Great ideas are like mushrooms in that they appear at times where you least expect them. They are also like flowers, delicate and something that you have to stop, view and consider heavily before moving on. That difference, Mushroom to Flower, is what makes a great idea special.
They, great ideas, are moments. Something that you remember, treasure and eventually something that you can stop and consider over and over. As I think about the great ideas that I’ve seen in the past five years, there is a number. I consider each of them a treasure and enjoy seeing them over and over!
The iPhone was the first smartphone to change the market. I remember many years ago countless flights where I was the only person that cared when the flight attendant said you can turn on your phones now. Most people turned on their cell phones to call for a ride or to let people know they had arrived safely. I did so to download and check my mail. First via the keyboard/Blackberry device and then via my Pocket PC phone. Slowly over the course of 2007 and 2008 more and more people hit the ground running. As the plane landed, more and more people were connecting and downloading their emails. The Smart Phone became the primary device of connection.
From the smartphone burst the tablet. Apple again actually, with the iPad. I honestly cannot say how much that tablet changed the reality that was computing. I didn’t have an iPhone when they first shipped. In fact, I made fun of them, frequently! What happened next with the Android phones and the iOS explosion changed everything. The great idea both systems pushed was the concept of bite-sized applications (do one thing, well) and with that lower cost. Where in the past the Pocket PC phones had stores, the software was expensive. Now suddenly you could get anything for 99 cents. Yes, there are still specialized applications that cost more. But for the most part, it is a low barrier to entry (cost) and functionality that lives in a small box.
Great ideas need to be reviewed time to time. Those two shifted the world rapidly to a new paradigm that continues o evolve. I would argue that the rise of Cloud Computing was because of the rise of Android and iOS devices. They were the clients for the cloud! The value of cloud was the ability to manage cost over time while offering more and more services. The value of the smart device was the capacity to work anywhere, anytime.
That revolution gave rise to the concepts of the smartwatch. While I miss the Pebble, its place in the market is forever sealed. It was the first true SmartWatch. The SmartWatch that launched a thousand ships! I still recall the sheer joy of having a Pebble.
I think the next great idea is already in the market. Between two products that I have been using extensively for the past six months, there is a new reality. The first product is the Microsoft Hololens; the second production is the Oculus Rift. While Sony has a similar package that works with the PlayStation, Oculus works with any capable computer. Hololens though works on its own. It costs more than the other two (although if you consider a package, Hololens is less expensive). As Windows 10’s next release nears the integration that is already good, will continue to improve between the computer and Hololens but today Hololens stands on its own.
Both Oculus and Hololens present a virtual environment that you can explore. Since both today are tied to the power of the computer you have, your ability to see and do more pretty much unlimited. That raw power is intoxicating.
For me the best thing is being on a conference call, first off it is best as a call, I suspect if I went to an in-person meeting wearing the Hololens I would probably having people staring at me. On the call, as questions come up or concepts I want to explore come up I can quickly search for information. Simply typing into the keyboard that I have paired with the HoloLens to see what is possible. I can have virtually an infinite number of search windows open because I am not bound by the monitor in front of me.
The next great idea is here. VR/AR technologies that will continue to change the world around us and in consuming what we know build what we could know tomorrow for us!
Pausing everyday for great ideas…