Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO Amazon.com, gave a talk at TED in 2003, titled: After the gold rush, there's innovation ahead. The talk is about resilience in technology. This post is a summary, recapitulating the main points made in this talk.
Jeff starts with the comparison of dot-com boom-and-bust to the 1849 Gold Rush. He offers historical evidence showing how similar they were: from the riches made by pioneers to the media hype that attracted luckless speculators.
- Both were real
- Both wen through boom and a bust
- Both jumped ships and had bad burn rates
Gold rush ended but Internet still marches on.
He goes on to draw a much better analogy to the early days of the electrical appliances industry. In the late 1800s, the U.S. was first wired to support light-bulbs; the following century saw a long procession of new appliances, life-changing advances, and of course some amusing failures. Electric industry with it's thin horizontal enabling layers went through is golden age in 1890 to 1950. It saw appliances such as Fan (1890), Iron (1912), Washing Machine (1908), Vaccum cleaner (1905), Toaster etc. (exact years are not counter-verified)
Bezos states that current state of affairs are similar to 1908's Hurley Washing Machine. Only that with innovation there is no last nugget. He says that we have too far to go and most affairs are in a kludge. He questions - "Where's the resilience?"
His conclusion in 2003:
"I believe there’s more innovation ahead of us than behind us."
He closes by quoting - Sears catalog, Spring 1917 for Hurley Washing Machine -
"Use your electricity for more than light."