Saturday, August 23, 2008

My Internet Law

The time and money required to produce (design, develop, secure, test, launch, scale) a typical data-oriented form application on the web drops in half every 2 years.

This seems to have held true since the public emergence of the web in 1994. Do you agree? I don't have much hard data, but McCain proposes new internet laws with far less.
For example, I recall the large systems integration firms charging as much as $20 mlllion to completely outsource development of a web application. (I forget the name but I recall a DFJ-backed pay-me-to-advertise-to-me startup that spent as much in 1996 with someone like Perot Systems and the app still never worked.) Is there any doubt that most apps today can be launched with as much scalability for $300,000? The implied factor of improved efficiency is 0.5 to the sixth power over a 12 year period.

Cheaper hardware (Moore's Law) accounts for only a small fraction of this effect. The real gains seem to come from decoupling and automating specific steps of the process. Major disruptions that come to mind: Microsoft FrontPage, SSL, Exodus hosting, Apache, Java, ActiveX, Javascript, Shockwave, Flash, load balancers, PHP,  XML, Ruby on Rails, web service APIs, AJAX, Amazon S3, DIY communities (Ning).

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