The Relentless Advance

Moore’s law, prediction made by American engineer Gordon Moore in 1965 that the number of transistors per silicon chip doubles every year.

Moore’s Law is often quoted that computing power doubles every year, this is not quite accurate.

But it does highlight something that we, working in the startup world, need to consider. Technology advances. The latest doohickey may cost the same as last years doohickey, but the device will be more capable, more powerful. In this way the market is maintained. Margins are maintained.

A decade ago, I was looking at LIDAR systems. This was because augmented reality systems were starting to become interesting.

Lidar (/ ˈ l aɪ d ɑːr /, called LIDAR, LiDAR, and LADAR) is a surveying method that measures distance to a target by illuminating the target with laser light and measuring the reflected light with a sensor. Differences in laser return times and wavelengths can then be used to make digital 3-D representations of the target.

LIDAR systems were £10,000 a set. When the TESLA cars came out, they had cheaper LIDAR systems built in. This was a much cheaper unit, time and the scale of the manufacturing meant it was possible. Now, today, we see it being brought to a consumer mobile device and, come the autumn, into a phone. This will be an additional hardware feature, effectively for “free”.

This is repeated again and again – with DVD-RW devices, with 3D printers.

To figure out what to build, look at the technology that is currently too expensive for the average punter and project it forward a decade. Maybe it will be in your pocket.

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