be largely described by architectural eras demarcated by the near-continuous ebb and flow from centralized to distributed computing: The first generation was centralized, with mainframes and dumb terminals defining the era. As endpoints (and networks) became more capable with additional processing and storage, the generation of client-server computing took hold. Over the past decade, cloud computing and software as a service (SAAS) have moved the needle back once again toward a centralized architecture. Processing is centralized in the cloud datacenter and endpoints simply display the resulting operations, albeit in a more colorful way than their simple terminal predecessors.
This is now changing.
Our mobile devices have become supercomputers in our hand. The processing power and storage capacity of these devices are now 100x more capable than PCs of 20 years ago. History has shown that as processing becomes available, new applications and architectures happily utilize the excess capacity. Enter the new world of ‘cloud-client computing’ where applications and compute services are executed in a balanced and synchronized fashion between your mobile endpoint and the cloud. MORE
One of the rookie mistakes first-time entrepreneurs often make is to be too guarded about their idea – in fact, many will actually spend their first $25,000 on patent lawyers without ever fully vetting their product. In order to gain credibility and attract investor attention, it’s critical to aggressively seek out the most relevant people in the world and get their feedback. I believe most young entrepreneurs massively overestimate the chances of someone stealing their idea versus the benefits associated with sharing it. MORE