Friday, 15 May 2015

On things changing and staying the same

Mainframe Computer by Dave Winer
I recently spent some time with my maternal grandparents. My grandfather often likes to tell us stories about his past career and this visit was no different.

Previously I have heard about his work in London as an accountant using earlier computer systems, such as those pictured to the left. I don't remember any stand out stories or great surprises from this era, other than how similar it was to my own experience working on a Y2K project more recently.

However, this chapter was more recent and dealing with his time in the small Sussex town they lived in while I was growing up.

I listened to him explain how he had first started to sell personal computers with a business partner and then later to bundle with Sage accounting packages as a reseller- this was when PCs were very much a business tool and before Sage had grown as large as they are now. 

Afterwards it struck me how the two different markets are so different now, large enterprise systems are by and large still massive projects "requiring" special data center setups with expensive consultants. On the other hand if you are buying systems for small to medium enterprises and you have a range of options, from cheap off the shelf computers to turnkey solutions over the internet. I cannot imagine someone selling bespoke systems for general sale. With app stores, open source packaging and delivery over the internet it's not as needed to  rely on a third party to market and sell your software - although arguably that's what app stores do.

I wonder what the next 30 years holds? Will "Enterprise software" still exist? Or will it be like whatever personal computing ends up being in 2045? I am pretty certain - and I'm sure this doesn't make a brilliant fortune teller - that personal computing will be radically different. 

Vaguely related reading

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This is  part of a series  about my side project  Bashfully , which aims to give graduates and other new entrants to careers a seasoned prof...