In conversation with Khan Academy founder and amateur baritone, Sal Khan, Google chairman Eric Schmidt predicted how technology will change whole industries over the next 10 years. The path to tech riches, he predicts, will be startups that use existing online tools to unseat incumbents.
For example, Uber (which Google invests in) utilized Google maps to pinpoint car drivers. Khan Academy, another Google-funded organization, got its start putting up YouTube lessons online for free.
“I have consistently, in my career, underestimated the scale of the disruption and the scale of the positive impact of the use of software to redo systems,” he argued. “We’re at a point now where the combinatorial innovation, the ability to mix and match things together, is going to produce a very large number of new things that are very useful that other people will fight about.”
In other words, unlike Facebook, which built out an entirely new platform, the next big company, like Uber and Khan Academy, may simply build off other free products.
Additionally, the coauthor of Schmidt’s book and former Google SVP, Jonathan Rosenberg, predicted that the sharing economy was going to take off, since “every other person in the world can now reach every other person in the world.”
There’s an enormous amount of underutilized resources in society. “Everyone knows what everyone else has, and it becomes very seamless to buy and sell,” he concluded.
Certainly two of the fastest growing companies in tech, Uber and Airbnb, have taken full advantage of these resources. And Airbnb was partly based on free mapping tools.
The whole conversation between Rosenberg, Schmidt and Khan is great. Readers can watch it below: