We all get so caught up on the mega-trends of technology that we sometimes miss the simple events that reminds us just how transforming IP is.
I had one such experience I want to share.
I came to the US in 1990 from India to go to grad school. In those days, AT&T used to charge me $2.65/min to call home. Communication was typically facilitated by having a network of expats who would carry home letters, gifts, and photographs! The Internet happened, at&t happened, and now I have literally free communication services to India. Great!
However, my parents lives were pretty much the same the past decade. They live in a humble home in a decent neighborhood and spend their retirement years with friends and family on a very modest pension.
And then, my Dad who is 68, learned about the Internet. He bought a computer, got broadband access, taught himself a variety of web programming languages, setup a family website, and finally setted on Flash programming. I absent mindedly encouraged him and assumed it was a passing fad. Boy, was I wrong!
The past year, my dad figured out that he could use his computer skills to rekindle his love for Math and Physics. He started building flash movies on a variety of basic physics concepts. He built simulators, arcade games, etc. He joined the flash developer's forum. He even helped a local (US) organization publish a car game for kids.
His work is beginning to get noticed in his community of interest. He's gotten emails complimenting his work from all over the world. Rafael, 75, a physics enthusiast and a mechanical engineer from Venezula wrote:
"I am a 75 year old retired mechanical engineer who uses Flash and Physics as a passtime. Have just come across your project and, believe me, I have spent some time observing the behaviour of the ball for different values of the elastic constants and find the whole very, very interesting. I sincerely congratulate you. I intend to keep playing with this because I am sure there is a lot to learn from it."
Recently, a midwestern company contacted him and gave him a contract programming job to build some physics simulations. He setup a paypal account and gets paid for having fun!
The truth just hit home: It is not all about companies attempting labor arbitrage or VCs demanding R&D centers in far flung places. It's not about jobs "moving"...
It is more about people all over the world empowered to express their creativity on a global scale and experience the Network. Broadband IP is just beginning.