What “Software is Eating The World” Means

Why Tech Talent Is the Key to Innovation in Today’s Economy

Marc Andreeson, creator of the first browser, founder of Netscape and now partner of Andreeson Horowitz is famous for saying “software is eating the world” in a Wall St. Journal article and just about everywhere else he can. His point is that almost every sector of the economy is adopting a software layer. From cars, which hold up to 100 microchips and software to run them, to manufacturing to such seemingly non-tech activities as running.

What used to require elbow grease and years of experience now requires technical know how and some sense of how software works. Mechanics work with diagnostics, in fact the performance of a Tesla is often dramatically changed by a software upgrade. And the reason we do all this “software infusion” is simple – data about past, current and projected performance allows better control and even design, and that in turn makes for better performance.

Data, Software and Talent

Starting in the late 1980’s, businesses and increasingly consumers are seeing their products and services increasingly use data to run more efficiently. Designers in turn use this data to create better products, and a virtuous cycle emerges where data is at the center of  every aspect of the economy. And software of all different kinds is used to make that data into useful information, into insights that lead to action, and to improvements that lead to better performance and overall a better experience.

This is all happening very quickly, in part because software is so cheap to scale – new digital copies of software don’t need to be ‘built,’ they’re just installed, often instantaneously. As a result, whole industries can adopt new technology in a few short years. This is what happened in the early 1990’s with a kind of software called “ERP” – this is the SAP, Oracle, and PeopeSoft changeovers everyone remembers so…fondly.

And because it’s happening quickly, what were once sleepy IT departments have become mission critical units of every division, ever more hungry for qualified staff to run their servers, software and services. Indeed for many companies, data and the software that manages it, have gone from being cost-drivers, to core competitive differentiators. Software matters in a way it didn’t used to.

Stamford Technology Week

Economies like Connecticut suffer when we don’t attract, develop and retain talent. Part of that we’re doing already. Yale, UConn, Sacred Heart, Fairfield University all boast strong and growing engineering, digital media, and tech-enabled management programs. However, post-graduation there needs to be a community of like-minded techies that makes these engineers, designers feel like they belong. It is events like the Stamford Hackathon, GameJam, CTC’s Skills Challenge, and Stamford Startup Weekend that help with this.

In a month, we’ll host the first Stamford Technology Week. A series of six events created by the Stamford Innovation Center, UConn and the Ferguson Library, this is our first stake in the ground as a major technology center. Connecticut has a great deal of talent, and we’re looking to support this talent with fun, engaging and educational events that build capability, empower networking and make our community truly world class. These events are:

Sept. 14th: Northeast Smart Cities Summit

Sept. 15-16th: Northeast JavaScript Conference

Sept. 16th: UConn’s Xcite: Women in Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Sept. 16-18th: Stamford Hackathon

Sept. 17th: Ferguson Library’s MakeFest

Sept. 18th: Stamford STEM Teams Hackathon

Learn more at Stamford Technology Week’s Website, or call us at the Stamford Innovation Center to learn more: (203) 226-8701

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