Today, we are honored to be named a 2012 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer. The World Economic Forum, most known for the annual Davos conference, created this program in 2000. Every year, they award approximately 25 companies in three categories – Information Technologies and New Media, Energy and Environment, and Life Sciences and Health.
Companies receiving the award are to “hold promise of significantly impacting the way business and society operate. Technology Pioneers must demonstrate visionary leadership and show signs of being long-standing market leaders…” It is humbling to read those words and look through some of the companies that have been past winners– Napster, Google, Mozilla, PayPal, and more recently Foursquare and Spotify.
When we started Appirio, we felt that the enterprise technology industry had stagnated in innovation, impacting our entire economy’s ability to grow. The consumer Internet had shown us we could do more with less and the power of what could happen with shared (cloud) systems, but enterprises were resistant. Our drive five years ago (and now) is to help the industry through ‘The Big Switch’ to cloud computing and bring Internet-pace innovation to business practices across all industries – driving the level of disruption Marc Andreesen described recently in the Wall Street Journal.
In our submission early this year to the World Economic Forum we wrote:
Any leap forward in technical innovation disrupts existing industries – telegrams to telephones, fax to email, closed systems to the Internet. Cloud computing is having a similar disruption on the IT industry. For the first time, all you need for a virtual worldwide labor force is an Internet connection, which is having a profound impact on jobs, education and the economies of countries around the world. The ‘everything-as-a-service’ cloud model is also dramatically changing how people work, how developers code, how businesses use technology, and it’s having a huge impact on the companies that supply those businesses.
Combining the disrupted power of the cloud with the power of the crowd (crowdsourcing) allows for a reinvention of both how technology drives business and the very nature of how labor organizes towards fulfilling that promise. That revelation led Appirio to form CloudSpokes – an open, cross-cloud community for crowdsourced development – and drove its growth to nearly 20,000 users from 60 countries in just a few months.
We believe to our core that the scale of change these trends will bring to the technology industry will be profound. The only question will be if we resist this change or adopt and accelerate its potential. We know the answer we want and are honored to be recognized for our potential, passion, commitment to making it happen.