May 26, 2011

The future of cloud computing and the "dotcloud boom"

A recent CNBC report discussed what I've been referring to as the current "dotcloud boom", and comparing it to the earlier dotcom boom of the late '90s. The big difference is in size and scope. The dotcom boom--which despite some bad press did give us a lot of good technology that is still in use today--relied on venture capital and big investments, because everything had to be built up from scratch. If you were an online retailer at that time, you had to build out your own data center. Today, you can get that infrastructure in the cloud at a fraction of the cost. As an enabling technology, the cloud is already unleashing a new wave of entrepreneurship, in two different areas: First, small companies are taking advantage of cloud services to launch new companies with much less capital than it would otherwise take. Second, cloud providers offer the enabling technology to make it all happen. I think we're on the very tip of a tremendous entrepreneurial shift here, where you're going to see many more small companies, launching dotcoms with five or ten thousand dollars in startup cash, rather than companies needing to seek out millions in VC funds to get started. It holds enormous potential. What's your opinion of the dotcloud boom, and where will it take us?

The dotcloud boom holds a lot of potential. The earlier dotcom boom was centered in a few geographic areas, especially central California. But, the technology they created out there has made the idea of a "Silicon Valley" obsolete, and today, because of the cloud infrastructure that is available to anyone, anywhere, you don't have to live in San Jose to be a dotcommer. This fact alone holds the potential to re-invigorate depressed areas in the industrial Midwest's "Rust Belt". Big manufacturing still has to be done, but cities can no longer afford to put their entire future in the hands of a few large factories. With this new technology, more cities can become their own "Silicon Valleys", and new high-tech companies can spring up out of the ashes of yesterday's rusted out factories.

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