Conventional Wisdom (Business Edition)
The following things are believed by more or less everyone in the business community. With my apologies, as I have more or less by necessity omitted the things so foundational I couldn’t think of them.
- The rapid catch-up growth of China is the greatest business opportunity the world has ever seen.
- “Big data” and complex events processing is the future, and is a value-added business service.
- Processing power will grow inexorably.
- Batteries will also grow inexorably, but will remain the key limiting factor in miniaturized device manufacture.
- The price of bandwidth will continue to drop, though probably in fits and starts.
- Remotely hosted computing and storage (i.e., “the cloud) will realize increasingly greater economies of scale over either dispersed or distributed computing. Note that this belief and the one above it are not natural corollaries.
- The margins of hardware production in a given product area tend to converge towards those of commodity processors. Unless you are Apple.
- The margins of commodity producers and processors tend to converge towards zero.
- The offshoring of routine white-collar business processes to the Third World will continue for the foreseeable future.
- Creative work will forever remain immune to automation.
- There is a close-to-zero potential for major changes in status quo IP law for the foreseeable future.
- Global warming is very real, and a serious business concern.
- Financial regulation intended to prevent financial crises is pointless, as the financiers will always be one step ahead of the regulators.
- While the Eurozone crisis is a total mess, the constituent countries (except for Greece) will over the medium term be basically OK.
- Meaningfully intelligent machines have basically no chance of being created for the foreseeable future.
- Social media offers marketers the opportunity to unlock the secret to meaningfully influencing customers’ purchase behaviors.
Somewhere between one and all of these beliefs are completely misguided. If you can figure out which ones they are, you can have lots of money.
*: I don’t care what people pay politicians to say, don’t try to tell me that large insurance companies aren’t planning for climate change. I’ve been there – they are.