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Jon Beverley

Goodness me. Ten years ago today, what was then the 'Snaffle It' team were busy celebrating not just a New Year/new millenium, but also having just received a term sheet from idealab. How time flies. Happy New Year!


Ah yes, Snaffle It, then scan.com was a classic way too early. SMS did not take off in the US for several years, during which, unfortunately, the dotcom boom came to an end. But is was certainly right, as the number of clones now succeeding show.

Bob Brisco

Hi Howard, brilliant post. I love the observation that you have “have always found it useful to think about what could happen when a constraint is removed from present day computing.”

As bandwidth and mobility constraints fall away for most apps, alongside ongoing speed and storage gains, I think we experience exponential change. The new constraint becomes primarily software and analytics, such as emerging work in bioanalytics, industrial analytics (inclusive of narrow ai), consumption analytics, and analytics infrastructure. Looks like First Round is ahead of the curve again.

It should be an exciting decade!

Michael Kuperstein

Hi Howard. I agree with all that you said, but would add a few more mini-revolutions that I think will happen in the next decade. My perspective not only includes your view of "way too early technologies", but also the even earlier "science that is ready for prime time".

There is increasing public will and lots of investments being made in new or improving energy sources, whether it be battery technology, synthetic bio-fuels, clean coal, fuel cells, solar, nuclear, water currents or geothermal. This will spur a huge social change in what we drive, how we heat our buildings and source of jobs in new industries. I think 2010 will already be a big year for the start of electric cars in our culture.

Along with increasing wireless bandwith and a disappearing data storage expense, there will be increasing integration of all of our widgets. Distinctions among TV, PC, cell phone, tablet, displays, cameras will blur considerably with computing widgets in every room, vehicle and building we inhabit. They will become part of one giant human support network for communication, security, knowledge and control in our daily lives, whether it be a communication grid among cars for traffic and safety improvements or a sky grid among airplanes that will add many more local airports or video calls among teenagers on their HDTV displays.

There will be great medical advancements from stem cell technology and synthetic biology to cure many cancers, replace injured body parts and help us live longer.

I think the next decade will also force us to confront the shortage of clean water in our world which will spur new products from existing and new technologies in water collection, distillation, storage and processing. I see a coming revolution in food distribution. Bio-engineering of new foods will help feed the world's hungry and the creation of crop harvesting farms in buildings will localize food distribution and improve the quality of our food while reducing their transportation costs.

Every decade in the last 100 years, futurists have declared the coming of the robotic age, but having been in robotics, I don't see much progress in the last 50 years. Orders of magnitude increases in chip density, speed and storage has led to only a marginal improvement in how robots and robotic widgets affect our lives. Put simply, most robots are just computers that move as they are told maybe with video feedback and a few other sensors. I am hoping that in this coming decade, the automation industry will finally fill in the last 2 most important features that will enable a robot revolution. These are adding high density tactile sensation and adding truly adaptive learning so that robots will finally learn increasing complex tasks by trial and error by themselves. The DARPA arm is already helping military veterans that have lost their arms with dexterous manipulations like eating and using tools. The obstacle is no longer going to be hardware, but rather a required paradigm shift in producing automated behavior. Decades of brilliant minds have shown that rule-based programming which is what almost all software is, is just not good enough to make a generalized human-like robot that can help people with tasks like washing our clothes, cleaning our bathrooms, supporting the lives of the elderly and handicapped, and replacing people in most manual labor in factories from sewing clothes to general assemby of most products. A new approach that mimics how people learn will need to insert a different type of software into computers that not only learns by itself but also learns to know how to learn new tasks.

Linda Stone

Great post, Howard. Quantified self technologies of all kinds will play a key role in this new decade.


I agree that one of the great revolutions will come in the exploration of the personal genome with one caveat being the more it becomes politicized the less progress will come. We lost almost a decade of research on stem cells because of political agendas. Medicine continues to be one of the most highly regulated businesses where significant advancements in medicine sit idle due to regulatory oversight. The key to changing this environment is to put more of the risk decision in the hands of the patient as opposed to the government telling you what is best.


New decade...need a lot of vision to see it, write about it, and try to read it :)

thank you for the inspiring post.


mobile, social, & real-time

Love that trio. I think your post hits on all these areas.


Great post,

There is an them that is present in all of these "predictions" but that you have not touched on deeply: the management of the underlying data. Yes, you can get a terabyte for $150, but what do you do with one TB of data that is useful (storing it is not useful). how do you analyze it / manipulate it / and use it near-real-time so that it helps with its intended purpose? how do you quickly validate the worth of the data -- even before you analyze it -- by looking a origin / rating / reputation and other similar areas?

I think that 1/3 to half way through the decade we will notice that data management is the key missing element in everything we are doing and seeing -- and focus on that.

then again, this may be too early even for you :)

HLM: I agree that the metadata is also of importance. And I did mean that the data should be processed in as near real time as possible, so your comments are right on.


Great thoughts man,
I think we experience exponential change. The new constraint becomes primarily software and analytics, such as emerging work in bioanalytics, industrial analytics (inclusive of narrow ai), consumption analytics, and analytics infrastructure.


In any case, I’m going to enjoy watching the decade unfold, and will keep looking to be just a little too early, though maybe not way too early in my investing.


Annoyed Posted on Whatever you mean by being western ? I am a girl, who was reaisd in Bombay (More specifically, Amboli, so I grew up with Reuben and Keenan). I now reside in a Western Country . Let me tell you one thing, the amount of times I was groped, teased, touched inappropriately, had lewd remarks passed at me (all because I was dressed in Jeans and so in your opinion western ) did not seem fair. And, even though I did manage to slap some of these jerks, it did not stop others from doing the same thing. Now living in a Western country, I have never had that happen to me even once. It made me wonder how I could provoke' that response in one country and not another. I now believe, its not what we girls wear or do or say. Its the way some Indian men are reaisd (I repeat some, because Reuben and Keenan were not those men)that allow them to believe that all women are nothing but objects . So, I'd suggest, get out of this delusional world of yours which offers you a false sense of security. And please stop blaming the victims.


Varsha Posted on I was working in Mumbai for 5yrs & have some of my best meeroims there! I took pride in midnight walks on Carter Road without a worry Sadly it shattered when I read this! The Mumbai I knew stood up to wrong, believed that there was no place for cowards, was united in grief, made women feel safe (even though there were stray incidents on the train even then) & more importantly respected women! What bothers me is that the DNA of most metros is changing & suddenly taking a cab after 9pm makes me anxious! and reading about incidents like these does nothing to my morale!I watched Keenan's dad & Rueben's brother on the Times Now debate last night they were so dignified & calm! There pain is beyond what we can imagine & yet they are being so brave. I wish from that horrible night, atleast some people have the balls to come forward & be witnesses. Its Keenan & Rueben today, tomorrow it will be YOU!


Vikram Posted on This is tragic. I am so sorry for your loss. How can we even be close to be cealld a responsible society when incidents like this exist. We boast about our culture when we don't even understand the basics of human behavior. I have been living in Australia for the last four years, and haven't even come close to witnessing an incident where a girl has been harassed by someone, forget the latter of bringing swords and killing somebody. This is not a law and order problem. It's education. It might take a generation to fix, but hopefully people are working towards it. Having a mob to defend self hurt, or to prove self pride should be shunned. I hope this incident incites some change. I hope Ruben died for a reason. God bless his soul.


LOVE the site!! If you'd like to send me a little blurp on the bueisnss, I'll put it in the next co-op newsletter for some free advertsiing within the homeschool community! I'd need it by next Monday to make the November issue or take some extra time for December. Good luck, Old Soul and VERY Classy Dame!!!

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