It isn’t clear if the next thing is virtual reality, the internet of things, drones, machine learning, or something else. Larry doesn’t know. Zuck doesn’t know. I don’t know. But the race is on to figure it out. Trillions of dollars of collective market capitalizations are on the line. So a couple billion here or there is chump change. Except for the people who collect that chump change for selling them an option on the next thing. It’s real money to us.
So for the next few years (I have no idea how long this search for what’s next will go on), a game to be playing is building a platform that can plausibly be the next big thing. It’s a risky game. But the payoff can be large. And you can even start by crowdfunding your first round. Man I love this business.
This is the nature of innovation. Good innovators know that you cannot predict the next big thing. Even the ‘facebooks’ and ‘googles’ of the world. That is why they are working on “diversifying their business model” without knowing whats next. They are starting with building new capabilities and then figuring out how they can create value and in the long-term capture some of it. But right now, it’s a race to the future. This kind of humbleness about I don’t know “what’s next” with the audacity to throw billions at it is the way these leaders are doing it. What can we learn from these guys? How do we get better at “what’s next” for social change?