28
April
2008
|
06:15 PM
America/Los_Angeles

Incremental Is Not Innovative: Where Is The Next Big Thing?

Excellent article by Jeff Nolan, an ex-VC, writing in SandHill.com on venture capital investments and locating the next big thing.

Incrementalism and "The New New Thing" - With all the venture capital moving around in the Silicon Valley, where is the real innovation?

He makes many good points especially that there is a lot of money flowing into companies that only offer incremental improvements over what is already available.


The situation may leave the technology industry in another downward spiral if none of the "incremental" ventures hit it big and no other genuine innovation appears soon.


Incremental innovation just won't cut it. In my opinion innovation has to be disruptive otherwise it won't succeed, because there is little incentive to change.

I certainly agree with the Web 2-point yawn factor:


In my opinion, the worst thing that happened in these last couple of years is that damn versioning of what is a simply the broader continuum of the evolving Web. Define Web 2.0… just try it and you will see the futility.


I totally agree with Mr Nolan on this point:


I am waiting for venture investors to once again discover that there is money to be made in enterprise software.


But what is next?


As I survey the landscape of consumer- and business- focused software and service providers I am struck by how much incrementalism there is at the moment. Something like Twitter is ground breaking in terms of breakout adoption, but what about the other 10,000 startups? There are few bold "aha" ideas, lot's of social "-this or -that", and mostly a bunch of companies hoping to draft on the perceived success of a few gorillas. . .


. . .The venture capital will no doubt continue to flow to these companies in the hopes that a few will rise to the top and get acquired. With the melt down in non-VC private equity I am sure that institutional investors will surge back into VC with abandon and this will prop up the Valley for the foreseeable future.


But I'm still left with the uncomfortable question of "What’s next?" When Facebook doesn’t deliver world peace, and FriendFeed fails to be better than sliced bread, what will we do?


SandHill.com | Opinion : Incrementalism and "The New New Thing"

I know when the next new thing will emerge...

It will emerge from this coming recession. The next new/big thing has always emerged from the bust cycles in Silicon Valley.

This last one produced a two-way communications technology platform based on RSS (a blogging platform) that led to the flood of collaboration apps known as Web 2.0. The next big thing will emerge from the same roots. Because it is during a recession that we have time to think about and invest in the next generation of innovation. Intel (an SVW sponsor) makes its investments in chip fabs during the bust cycle in the chip industry, then when the boom cycle comes it is ready to crank out tens of millions of chips.

If we are going to go into a recession the silver lining is that there will be gold at the end of the rainbow (mashup metaphor #34 :-)