Phenomenal interview with Jim Clark. Deserves way more views than it has gotten. One of the top 5 most influential figures in the Valley. Great charisma and a sharp mind. I believe he is 69 years old when this was recorded.
He was 38 when the SGI journey began, 50 by the time that ended and Netscape was on the horizon. Oh and then there was WebMD. And Shutterfly. Jim appears to do one thing consistently: he inspires incredibly smart engineers to do their best work with him. Easier said than done.
A very insightful fireside chat with Tim O’Reilly, especially the first 30 minutes.
Two key points:
A serious shortage of EE+ID+CS talent is driving acquisitions like Google-Nest.
"Systems thinking" is more important than ever. It is the difference between a gimmick and a truly valuable service for society.
There is a dearth of people who can leverage electronics, industrial design and software to build useful services. I am not referring to hobbyists (there are plenty) but to people like the engineers at Nest, Project Ara and their progenitor Apple.
The ability to create and manufacture bespoke, power efficient and evolvable devices is a serious edge every company looking to define the future needs to have. You can count companies with such capabilities on two hands.
Another highly relevant point made is about the need for process-oriented people. Ev Williams likes to refer to such people as “systems thinkers” and I think that term is more appropriate. Truly transformational services in the future are going to comprise of large networks of engaged sensors, generating defensible value through scale.
One needs to be capable of ultra-wideband and medium-deep kind of thinking to consider and implement such a long and diverse chain of interactions
Such people will remain valuable, Internet-of-Things or otherwise.