This week’s Learnings from London takes us back a couple of years to an online talk from Benedict Evans, an analyst and former partner at Andreessen Horowitz, which fittingly looks at the impact of Covid on tech and at how it’s been the catalyst for explosive acceleration and experimentation.
Ben says that today everyone is connected. Technology is now global and Silicon Valley and the USA are no longer the epicentres of newness.
He shows how market trends accelerated in 2020, so that ecommerce has become essential, advertising is repriced and TV is unbundling. Lockdowns and travel restrictions forced experimentation and led to market resets.
We need to optimise the results of experimentation, Ben explains, describing how every time you get a new tool, you start by forcing the tool to fit the old way of working, then over time you change to fit the tool, creating a new normal.
Looking forward, Ben describes how that new normal may look across the technology sector, pointing to a graph of global smartphone usage worldwide, indicating how the USA (previously the country with the greatest smartphone usage) can now be grouped within a “rest of the world” column and compared to, and overshadowed by, China, (closely followed by India). “This is a useful way of thinking about what the internet looks like in the next few years,” Ben says, “you can’t just presume cool stuff comes from Silicon Valley anymore. Everyone is going to be creating companies and products everywhere.”