Some data points:
1. The macro economy is booming again as evidenced by the fact that the Fed is increasingly concerned about inflation. Of course, we have the near-term effects of oil prices and the Gulf hurricanes. But this concern is deeper and wider than that.
2. We created a new position in August at Resurrection for a mid-level web developer. We’ve gotten very few resumes and no good fits. 18 months ago, we got many strong candidates and made a good hire within 6 weeks of creating a position.
3. A headhunter called me today looking for a Perl and XML programmer. First time I’ve received a phone call from a headhunter since before 9/11.
4. The Internet is growing faster now than it was at the peak of the dot-com bubble in 2000.
5. Any of you been in IT long enough to remember the term “push” that was so in vogue in the dot-com era? I used PointCast myself. “Push” technology didn’t really work – partly because too many people were on dial-up connections that weren’t always on – so it faded. But e-mail did work and it became the push that actually caught on. Now we have a reversal. Mass outbound e-mail is so difficult, it’s become nearly unusable. In its place we finally have push that really works the way the original “push” people envisioned: RSS.
6. Memeorandum is now the best place for technology news. It’s fresher than any other site and the right stuff is at the top of the page. Why? Not in spite of there not being a traditional journalist or editor making the decisions, but because there isn’t one. Now here’s the really cool part: memorandum is just a piece of software running on a server. It scans the Internet and purely algorithmically determines the top news of the moment and then it presents that news both as a web page for human consumption and as an RSS feed for computer consumption. It illustrates perfectly how a Web 2.0 application can grab information from the Internet, process it and add value, and then output the results in a way that another piece of software can use it as an input.
7. Podcasting has gone from being invented to being everywhere in one year. We’re testing our sermon podcast feed at Resurrection right now. The video iPod, announced only yesterday, immediately spawned a deal between Apple and Disney that is getting a chilly response from some ABC affiliates.
So how are these data points related?
The macro economy has heated up. The IT labor market, at least in Kansas City, is (suddenly?) tight. We have a major change happening in technology (this time driven by RSS). And the Internet is booming. Does it seem like 1995 all over again? It does to me. Only this time, it’s perhaps even bigger because, as data points 6, 7, and 8 show, the media world is in the process of being turned upside down.
Reflecting on the above data points, it seems clear to me we’re in the early stages of a technology change as significant as the emergence of the web into the mainstream (1994 or 1995) and before that the Macintosh-led graphical user interface and mouse (1984). I’m not suggesting this change is driving the macro economy or even the IT labor market, but it does seem at least noteworthy that all these things are happening at the same time.
The world changed while I wasn’t looking. But I’m looking now …