Online Business is Stable … for now

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Man relaxing on a tropical beach with a bottle of beer in his hand.

Man relaxing on a tropical beach with a bottle of beer in his hand.

In my experience, and from my very small corner of the Internet, it seems that the Internet is taking a breath. Not a sweaty hands-on-knees-gasping-for-breath-while-a-personal-trainer-yells-10-more kind of breath. But, a feet-up, crack-a-beer-and-admire-your-handiwork type of breath. The Internet has been evolving at an intense rate since its’ inception. Connecting the whole planet isn’t a small feat and inventing a wheel takes a lot of iterations and experiments.

Programming languages have been constantly evolving and new languages and frameworks emerging as we’ve found better ways to code.

Google’s search engine changed the way we market on and offline. The rules have been in constant flux as Google locked down loopholes exploited by marketers while maintaining intuitive/lucrative search results.

And, digital design has been searching for better ways to display and navigate information. It is constantly adapting to new screens and navigation styles – keyboard, mouse, stylus, touch.

But, there seems to be an eerie lull at the moment. I’m not suggesting for a second that progress has stopped or stalled. Progress continues to march on, but in the day-to-day world of business online, there is finally some stability.

We are now on the 6th generation of smartphones. Screen sizes haven’t changed much in the last 5 years. Digital design has matured and we are not redesigning the wheel each time. We are familiar with the delivery platforms and getting good at making interfaces that cater for all screen sizes and navigation methods.

Online marketing has reached a point where the use of keywords is common knowledge and there is a depth of understanding around social marketing that has made it an essential part of the marketing mix – especially for traditional platforms like television.

Programming languages used on the web like HTML5, CSS3, javascript, PHP, ASP and Python along with frameworks like Laravel and Symfony and platforms like SquareSpace, WordPress, Shopify, Quotient and SalesForce make it very easy and affordable to operate a sophisticated online business with low to medium knowledge and cost.

You can adopt any of these elements and feel relatively safe that it will still be around in a few years. They have some history, a huge user-base and are not the first tentative steps in creating a solution to a problem. They are the end result of years of iteration and development.

Software and the Internet have merged. Businesses like AirBnB and Uber use powerful web software to operate internationally on an extremely local level. This could only be achieved with a combination of the web and the hardware in today’s phones.

The Internet is now in its mid 20’s. It’s not a wild teenager anymore. It has more or less settled on a hairstyle and half decent fashion sense. It has a job, owns a car and no longer has a coffee table made from a door and few milk crates. Life has stabilised.

There is more stability in online technologies than ever before. However, while we’ve all been enjoying the convenience of a stable and less chaotic Internet with lots of shiny new apps, the hackers have been hard at work. Security is the next significant hurdle we will see on the Internet.

Unlike design innovations, it won’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy. It will probably just be an inconvenience, but it will be necessary if you want to operate online.

Enjoy the rest. I’m sure it won’t last long.

P.S. Google Blockchain

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