Have we lost our edge? Have we become too complacent while hungry competitors eat our lunch? That's a question that has come up repeatedly over the past two decades.
Peter Cochrane of Silicon.com just posted
this commentary about the fate of our crown jewel of innovation, Silicon Valley, and how it reflects the state of U.S. competitiveness. Things are improving since the dot-com bust of a few years ago, but Cochrane worries whether we have the entrepreneurial spirit and competitive know-how to drive new technology innovations.
"In south and east Asia they are turning their attention fromoutsourcing and manufacturing to design, creativity and R&D, whilein the West there has been a significant decline," Cochrane observes. "...In the United States something like 60 per cent of all new start-upcompanies have to go abroad for half their workforce. More often thannot half their workforce is in south and east Asia and half in theUnited States."
Coincidentally, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman voices similar concerns in a book just released, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century
(summarized in ="top-sellers-books"="">the most recent edition of The New York Times Magazine
.) He says technology has turned Christopher Columbus on his head to make the world "flat" again. He cites Nandan Nilekani, CEO of Infosys, a major Indian-based systems integrator with a lot of U.S. business. "What happened over the last years is that there was a massive investment in technology, when hundreds of millions of dollars were invested in putting broadband connectivity around the world." In 2000, this converged with other developments, such as cheaper computers, e-mail, and the boom in remote development.
"Today, the most profound thing to me is the fact that a 14-year-old in Romania or Bangalore or the Soviet Union or Vietnam has all the information, all the tools, all the software easily available to apply knowledge however they want," Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape, is quoted as saying.The boom in broadband and networking also made Web services a reality. This is the world Web services and SOA is now shaping, and being shaped by. Web services and SOA have no borders, and are just as global as they are local. North Americantechnology professionals, entrepreneurs, and innovators are very adaptable, and will continueto drive much of the technology innovation we'll see in the future. Maybe in the not-so-distant future we'll even be fretting about IT projects going to start-ups in Iraq.