Photo: Boonsri Dickinson, Business Insider
While “most groundbreaking innovation” may conjure up images of self driving cars and Minority Report, the most important innovation coming from Silicon Valley is more mundane.Expect apps to be so usable that you’ll never need to read a manual, and for normal things around the house (like doorknobs) to be connected to the Internet.
At least that was the consensus at IGNITION West, where four super angels took the stage to discuss the most interesting ideas they’ve seen in the last six months: Jeff Clavier, founder and managing partner at SoftTech VC; Mike Maples Jr., managing partner at Floodgate; Aydin Senkut, founder & managing director, Felicis Ventures; and Dave McClure, founding partner at 500 Startups (who showed up fashionably late).
Clavier said “smartphones are enabling new markets. Postmates, which enables geo-located services like the ability to press a button and get a bike messenger or a truck, and Gigwalk, which is disrupting the temporary jobs market. You can get a job in a few minutes.”
But the huge change is that technology is becoming accessible to everyone. “Usability is about making technology easy to use by the masses. There is no place anymore for complex technology,” Clavier said.
McClure also talked about usability. McClure said “we like to invest in things that are real problems. The leading edge stuff is usability — it’s not leading edge … it’s just sh*t we aren’t very good at.” To make technology accessible for kids and parents, McClure is holding a MamaBear family tech conference next month.
Senkut talked about when he saw his 2-year-old playing with Angry Birds. His son picked up his iPhone and started playing the game. That’s the brilliance of Steve Jobs, he said, regarding technology that is so intuitive to use.
Why is it that usability has only been applicable to mobile games? Senkut asked.
That is starting to change. Look what Nest did to make the thermostat look good. Ordinary items like light bulbs and doorknobs will soon connect to the Internet.
But some early investors still fantasize about futuristic technology. You have technology like 3D printing, so you can print out physical stuff. Soon, you’ll be able to print cells for your body, Clavier said.
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