Microsoft, Google, Apple, Yahoo, Facebook. These names are syonymous with technology culture. Their logos are etched in nearly every device we touch.
Oculus, Tumblr, Instagram, Skype, Android. All of these were once part of the great throng of startups that seems to pervade our culture. All of them have been bought by the big boys listed above. This throng of startups is creating a new generation of entrprneurs. Entrepreuners where the dream has been relegated from "lets be a big company" to "lets be bought by a big company".
We live in an age where Computer startups just need a couple of laptops and a few hard working people. Unfortunately, even then our younger visionaries seem not to dream as big as they could. There are a new breed of startups ride on the popularity of one app until their swallowed by bigger fish.
Yahoo for example bought a startup called Summly in 2011. Summly was powered by an 5 man team and used to summarize news articles for people to read. It was headed by 18 year old Nick D'Alonsio. They paid $30 million for it. At that price they could have gotten 30 researchers who were brilliant in Natural Language Processing. Instead they got a kid that just used the tools that those experts created. I'm not impigning on his brilliance. I'm trying to say that the buy defied the logic of shoring up they're news division. Here's an article that goes into detail on the subject.
People are creating companies that sell out.
In 2013 alone between Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo there were 75 startups bought that have been on record. So far in 2014 its 23 (uptil March '14). These 4 alone are buying a startup every 3 days.
Sometimes these acquisitions defy logic. Google, for example, wanted to start to up their robotics division in more earnest. In December last year over a period of 10 days, they acquired 9 startups. And they continued by buying Boston Dynamics at the beginning of this year.
This trend of buying over so many small companies wasn't prevalent as much as it is now. For example from 1995-2000 IBM bought the same number of companies it bought in 2013 alone. Yahoo has increased the average number of startups it buys from between 8-10 in the early 2000s to 15-16 from 2012 onwars.
Maybe the next set of visionaries is out on the horizon. Sitting in laboratories or classrooms today. Maybe the next Jobs or Zuckerburg is among them, I don't know. I just think that if we redefine the measure for success, it might cause these visionaries to dream smaller