I remember reading Only the Paranoid Survive by Andy Grove when it came out in 1996.
Intel has the preface on their website. Here is a quote on what he calls "strategic inflection points":
Strategic inflection points can be caused by technological change but they are more than technological change. They can be caused by competitors but they are more than just competition. They are full-scale changes in the way business is conducted, so that simply adopting new technology or fighting the competition as you used to may be insufficient. They build up force so insidiously that you may have a hard time even putting a finger on what has changed, yet you know that something has. Let's not mince words: A strategic inflection point can be deadly when unattended to. Companies that begin a decline as a result of its changes rarely recover their previous greatness.
As someone who reads blogs and maintains this blog, I feel these more than I used to. These points come and go. There are small ones and big ones. I feel like we are at a major one right now. The biggest I have ever felt. Maybe it is just because I am passionate about some of the issues that are at a cross-roads right now - maybe it is just me. But I can't help but feel like it is more than that. Patrick Logan and I discussed it momentarily at work a few days ago. We didn't get into details, but he feels it too.
A couple topics that I am interested in that tell me things are changing. There will be many winners and many losers. If you are affected by these topics, I suggest you start paying attention, because your world is changing:
- Open Source Software is a major threat to commercial proprietary vendors. These vendors are starting to lash out in strange ways. Will it only be MSFT that lashes out? Where will this go? Why now - what was the tipping point? This? The fact that OSS has come this far - that executives get it? That the partner pull-through proprietary platform is threatened (i.e., no apps no platform)?
- WS-*, an enormous industry initiative is an utter failure. REST wins, wow.
- People are drifting from MSFT Office in favor of the web and experiencing a whole new level of collaboration and knowledge management.
- J2EE is spent - Spring has $10MM to spend.
- Cambrian Explosion of Web UI Change (Flex, Silverlight, JavaFX) - where will it lead?
- The google-ization of the data center.
I could go on, but don't want to lose you. These are the ones I personally feel the strongest