Anheuser-Busch Briefing Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
1615 H St NW, Washington, D.C.
Registration and Breakfast: 8:00 a.m.-8:30 a.m.
In the last four years, we've seen a brutal recession and a barely lackluster recovery. If the New Normal weren't bad enough, many are now worried Washington is headed over the confidence cliff. There's lots to worry about. America, however, is a big place, and there are other, brighter stories to be told. One of them is the continued rapid growth of the mobile Internet. Indeed, the combination of mobile computers, broadband communications, and the cloud has produced a new American software industry.
In a new report, Soft Power: Zero to 60 Billion in Four Years, my firm, Entropy Economics, summarizes the short but amazing life of the mobile app. It's hard to believe, but the iPhone only came along in 2007. Apple launched the App Store in 2008. Google then launched its competing Android mobile OS and app marketplace in 2009. Since the Panic and Great Recession began, therefore, we've transformed the way we produce, consume, distribute, and use software. In just the last four-plus years, the number of available mobile apps has risen from essentially zero to 1.425 million. In the same period, smartphone and tablet users have downloaded more than 60 billion apps.
True, many apps are merely trivial and entertaining. Yet apps are changing medicine, education, media, and politics. They are big business. In fact, they've been a jobs machine. Economist Michael Mandel recently estimated that the American app economy had created 519,000 jobs as of April 2012. The startling number of mobile devices combined with the power of broadband wireless and the cloud will continue to fuel creativity and diversity in software. The possibilities are -- it's a cliche, but in this case it's true -- limitless. If you are tired of the New Normal or stressed out by the cliff, you may want to read more about the rise of Soft Power.