Arduino, 3D Printers, Kickstarter, and BitCoin
AVC regular Dan Ramsden posted a thougtful essay on GigaOM yesterday. After I read it, I sent Dan an email and I said "do you think big beats little in this phase we are in?" Dan replied that he did and asked me what I thought.
I think David beats Goliath all day long if you are focused on the right sectors. Clay Christensen has shaped my thinking on this. You just need to look for sectors where the incumbents can't and won't adapt to new emerging models and where the innovators look like and are being derided as "toys".
I told Dan that Arduino, 3D printers, Kickstarter, and Bitcoin are four "toys" that I think will radically reshape some big industries in this decade. Of course it may not be Arduino as we know it. Or it may not be Bitcoin as we know it. I will avoid commenting on Kickstarter since we are investors there.
The leaders in 3D printing today may not be the leaders in 3D printing tomorrow. All you have to do is look at the big guys suing the little guys to know that there is a lot of innovation and change afoot in 3D printing right now.
I have said this before. The more I hear people laughing at, deriding, and dismissing something the more I think it is likely to be a big deal. I remember when the common refrain about Twitter was that nobody wants to know what someone had for lunch. Well maybe they do. And maybe Bitcoin will be accepted in Starbucks someday. And maybe your phone will be made from Arduino components and the cover will be 3D printed. And maybe the movie you are going to see in the theater today will have been funded on Kickstarter.
Maybe is a powerful word. If maybe represents something big and powerful then it is worth chasing that maybe. And it is worth funding it too.