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Soundbyte 262: The Way It Is

2 October 2016

Would you like to live on Mars? With this week’s announcement by SpaceX that question got more relevance than ever. Sure, it still sounds like science fiction, but let’s face it: Elon Musk captures our imagination. Is it because he’s such an inspiring speaker? No, far from it. People listen because he has a track record of getting stuff done. SpaceX, Tesla, Solar City, all billion dollar ventures actively working on worthy causes. The SpaceX Interplanetary Transport System might be leaving for Mars in 2022 for real.

Personally, the idea of colonizing Mars only has an academic appeal to me. I would never consider going there. There will be many other adventurers eager to depart. Who would’ve expected another exploration-phase for humanity in our lifetimes? Although this time corporation-led, rather than driven by conquering nation-states. A new gold-rush is imminent (although I’m not sure whether there’s actual gold on Mars), you could say.

There are some parallels to the business we’re in. App stores have created a completely new economy based on a market that didn’t exist before Apple launched the iPhone. Almost 10 years in, we are just coming out pioneering phase. What that teaches us, is that improving the way things are is only one way to do business. Creating a completely new way, a new market (or world, for that matter) is another.

I’m not suggesting we as Luminis have the clout to create billion-dollar markets. But being able to recognize big things before they are big is just as valuable for organizations our size. It’s one of the reasons why Amdatu (with an all-new website!) and later CloudRTI (ditto!) arrived on the scene: embrace the cloud and innovate early. And that’s just one example.

We owe it to ourselves to not just improve the way things are, but to actively predict how things will be. This won’t happen by doing what you always do (because you’ll just get what you always got). What is the next big wave in software development? It’s okay to be wrong sometimes. That’s the nature of predictions. It’s also one of the reasons we actively participate in the various software development communities. Either by attending or speaking at conferences, or by writing blogs, articles, books and so on. Keeping a finger on the pulse of software development as a discipline helps us to ground our predictions.

By now, you probably expect me to identify the Next Big Thingtm in this Soundbyte. Sorry to disappoint, but that was not the point! My challenge to you is to identify trends around you and place them into our current framework of software development. Whether it’s coming from AI, Quantum Computing, or one of the many other promising (or at first sight not so promising) areas, the big new thing is there. We just need to see a way through.

Mars will always be a pipe dream, that’s just the way it is, right? Wrong. Maybe.

Time for music! For Bruce Hornsby, things are still the way they are. Sounds great though, here’s a cool live version of The Way It Is:

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