I was recently reading an article in Fortune magazine about Steve Jobs and came across an interesting story about Henry Ford. He apparently said something like 'if I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me they wanted a faster horse.' In other words, we tend to think in the confines of what is in our world. So what if we were to eliminate the limitations of our technology?
Here is what I've been contemplating lately:
- Why are silicon wafers still round? I mean, I know why they are round, but why can't we change that? There is a lot of waste when producing computer chips. Look at all the wasted space on solar panels. Couldn't all sorts of waste and inefficiency be eliminated with square shaped wafers?
- Why are the pathways on computer chips linear and with 90 degree angles? Do straight lines always use space more efficiently than curved lines? Maybe they do, I don't know.
- Why can't I carry extra processing power in my pocket, to be plugged into my computer when I am doing processor intensive computing? If I can buy an Intel processor for under $75, why can't someone put that in a pocket size 'drive' and add some software to make this new external unit into auxiliary processing power? I sometimes do such intense Excel work that my entire computer freezes for 5+ minutes while Excel commands 100% of my processing power. Sure would be nice to plug something in to give my laptop a little bit of help.
- Speaking of utilizing computer processors, lets talk about all the other gadgets I own that run on a processor. Wouldn't it be great if I could 'lend' the processing power of my Blackberry, Playstation or your iPhone to help my desktop do some work? I mean, all those devices have powerful computer chips just sitting in them, unused most of the time. Lets put them to work!
- And finally, why isn't every TV also a computer monitor and every computer monitor a TV? I mean really, they are the same thing. And for that matter, why doesn't every set top box plug right into my home internet network? Is there any reason that my cell phone can connect to the internet but my cable box cannot?
So, who is gonna go out there and solve these problems? and don't bother leaving comments as to why all these things are the way they are, I really don't care. Let's start innovating and doing things differently.