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The warm up acts

I love the notion that the last forty-odd years of computer revolution were only significant in the sense that they represent a necessary journey we had to undertake in order to get to the world of technology we have today.

We simply had to endure the floppy disk, monochrome displays, dot-matrix printers, command line interfaces, modems, virus attacks, Palm Pilots, Internet Explorer 6, Flash based websites and Windows Vista. For without them we couldn't have made it this far.

And by this far I mean specifically the confluence of mobile, cloud, digital, social and data which together form the underlying platform for what we increasingly think of as the computer revolution proper.

"Six decades into the computer revolution, four decades since the invention of the microprocessor, and two decades into the rise of the modern Internet, all of the technology required to transform industries through software finally works and can be widely delivered at global scale." - Marc Andreessen

For a while we were only able to regard something as innocuous as a browser based web app as being simply a convenient and trivial offshoot of the internet connected desktop PC. However understandable it may have been to see the world that way fifteen years ago, today such a simplistic assessment seems more like a classic 'can't see the wood for the trees' misreading as we watched it break free from its host and then progressively begin to consume it.

And for all the technology businesses and software companies who grew to dominance during this initial phase, as successful, impactful and necessary as they were while they conveyed us to this new world, mere conduits are all they turned out to be.

The warm up acts who recognised their bridging role in this longer term revolution too late to adequately reconfigure themselves for the main event. Giants like Novell, RIM, Nokia, possibly now even the great Microsoft and countless others upon whose shoulders we gratefully stand but whose corporate bodies are now slowly decomposing to form just another layer of historical sediment.

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