Future Visions

[Eric Kidd has written an eloquent post dismaying of the future for small ISVs. He sees the future dominated by two forces: Microsoft and Open Source. He laments for a third way, where "30 person companies" can be significant. He has some good points: Microsoft and Open Source are going to be around and they are going to influence the SD world. But small ISVs have a brilliant future. JetBrains  has about 5% marketshare of the Java IDE space. That gives them enough money to expand, build interesting software, and be entirely limited in their growth by finding people talented enough to join their company. Not a bad situation.]{.025590717-23062003}

[The other day I was writing an article about the Tablet PC that will appear in a future issue of SD Times and I wanted to emphasize that innovative hardware always introduce a needs gap, in which the nimbleness and imagination of entrepreneurs is a crucial advantage. And my fingers first wrote, "It's been more than a decade since the widespread introduction of the mouse and the bitmapped display..." and then I wiped that out and tried "It's been more than 5 years since the original Palm..." and then I wiped that out and tried to figure out how I could get people excited with the truth, which is "Well, actually, the Tablet PC is an older piece of hardware than the Smartphone, which isn't even yet released in the US, and which is an entree into a market that's considerably larger than the entire universe of desktop PCs."]{.025590717-23062003}

[Let's take a look at OneNote, Microsoft's forthcoming note-taking system. I think it's safe to assume that in 5 years, Gartner will be able to say something like "80% of all notes taken on the Tablet PC are taken in OneNote." And there's two alternative note-taking systems already in the marketplace: FranklinCovey's TabletPlanner and Mindjet's MindManager. But you know what? I don't like any of them. I'll lay down my credit card instantly for a note-taking system that accords with the way I write; "80% of the note-taking market" is entirely irrelevant to me because notes are central to the way I work, just as "95% of the Java IDE market" is entirely irrelevant to the fact that I can't imagine choosing another Java IDE over IntelliJ.]{.025590717-23062003}

[I have no idea what computers are going to look like in 25 years but I guarantee you that people will still struggle with communication, will still be frustrated that they can't coordinate their activities, will still long for tools that facilitate the expression of their artistic impulses, will still watch projects stall and falter despite the best intentions, will still be frustrated trying to lose weight, will still worry about keeping their kids safe, will still... be busy. And they will still be eager to pay for things that save them time. And if the software is well-written and well-supported and helps them achieve their goals, they won't give a damn if it comes from a company with 30 employees or 30,000.]{.025590717-23062003}