There's More Than Moore's Law

09 Apr 2003|Darrel Rhea

The best thing that could happen to Silicon Valley technology is for Moore’s Law to fail. Predictably, every year there is a spat of articles on the demise of Moore’s Law (observation by Intel co-founder, Gordon E. Moore, that the number of transistors on a silicon chip would double annually). This law has defined the business strategy of much of Silicon Valley for decades. My humble opinion is that computing technology is now outstripping the ability of businesses to design products that leverage the capabilities of that power. Sure, we’re getting the benefits of bandwidth and speed and there have been some solid advances, but on the whole, computers aren’t offering a compelling experience for the masses. For most consumers, tech products generate as much frustration and inconvenience as they do delight.

My hope is that we do reach the limits of Moore’s Law. If the Valley would stop focusing on transistors and start focusing on how to improve people’s lives with technology, we could have a renaissance that would revitalize the industry. The key concept here is designing products from the outside-in, rather than the inside out. (Designing for people rather than transistor design.) This will require a major cultural change at technology companies, and many won’t be able to adapt. That means new opportunities for consumer-oriented players to step in. What if P&G decided to move it’s headquarters to the Valley and declared its future growth would come from applied technology for the masses? We could see a Darwinian power-shift that would favor the world’s best marketers and product developers over the world’s best engineers.

prev next