Friday, 18 May 2012

NBN: What history tells us - Facebook's $100B "value creation" in 7 years.

Turnbull has a central criticism of the NBN, and it is astute and credible:
Is there any evidence it will provide Extra Value, or is that just an Article of Faith?
I watched the Mark Zuckerberg piece on ABC one night prior to their $100B float today, which triggered the thought:
The NBN Mk 1. won't be fully deployed for 7-10 years.
What might be different then?
Maybe looking 7-years back might give us some clues...
Zuck started in 2005 and isn't 30 yet and changed the world.
That's a Generation or two in Internet time, and only a fraction of the lead time for physical infrastructure and large scale change like upgrading servers and corporate technology.

NBN opponents assume "there has to be a Killer App" for the NBN.Microsoft is still insisting "Everything is PC" whilst looking for The Next Big Thing, and languishing economically. Meanwhile Apple, Google, Facebook and a host of hot new startups that build on the available infrastructure.

Sometimes just showing up is the Killer App in this the post-PC world. Some examples:

  • cheap laptops
  • 1+TB disks
  • netbooks and ultrabooks
  • smartphones and tablets
    • The App Store redefined software writing, marketing and sales.
For the NBN to be an outrageous success, we don't need a Killer App.
  • just watch/wait as everything being done now by Early Adopters washes through from them, to the Early Majority to the Late Majority. This is moving from the first 5%-ile to 85%-ile of the market, a 15-20 times growth.
Here's  my starter list of How it Was in 2005 [contributions, corrections, updates most welcome!]:
  • No Facebook, no Social Media
  • No twitter (?)
  • Microsoft was gonna beat Google to a pulp and was sitting on a mountain of cash... Growing at 10%/yr still.
  • Yahoo! was still worth buying
  • BillyG still  at Microsoft, but Ballmer was on the Throne (CEO).
  • Could you still buy an IBM PC or laptop?
  • How many Hard Drive manufacturers did we have? was still IBM one?
    • There are just 2 majors now (Seagate & Western Digital)
    • you could still buy IDE/ATA drives,
    • SATA @ 3Gbps was cool and
    • Fibre Channel was for Major Grunt - now its well on its way to being a footnote of history. 10/40/100Gbps Ethernet are already standardised and being shipped.
  • HP was still a major player and trumpeted its "innovation"
  • Dell. Can't remember, but s very strong player.
  • SUN was *the* strong Unix/workstation player. Had bought StorTech and going from strength to strength. ZFS was new and exciting and going to
  • Had SGI gone under?
  • Had netbooks arrived? The buzz around the first running Linux was so loud, Microsoft had to introduce a competitive priced 
  • Laptops were yet to overtake desktop PC's in sales volume.
  • We hadn't noticed yet that Intel had hit the power-wall and would get into multi-core.
  • I can't remember the cost of Flash storage ($/Gb) nor the size.
    • But it was pretty impressive. And what is it now? A flea-bite. [A$10 for 4Gb in the supermarket today. Not $75 for 1Gb]
  • And the 1TB drive was years off. 15K drives were "really slick" vs today's $2-5/Gb for SSD.
  • Bluetooth could've been a standard, but was top-of-the-line, bleeding edge and expensive.
  • Were we calling it WiFi yet? Was 2.54Hz and 20Mbps the limit?
  • Were folks still thinking of free municipal WiFi mesh networks.
  • the last retail wireless network (Ricochet) ran until 2008 in Denver.
  • Did we have Firefox? Thunerbird? Opera?
  • had Internet Explorer got tabs yet?
  • Apple Computer was yet to become Apple. (I think)
    • The iPod was cool, but for kids and Macs were still marginal.
    • which of the peer-peer sharing networks were 'King'?
    • Song piracy was still a worry with peer-peer networks, not iTunes.
    • The Kazaa filesharing court case was yet to start...
  • The iPhone was 2 years away, Android further.
    • Was Java storming along or muddling under SUN?
  • Did we have 3G mobile?
  • If you wanted the mobile business device, you'd buy a Blackberry and Palm wasn't yet a joke.
  • Nokia would've been a major plank in your long-term Tech Stocks, it still generated 55% of sector profits.
  • Did we still have Nortel or whatever Bay Networks etc became?
  • Had "Software as a Service" been coined?
  • How big was the largest Botnet? [Nothing compared to the millions now]
  • Was Google doing AJAX? Was XML 'really cool' or just a thing?
  • Were Massive Multi-Player Games (World Of Warcraft) going? Were they 'rocking' or just taking off?
  • Where was the X-box? The Sony PS3 and Wii?
  • Telstra were calling the shots here. Optus was still trying.
    • Orange/3 and Vodafone weren't merged.
  • How far was ADSL 2 rolled out? Was it available at all?
  • And we were only 9 years into the domestic Internet Revolution.
    • In 2005, lots of folk were still on dial-up and were happy with it!
  • There were some Politicians thinking that Digital Watches were Pretty Cool! [from Douglas Adams]
  • Howard was 2 years away from Kevin '07 and a massive rout.
So that's a start... I'm sure others can add much more/better stuff.

But my point is:

Turnbull and the Libs won't be finished their version of the NBN in 2018...
Not nearly!
Thinking "we can upgrade it later" is a very poor idea:
the rate-of-change of the two worlds is so very different, physical upgrades must be anticipated and acted upon years ahead of their expected need. When its obvious an upgrade is needed, you've missed the window of opportunity for a long margin.
  What will we be using the NBN-powered Aussie-Net for in 2018/9??
  We Just Don't Know! That's the only lesson we can draw from History.

It will be things we can't imagine, not nearly.
All we know is that it will stretch services & infrastructure in new ways and that it will infiltrate our lives so that we can't live without it.

There is some kid in a dorm room right now tinkering with some code....
Will we be ready for the transformation that'll be wrought in 7 years?
Are we preparing for it now, or just praying we can muddle through?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.