"Why Software Is Eating The World" -- Reflections 10 Years Later

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

Ten years ago, Marc Andreessen took the world by storm when his groundbreaking essay was published by the Wall Street Journal. It's title? Why software is eating the world.


Not only did the venture capitalist and tech entrepreneur identify today's reality, but he was also right to point out that "more and more major businesses" must use software to survive in the modern century.


In order to be competitive in today's global market and in the future, businesses need to use software to create fortified, profitable moats.


Digital transformation is everything.


Since the article's publication, software's importance has only ever grown. The usual suspects, the FAANGs + Tesla now, demonstrate software is a real force multiplier.


Businesses live and die by the customer experience and clunkiness of internal processes. Software helps to mitigate these systemic risks.


Yet, even though conventional wisdom suggests businesses should be digitally transforming as fast as humanly possible, some businesses remain apathetic or skeptics.


Or worse, people believe sayings that sound appealing but are dead wrong.

Graph from PwC: Future of Customer Experience Survey in 2017/18


Here are two common myths.

Myth #1: If a rival business has a weak or null presence, then don't worry about it.

Myth #1 is inherently reactive, reductive, and the lazy way of doing things. Why wait for another business or person to corner the digital market in your field? Waiting doesn't make sense.


Not only does apathy cede a first-mover advantage, but refusing to do so, also, runs contrary to what business should value -- an integrated customer experience.


Healthy customer relations are the backbone of successful businesses. Showing customers that you have thought about them is another way of demonstrating value. And, likely, will lead to repeat business.


Myth #2: Content creation is expensive, fills the internet with junk, and intangible.

Myth #2 is that content creation is simply not worth it. Understandably, this is partly correct. Sure, digital content mills, the modern day equivalent to digital sweatshops, can spread your message and brand -- but at what cost?


Generally, content that is "cheap" to produce will be error-riddled or poorly constructed. Not to mention that the supposed SEO expert will have high turnover, so the voice associated with these messages would change many times. This will reflect poorly on your brand.


Consider instead hiring top-tier talent. This should be evident to many, but high-quality content is a crucial ingredient to increased profit margins that offset additional costs.


Look at the New York Times, The New Yorker, or Bloomberg News as examples of places that value all forms of media -- and they pay top flight rates!


Here's a closing thought...


Let's not kid ourselves. Digital transformation is not a silver bullet. But it is more than a fancy phrase. Businesses need customers and customers mean profit.


Showing that you care about the customer experience and are willing to spend more money to demonstrate how much your brand values its audience, will lead to repeat business.


So what else are you waiting for?


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