The tools necessary to build a massive Internet empire abound. Not only that but a bunch of other factors come together to make Tech the ideal industry for Startups and Entrepreneurs: ♦ Many tools for enterprise development are open-source (free) or dirt cheap, including ○ App APIs; ○ Various frameworks for rapid development of websites and software; and ○ Even design templates for apps, websites, and software. ♦ Other resources (like development partners) abound, especially when you are in or near “Tech Hubs”: ○ Silicon Valley; ○ Melbourne; ○ Boston; ○ Tel Aviv; ○ London; ○ Beijing; ○ Mumbai; ○ Or virtually any other major population center in the world. ♦ The thing about programing and computing is that it affects everything. Literally everything. Every business, every sector, every industry, every person. This is one of those moments similar to when Steam Power was first made practical, or when Electricity was first harnessed by Alessandro Volta – it’s an innovation that changes everything. As such, there are limitless opportunities for business development. ♦ The last huge advantage for enterprise we will present today is the low cost as compared to traditional businesses. This is obviously not consistent throughout every industry (automating your manufacturing plant will cost more than building a blogging website) but is still a valid point. An eCommerce website or app can go viral and reach a global market for a couple grand; it takes billions for a brick and mortar business to have the same market potential. So, now that we’ve made our argument that we are living in an Entrepreneurial Golden Age, why don’t we drill down on some specific areas of business our experts think will see the most growth in 2017 and beyond. We will be focusing on Platform-as-a-Service, Retail; and EdTech for New Collar Jobs. We won’t be talking about Alternate Realities or AI in any detail today; for more on VR/AR click here and for more on AI, read about Mark Zuckerberg’s Smart Home AI. Platform-as-a-Service More commonly referred to as PaaS, digital platforms are a long-standing internet business. eBay, Craigslist, Angie’s List, all of these are time-honored platforms that connect people to one another. Very basically, a PaaS system is nothing more than a way to connect one user to another. More complexly stated, a PaaS system is a dynamic service and platform for potentially millions of users. Despite its venerability (and yes, two to three decades in the world of the Internet is an exceptionally long time), PaaS is still a growing market with massive potential. Industry giants like eBay show no signs of slowing down, but the better evidence of this is the fact that relative newcomer Letgo is doing exceptionally well. Since its launch in 2015, Letgo has: • Had more than 45 million downloads; • More than 20 million Monthly Active Users; • Has had more than $20 billion sold on its platform – up from $25 million right after launch; • Has raised at least $325 million in investment since launch, including a recent $175 million investment; and • Is quickly approaching “unicorn” status, or a startup with a valuation of a billion dollars or more. eCommerce, mCommerce, and the Future of Retail Brick-and-mortar retail stores are unlikely to go away soon (or ever). First, there will always be people who have an immediate need – like picking up a missing ingredient for that night’s meal, or a replacement part for a broken piece of machinery. Second, many people love the social nature of shopping and will continue to enjoy actually shopping. But, that being said, all but the smallest and most local of retail stores still need an online presence. This can be as simple as a website, but should be much more robust, allowing users to shop, order, purchase and possibly have delivered products from your catalog . Look, Black Friday showed record sales for online retail outlets, with sites like Amazon raking in the dough, for a grand total of $91 billion, up 11% from 2015. Simultaneously, brick-and-mortar sales dropped by 10%, as compared to last year. Additionally, Adobe reported that there were almost 25 billion visits to online sites (including traditional retailers like Target or Walmart). The last big takeaway here is that Mobile was the clear winner for online retail sales, with not quite a third of all online sales conducted on a mobile platform (about $28 billion, an increase of 25% from 2015). Plus, 50% of all visits to online retail sites were from a Smartphone or Tablet. New Collar Jobs and the New EdTech Economy Like other innovative inventions, the age of computing requires new skills and new jobs. When Trains became the technology driving innovation, we needed trained Conductors; when the automobile was invented, the need for engineers skyrocketed. Now that computing is altering the world, we are in dire desperate need of Programmers and Coders. The need for “New Collar” jobs was recently discussed in detail by Ginny Rometty (CEO of IBM), who is investing a significant amount of IBM’s cash in filling 25,000 jobs in coding and programming. But the problem is that the US has been lax in teaching kids this necessary skill. New inventions, such as Kubo, are striving towards teaching kids how to code, and certain states are beginning to recognize that coding should be a core skill, like literacy or arithmetic. But the market is wide open and there is a huge need for an EdTech software program that teaches coding for all sorts. This includes adults – Coders are needed now, not in 10 years. IBM is even stating that many of their new hires won’t have a college background and may even be trained on job through IBM’s own educational infrastructure. Time to Get Started The world of tech can be one with many navigational hazards, but fortunately SDI has the map to success, gleaned from more than 5.000 projects in tech. Give us a call at 408.805.0495/408.621.8481 – or click to contact us!