The last 20-25 years has really been about the rise of distributed systems. The next 20-25 years is going to be the rise of distributed work.
Nothing has happened since then to change my mind, and evidence is growing that the last couple of years were indeed a watershed in the build out of the global, tech-driven economy.
This week I have seen some interesting commentary in that regard. Let’s start with San Francisco, a bellwether for my thesis. There is a deep irony at the heart of the idea that software is eating the world, first floated by Mark Andreesen in his 2011 essay. It has often seemed like software is eating the world, but it all must be conceived of and written in San Francisco.
More and more major businesses and industries are being run on software and delivered as online services — from movies to agriculture to national defense. Many of the winners are Silicon Valley-style entrepreneurial technology companies that are invading and overturning established industry structures. Over the next 10 years, I expect many more industries to be disrupted by software, with new world-beating Silicon Valley companies doing the disruption in more cases than not.
While companies in SF and Silicon Valley built tools that allowed global access to information and services, which should indeed allow you to work anywhere, they generally really didn’t want their engineers and employees to do so – other than maybe sales and marketing people, who should of course be “close to the customer”. Everything is about “on campus” or in the office. That’s where the snacks, free meals and table tennis tables are at.