Perry Mulligan at 9th Annual Craig-Hallum Alpha Select Conference

The Internet is Boring

The internet is boring, and dumb, too. It's great that you can buy stuff at 3 AM in your pajamas, but there's just a lot lacking from the internet experience as we know it today.

Lack of Mobility. I've got a high speed connection at home and at work. But if I try to use my cell phone to bring up a web page it just about takes forever, I can't count on the connection to be there, and of course the page is cropped so much there's no way to get the information you're looking for without repeated button presses and scrolling up and down on the tiny screen. Laptops are supposedly mobile computing solutions but you can't look at them while you're walking around, they're kind of heavy to carry and you can't see a damn thing on them if it's a sunny day.

Lack of Personalization. Apart from Amazon recommending books that I might like based on my prior purchases, the internet doesn't know anything about me. It doesn't know what I'm interested in, what my plans are, where I am at the moment, what I'm looking at, or who I'm talking to. It's just not there. There's countless computers processing hundreds of millions of transactions and serving up billions of web pages but there's no real intelligence to it insofar as what we're really about as individual people.

Lack of Automation. Even repetitive things like checking the same stock every weekday morning still requires me to pull out the laptop and hit a bunch of buttons, and point, and click just to bring up the exact same information I wanted at the exact same time the day before. Now, I'm not so lazy as to be unable to pull out a laptop and bring up a web page, but the whole mode of operation just seems wrong. The onus is on me to access the information I need, rather than on the internet to deliver it to me.

Lack of Community. Apart from people who meet their future wives or husbands playing Everquest for 80 hours a week, the internet offers few means by which to collaborate with people or to keep in touch with folks who are geographically dispersed. Sure, I get emails from my friends in other parts of the country but geography and physical presence still are limiting factors for friendships -- even with all the computing power the world has to offer, there's still no substitute for 'being there'. Similarly, even with outsourcing of jobs to Asia, there's still the expectation that physical presence in an office is required for employment, despite the fact that 90% of contemporary office work can be accomplished by pushing emails and files back and forth among people.

Don't get me wrong. I really like the internet quite a bit. It's pretty useful and it's given me the ability to reach tens of thousands of people through this Microvision shareholder blog. Which is a pretty cool thing. The point of all this is that the internet as we know it today is still in it's earliest stages. It's proven itself to be a valuable tool but it's limitations are obvious. As computing power increases and bandwidth widens, it will become possible to deliver internet based solutions to all the problems I describe above and then some. A big part of the delivery of new internet capabilities will be wearable computing and augmented reality systems, which are best suited to Microvision's scanned beam displays for reasons that I've expounded upon in prior posts on this blog (just a couple, right?).

We won't be bored by the internet for long. Everything we can imagine will be done eventually. It takes patience and steadiness to wait and watch these types of ideas come to fruition...