That’s the argument put forth recently in the Economist. Technological innovation is lowering the barriers to creating new devices, appliances and busnesses. And, they argue, this is not just another dot.com bubble:
Today’s entrepreneurial boom is based on more solid foundations than the 1990s internet bubble, which makes it more likely to continue for the foreseeable future. One explanation for the Cambrian explosion [of biological organisms] of 540m years ago is that at that time the basic building blocks of life had just been perfected, allowing more complex organisms to be assembled more rapidly. Similarly, the basic building blocks for digital services and products—the “technologies of startup production”, in the words of Josh Lerner of Harvard Business School—have become so evolved, cheap and ubiquitous that they can be easily combined and recombined. . . .
. . . .Economic and social shifts have provided added momentum for startups. The prolonged economic crisis that began in 2008 has caused many millennials—people born since the early 1980s—to abandon hope of finding a conventional job, so it makes sense for them to strike out on their own or join a startup.
A lot of millennials are not particularly keen on getting a “real” job anyway. According to a recent survey of 12,000 people aged between 18 and 30 in 27 countries, more than two-thirds see opportunities in becoming an entrepreneur. That signals a cultural shift. “Young people see how entrepreneurship is doing great things in other places and want to give it a try,” notes Jonathan Ortmans of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which organises an annual Global Entrepreneurship Week.
Time will tell if this is truly a sustainable surge or just another bubble. But, as usual, the Economist has done an admirable job of looking at this technological change and what it might mean. The full report can be found here.