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Two leaders in the field of technological applications and business productivity present dramatic evidence for the emergence of a new model for economic innovation, which they call “exponential technology,” and warn that “every industry is now at risk” and must learn how to negotiate the new landscape.
Corporate strategy consultant Downes (co-author: Unleashing the Killer App: Digital Strategies for Market Dominance, 1998) and Nunes (co-author: Jumping the S-Curve: How to Beat the Growth Cycle, Get on Top and Stay There, 2011, etc.), the global managing director of research at the Accenture Institute for High Performance, call their model “the shark fin” due to its ominously familiar shape: a quick vertical launch followed almost immediately by rapid collapse. The world's billion-plus users of smartphone technology form a customer base that has permitted rapid reduction of the costs of implementing new technologies. The authors review Google's free mapping app, which rendered stand-alone GPS technologies obsolete, just as the GPS devices had buried traditional mapmakers like Rand McNally. Downes and Nunes also discuss how Amazon has further transformed publishing and bookselling with each new iteration of the Kindle e-reader. The authors include traditional industries, as well, from automobile and pharmaceuticals to glassmaking and pinball machines. Combined with their treatment of the effects of Moore's Law (regarding the doubling rate of semiconductor power and the reduction of unit price) and Metcalfe's Law (regarding the value of networked goods), their argument becomes extremely appealing. The cumulative effects of both laws extend down the supply chain, dramatically cheapening costs and increasing returns to scale. “As exponential technologies and the disruptors they spawn remake your industry in ever-shorter cycles of creative disruption,” they conclude, “the most valuable asset you can have is speed.”
With informative graphics, the authors deliver a groundbreaking outline for dealing with the inevitable increase in business disruptions caused by new technology.