Brad Feld

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Exponential Cost Curves and the Datacenter

Mar 08, 2005
Category Technology

Everyone knows that exponential curves don’t last forever.  However, it’s remarkable to look at how they apply to specific cost curves – especially when they enable a radical transformation of how technology is used and deployed.  My partner Ryan McIntyre – one of the co-founders of Excite – talks extensively about this in his post Mr. Moore in the Datacenter.  It’s a great read with some fascinating real data (yes – I remember paying $1k / megabit / month in 1996 back when SaaS was called ASP – but I was too young for it back when it was called timesharing – although I bumped into Multics a couple of times at MIT).

In the mid-1990s, Dan Bricklin told me that computing had gone full circle – in the early 1980’s it used to be that you typed some stuff on your screen, hit enter, and waited a few seconds for something to happen.  By the mid 1990’s we were doing the same, only using a PC over dial-up lines using HTTP.  Those mainframe dudes had it right, but thanks to Mr. Moore and crew, we no longer have to wait a couple of seconds (except every now and then, or when I’m accessing the web from my Sidekick.)