May 312014
Storage Cost decline

graphic courtesy of Kleiner, Perkins Caufield and Byers

Mary Meeker is a name familiar to anyone who has charted the rise of the Internet from the 1990’s on. Back then she was an analyst at Morgan Stanley and made her reputation by seeing early the transformative potential of the Internet explosion, while avoiding the overly frothy (and occasionally illegal) boosterism of other analyts.

Now at Kleiner, Perkins Caufield and Byers, Meeker is the principal author of an widely anticipated annual report that looks at a slew of online macro trends. The latest report came out this week.

Over the years the report has gotten very long, covering almost every conceivable industry and cultural phenomenon affected by the Internet. In the past two years I’ve tried to pull out for readers some essential takeaways. In 2012 that was the huge potential of mobile Internet growth, and last year I highlighted a number of findings including the explosion of digitally created and shared content and the accelerating adoption cycle for consumer technology.

In addition to the information provided, I enjoy reviewing this report every year because it beautifully encapsulates the content marketing approach. Of course the report is designed to promote KPCB, and no doubt many of the companies mentioned are clients of the firm. But the report also a great example of giving something away before you ask for something, benefiting your audience without overt promotion and exhibiting strong thought leadership. Now that the report is well established, the traditional media placements and social media sharing no doubt provides great value for the firm.

By covering so much ground, the report has lost some focus but there is something here to interest almost everyone. Sometimes seeing something broadly understood graphed out over time can reinforce its significance.

That’s the case in my opinion for the graph above showing data storage costs moving from burdensome to negligible over the past 20+ years. This one development (and the underlying decline in computing cost due to cloud technology supporting it, graphic below) has unleashed innovation for both consumers (free email with virtually unlimited storage) and enterprises (greatly reduced start-up and infrastructure costs).

Compute Costs Huge Decline

graphic courtesy of Kleiner, Perkins Caufield and Byers

Other important nuggets for me:

  • Your choice of views on the future of healthcare — very scary (slide 30) or hopefully optimistic (slides 31,32)
  • The “how fast things can change” slide — complete reversal of mobile operating systems in less than five years ans a Android and Apple duopoly (slide 10)
  • The federal budget reality slide showing 63 percent of all spending going to entitlements (slide 152)

When you have a free hour or so, this deck is worth reviewing. If you’ve got the time right now, see below for the embedded deck or click here for pdf version.


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