The Law of Accelerating Returns and the Software Industry

My passion for all things related to computers and what is now considered “social media” started in 1985, where the best possible hard drive was limited to >~25 MB, and the best speed to connect online was 300 baud. Bulletin boards (BBS) offered the best chance at gaining access to other people through the use of computers with internal messaging and games. I find it fascinating that, over 25 years later, I can do all of this (and so much more) with just one device–my phone.

The world of online interaction is changing quickly, with the addition of mobile devices, cloud services and elastic infrastructures. For years, the standard of Moore’s Law (which describes the trend where the number of transistors on an integrated circuit doubles roughly every two years) served as a baseline for how quickly technology advances and was the de facto reference point for anyone in the technology business. In 2001, Ray Kurzweil authored the essay, “The Law of Accelerating Returns” in which he took Moore’s Law, greatly expanded it and applied his revision to all technologies beyond just computer hardware–advances in computer storage (RAM, magnetic storage), communications (Internet backbone bandwidth, ISP cost-performance, data transmission speeds), and miniaturization (decrease in transistor, computer size and mechanical devices). This new vision, in my opinion, has supplanted Moore’s Law as the standard by which the IT industry gauges advances in technology.

What’s interesting is that the software industry has adjusted itself to follow Kurzweil’s vision as well. For example, since I started with SmarterTools two years ago, our products continue to evolve and include features that fall in line with the accelerated change to the world around us. In my time, I’ve seen SmarterMail 4.x being the standard, and releases of SmarterMail versions 5.x through 8.x have expanded along with the industry to make better features like over-the-air sync with many mobile devices and tablets like the iPad. And I have no doubt more will come as the industry integrates newer and faster hardware and accepts more communication standards like 4G networks and high-speed Internet.

Future technology continues to open up many new avenues for the online experience and the future looks more exciting every day. At SmarterTools, we welcome the changes and are working hard to keep our products in line with the changes occurring every day. It’s a fascinating time to be involved with technology, either from the development side or from the consumer side.

This post was written by Mark B., a sales and technical support representative for SmarterTools. If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to the SmarterTools Blog so you don’t miss an update.

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