Nick Carr's Big Switch

Nick Carr's Big Switch

Summary: Nicholas Carr, amongst the most incisive and profound critic of information technology, will be in Silicon Valley tonight (7.00 pm), at Campbell's Barnes and Noble bookstore in conversation with ZDNet honcho Dan Farber, Edgeio co-founder/CEO Keith Teare, and Gillmor Gang ringleader & Podtech exec Steve Gillmor, and me.

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TOPICS: Hardware
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Nicholas Carr, amongst the most incisive and profound critic of information technology, will be in Silicon Valley tonight (7.00 pm), at Campbell's Barnes and Noble bookstore in conversation with ZDNet honcho Dan Farber, Edgeio co-founder/CEO Keith Teare, and Gillmor Gang ringleader & Podtech exec Steve Gillmor, and me. While the event is ostensibly to discuss my dastardly/bastardly Cult of the Amateur (a term Nick himself coined), I would rather do the big switch myself and talk about Nick's forthcoming new book, The Big Switch (to be published by Norton). Here's Nick on his sweeping new tome:

A hundred years ago, businesses began dismantling their waterwheels, steam engines, and generators. After producing their own mechanical power for centuries, they suddenly had an alternative. They could plug into the newly built electric grid and get all the electricity they needed from central stations. The cheap power pumped out by electric utilities didn't just transform how businesses operate. It set off a chain reaction of economic, social, and cultural changes that brought the modern world into existence.

Today, a new technological revolution is under way, and it's following a similar course. Companies are beginning to dismantle their private computer systems and tap into rich services delivered over the Internet. This time, it’s computing that’s turning into a utility. The shift is already remaking the computer industry, bringing new competitors like Google and Salesforce.com to the fore and threatening stalwarts like Microsoft, SAP, and Dell. But the effects will reach much further. Cheap, utility-supplied computing will ultimately change society as profoundly as cheap electricity did.

Wow! I have a strong suspicion that The Big Switch is going to be as profoundly surprisingly as Does IT Matter, the controversial book that originally made Carr's name as an information technology guru and sceptic. Rather than talk about the inanity of Web 2.0's blogs, splogs and flogs, tonight, I hope we'll also get a chance to talk about the profound social ramifications of cheap, utility-supplied computing. I think Nick is right. We really are on the verge of a new industrial revolution. Unlike Silicon Valley's much hyped user-generation content revolution, Nick Carr's big switch is for real. I can't wait to hear more about it tonight.

Topic: Hardware

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5 comments
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  • Nick Carr is a fraud

    Nick Carr has no morals. He says whatever will create some kind of controversy or buzz so that he can be relevant.
    zzz1234567890
  • Public transportation is available, however I dont see companies discarding

    "Companies are beginning to dismantle their private computer systems and tap into rich services delivered over the Internet. This time, it?s computing that?s turning into a utility. The shift is already remaking the computer industry, bringing new competitors like Google and Salesforce.com to the fore and threatening stalwarts like Microsoft, SAP, and Dell."


    Not necessarily. Public transportation is available, however I dont see companies discarding their fleet of vehicles to use the public transportation.
    Sure some applications makes more sense to be hosted eg SAP. However to use Google Docs as a replacement for Word processing application, probably not, however it might supplement. e.g. even now a lot of software is purchased in stores on CD's. Software updates are available over the net. Also there are plenty of software sold over the net (download software or CD mailed to you).
    BrutalTruth
  • The power grid is now antiquated

    Companies would like to get off of the grid - and some have done it to protect their businesses from disasters, blackouts and the like. This is evolving into a hybrid approach - use the grid and private power in a flexible way.

    Reality is that businesses won't get TO the SaaS unless they can be sure that they can get their data if the Net goes down. Some futurist...
    devils_advocate
  • Your book

    I enjoyed your book, particulalry your comments about YouTube. However, your attack on Wikipedia was misguided. I would call myself an amateur expert on 60s to 80s pop/rock music and find the entries in Wikipedia to be accurate.
    The real complaint against the chattering class having their own self-written encyclopedia is that it is so badly written, with a dizzy array of writing styles and, at times, appalling grammar. Wikipedia has fact checkers - Web 2.0 supplies them for free.
    What it needs is some paid sub-editors.
    Leemelon
  • Someone discovered long ago that

    if you give the people what they want, they will pay to see it.

    Even if it was all made up.

    The book that would be wort reading: [i]Does Nick Carr Matter?[/i] (I coined that one myself!)
    John Zern