12/07/2018

Half Full or Half Empty

Oh, you do databases.  We do that.
Oh, you do development.  We do that.
Source control. Yep.
Cloud. Sure.
Open source. You betcha.
Project management software. Yes.
Dev ops.  Uh huh.

There are so many 1 off vendors, competing in niche spaces.  The big boys do everything.  They've got tentacles in every segment, every market.  And they're the leaders in most.

And there are a few other big boys competing, same business model, slightly different approaches, fan bases.  If you bundle all the big companies into a bucket, then there really is just a single entity that offers set of products and services.

One company offers new product, others follow suit shortly after.  Not much difference if you think about the big picture.

Kind of like automobiles, very similar across entire spectrum, offer low end, medium, high end and luxury, different shapes and sizes, running out of creative names, hasn't changed considerably over time, throw in electric, few gadgets here and there, basically the same across the board, main factor is quality of parts to determine life expectancy, which typically does not exceed 5 years or so.

What about delivery methods.  Used to have catalog stores to order from, out in remote areas, maybe a single store in a small town.  Then mall, concentration of stores single area, do all your shopping one convenient place.  Then malls fizzled.  Re-branded as the outdoor mall, strip malls.  Then big box stores, that sell tremendous assortment of goods.  Then online stores became the rage, why, because people shop on the computers, and now laptops.  The delivery mechanism is a box shows up at your front door steps, by carrier, soon to be drones.  Why, costs savings, real estate leases, employee costs, insurance, etc, don't have to ship merchandise to location with hope it sells, online stores keep goods in warehouse, only send out when purchase order goes through, credit card payment brings in cash flow, package out the door, customer receives shortly, everyone's happy,

The retail stores have been centralized even further, no longer decentralized on street corners around the city around the country, its centralized in some warehouse in some city with call centers somewhere else and merchandise flows from manufacturing plant to people's door steps, less middle men, other than delivery method.  It's a good model, saves time for customer, saves costs for retailers, its a win-win.

Except with the advent of email, people are sending less snail mail than in the past, so fewer stamps sold, which took a chunk of business from the postal services, perhaps reason for incremental bumps in stamp costs over time, offset or deflect lower profits.  The package delivery companies must really be making money hand over fist.

Drones could reduce costs even further, as would smart trucks to deliver the products.  Smart cars that self drive could be right around the corner, and who knows the impact.  The staple item for most people is their automobile, it represents who they are, they're identity, symbol of net worth.  What happens when cars do all the driving, adhere to laws of the road, get people from point a to point b with no fuss, no muss, just an autonomous vehicle performing a task, like any other machine.  What impact will that have on society, will it unclog the traffic jams, or add to it, will it free up people's time to do other things, like self learn, improve their lives, one would hope so.

What about education, from the 1 room schoolhouse for all grades, to extensive systems with couple dozen schools for each tier, and now charter schools filling the gaps.  How has the education system changed over the years, with students being remote now, with online courses on every subject available at the fingertips, sort of the decentralization of knowledge to everyone, from a centralized source.  You can earn degrees completely online, certificates,  online training courses, webinars, at this point, anyone with a computer now has access to more information than every before in the history of time, there really is no excuse for not learning on a regular basis, no more excuses of limited opportunity due to lack of finances or resources, its a level playing field like it or not.

So we covered technology, retail stores, automobiles and education.  Some similarities across the sectors, with centralization a key theme, similar products distributed by few vendors with not much differentiation, use of technology to streamline the process translating to quicker delivery, increased profits perhaps, to make our lives better.

All in all, we are living in fascinating times, where anyone can contribute to they dynamic fluctuation and disruption of just about everything.  Legacy systems are being transformed, new markets are opening up, giving us a chance to fix some outdated processes that haven't evolved with changing times.  As time flows from long ago to now, problems have existed.  Some went away, some morphed and some new ones developed.  The change over time is static.  There was always problems, there are current problems and there will always be problems.  On the contrary, there have always been solutions to problems and always will be.  We are fortunate to have the tools at our fingertips to contribute to the massive changes undergoing society today.

So what do you think.  Is the glass half full or half empty.