The Future Is More Than Facebook
The frenzy over Facebook is unprecedented. There are many interesting dimensions to the story; the most interesting to me, is how the insiders are upping the number of shares they plan to unload on the public. This does not give one confidence — that those with the most information have decided to reduce their long-term holdings the day before the company becomes public. I am sure there will be a lot of coverage about that in the days ahead. The more interesting story was presented by Rich Karlgard in the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal this morning (See Rich Karlgaard: The Future Is More Than Facebook). Rich believes that the tech bubble is large, but more importantly he believes that social media is not the most important area of innovation. He doesn’t ditz social media, but urges consideration of more important areas needing innovation including transportation, energy, electricity, food production, water delivery, health care, and education. Great list! Rich poses the question for those who need to go places, which they most value: An iPad, a Facebook membership, or a car. By 2050 there may be 9 billion people and 3 billion cars. Will we have the right fuels and road access? Perhaps the Google driverless car is more important than Facebook groups. In the world of manufacturing, a lot of smart money is going into 3-D printing, which can make physical objects from an artisanal model. Rich believes that “Made in the USA” is about to stage a major comeback. In the area of energy, who would have predicted that North Dakota would overtake Alaska in oil production. Horizontal drilling technology is changing the world. Rich poses a second choice: If America could have only one, would it choose Facebook, Twitter, or horizontal drilling? I agree with Rich that America remains the world’s innovator and is a country without limits.