Sunday, November 22, 2009

What is the UberApp? Where is the UberApp?

My father became involved with applying the new magnificence and speed of the silicon chip back in 1977 - I was 14. I remember gazing into the distance one afternoon back then and realizing, "I get it". I understood his passion for the thing; I had gleaned a 'Rumsfeldian slice' of the potential of microprocessing. A few years later I took a computer course in high school - the first of it's kind - where we wrote a sequence of 'goto' commands on a Apple ll PC. When you selected a 'y' or 'n' the program we'd written would select the appropriate tine in a fork and 'goto' the correct line in the program, then the computer would flash up the 'right' answer in ugly green letters.

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I was not impressed and picked up a guitar instead. I thought the internet was an unfriendly niche for geeks that had different minds than mine. I always kept up with the progress of the thing though, the PC, the internet; but I felt I had no way 'in'. In 2000 I became aware of the Google search engine and I thought, "brilliant, this is it!", but still, I had no way 'in'. In 2003 a fiend showed me and I was off to the races - I had a quarter century of catching up to do.

The evolution of social networking technology, especially Twitter have gotten me considering an idea that's been simmering in the back of my mind ever since that Rumsfeldian epiphany back in 1977. I've tried to express the coming sudden intuitive leap of understanding I'm looking for in pieces I've written here related to Tim O'Reilly's 'Web 2.0' idea. I've compared it to the industrial revolution: the steam engine was the silicone chip of its day - the vista operating system may be compared to the Ford Edsel some day 8-). (Hey! That's Groucho! (-that's not a period - it's a cigar!)).


The Ford Edsel, the Microsoft Vista of it's day. Looked really sharp but never ran properly, cost it's owners buckets of money to keep on the road.

We've come a long way and much more quickly than the industrial revolution moved forward a century ago; and although we have gotten to the 'gas turbine engine' in micro processing speed, the F-22 of applications still eludes us.

That intuition I have - that thing that is so-close-you-could-touch-it, the F-22 of applications - has a name I needed to help me think about it. My possible neologism:


Today a method came to me to recognize it - distinguish it in the gale of new applications we are inventing, and the swirl of new ways we are applying them.

It's simply a series of questions I ask when I comes across an ingenious new application; or someone's ingenious new way of using one, or several applications in combination (which happens about 20 times a day on Twitter):

  • What is the uber-app?
  • Can we see it now?
  • Can we simply gather the elements of it together - and by placing them in the proper order - create it?

If not, how can we find it?

  • What do we think it will it look like?
  • What will it do?
  • What do we want it to do?
  • What do we need it to do - right now?
  • What are our dreams of it?

Now, back on my Twitterboard to try it out... .


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