Yogesh Chauhan's Blog

Is Software Really Eating The World? I don’t think so

in Miscellaneous on April 22, 2019

These are my own views regarding article published in WSJ years ago

What does the author mean by software is eating the world?

I think it’s just his opinion based on recent events he observed years ago. If we consider this decade of 2020-2030, I completely agree that we need more software in almost all the type of work, and we are going to need more moving forward. It has become an essential part of human society now. I mean if we think about our routine then we might realize that we just cannot live without software help now. We cannot wake up ON TIME without an alarm set. If we want to get few minutes of more sleep, we need to click on the snooze button (software needed). Also, after waking up, I am pretty sure we check our mobiles immediately — if not the first thing after waking up. From that moment till we go to bed we are so attached to our mobiles and many giant companies know that very well and they are going to take advantage of it.

Do I agree with him?

Partially I agree with the phrase that “software is eating the world” but not completely as it’s just his opinion. I agree that more and more companies are moving their businesses online. Business costs dramatically decreases when you decide to start any online company. You won’t have cost for many things, and you’ll have a vast market for sure. Just take a look at Alibaba and how they became the giant in global economy. Also, our own beloved Amazon who inspired the whole online e-commerce business. But it doesn’t mean the software is eating the world. I mean if we go back before 20 years, we had different kinds of tools. We didn’t have smart software devices but we, as humans, always relied on something to get out work done. With the software now, it has become even easier to do our daily tasks so more and more people re accepting it as a standard of living.

Amazon as a “software company”

Amazon pioneered the online business, the eCommerce. They started with the books and the idea was a bit risky and weird in those times because we, most of us, as humans, do not go in the direction of unknown path and do not think about taking any risks. So, they did start and got an amazing response and years went by and they started selling eventually everything online. They didn’t stop there. They made their books online – ready to read in seconds using kindle. They are trying to take over the cell phone and tv market since many years but not succeeding until this point but it’s Amazon and they won’t give up. Apart from that, their biggest revenue generator nowadays is AWS-Amazon Web Services, which makes a huge money for them and its industry leader in the cloud business now. 

Apple as a “software company”

Apple started with computers and became the pioneered in world class Laptop, Cell Phone and tablet design. They hugely invest in their designs but at the same time they invest in the OS as well. Apple has iTunes that has billions of songs and it’s digital. Not only Apple’s iTunes but so many others like Pandora, Spotify, YouTube Music and they have changed the face of music. 
Not only the face of music but the “fate” of CDs and DVDs have been diminished first a little bit by YouTube and then completely by Netflix.

The article was written several years ago. Is software still eating the world?

The author wrote the article few years back and his predictions are somewhat relevant (and that’s why we call them predictions!). But I feel like his views are a bit excessive when he talks about software eating the world. Authors write down these kinds of title because they want to make people read. 

I feel software are making the world a better place. I really think the title is misleading. We need the software to the extent because those tasks are not possible with human hands or minds and we still want to make that happen—make that work and that’s why we need the software. Almost everywhere. 


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