GoPro \ hardware -> Software \ Tech Eating World

While performing a search in Google for GoPro coupon codes, I found a number of websites that seemed to be competing for the real estate over this competitive search term. And this got me thinking about the famous statement from Marc Andreesen, that “software is eating the world.”

As the founder of Netscape Navigator, the first consumer-friendly web browser, Andreeson is indeed friendly with many of the motifs within technology. And while I can’t yet say for sure whether tech is eating the world, or even that I understand what that means, I do have a few observations from my time working in consumer electronics that I would like to share with you.

Hardware becomes software:

Let’s take a look at GoPro Cameras. While GoPro has the feel of being an established brand, it is in fact very much a newcomer to the world of consumer electronics. Founded by Nick Woodson in 2002, GoPro is basically credited with being the first action camera company.

And while they are a category leader right not, every day that they aren’t growing is a day that they face obscelence.

If you break down the evolution of action cams, what you’ll see is that we are somewhere midway along the process of hardware becoming softare. Thanks to Moore’s law, this is what hardware does. It shrinks and shrinks and shrinks until bolts become bits and you can fit in your pocket.

Eventually the features that we now think of an action cam as having will simply be features that are offered by our phone. This evolution is analogous to the change that happened from cameras as they evolved from being freestanding pieces of hardware to becoming a lense and a software program that is a part of our phone.

Unless GoPro continues to adapt and evolve, it will find that it’s category has disappeared altogether.

Great technology doesn’t come at a discount

If you want great technology, you need to be prepared to pay upfront for it. It doesn’t come cheap. In fact, if you aren’t willing to shell out a great amount of money upfront, you may find that you never get the technology at all.

While tech startups make use of the scaling potential that exists in bits and bytes, they often make the mistake of trying to compete on price from the very beginning of their existence. While the right startup can revolutionize a supply chain enough to bring a better, cheaper product to market, this is exceedingly rare. As Paul Graham, the founder of Y-combinator has been known to savy- great technology doesn’t come with coupon codes.

If you are buying a new consumer electronics product, you can search high and low in order to find the right deal, but the reality is that promotions are often short-lived, especially in the internet area. You can check major online retailers everyday, perhaps even subscribe to their shopping feeds, but you’ll soon become acquainted with the here today, gone tomorrow nature of the internet.

Instead of chasing promo codes on sites like Amazon and Ebay, it might be smarter to ask a different question. Instead of asking yourself, “How can I get the cheapest product?”, you might try asking yourself, “Do I even need this product in the first place, or can I find a way to hack my current hardware stack in order to achieve the desired effect?”

The only constant is change

No matter in payments, action cameras, or a different vertical altogether, the reality of this day and age is that the only constant is change. The only thing we can expect is constant disruption. And while this can be a frightening thing, it is also extremely liberating. We are in a time when no possibility should be discounted, and everything should be expected. The world is changing, and changing fast, and the best thing we can do is learn to adapt to it to the best of our abilities. Even if it is an uncomfortable thing to do. Even if it is a scary thing to do. And while we might be seeing the end of the current tech bubble, we are surely posed for a big future in which bolts become bits, hardware becomes software, and our lives become just a little bit easier.