Four Groundbreaking Innovations from the 2000s (And One More Life-Changing Event)

12/29/09

Let me start out the great moments/innovations/developments of the past decade with one that was very important to me individually.

1. As a strapping, 6-year-old boy, I had the privilege of seeing Ted Williams’s last game. I don’t know about you, but growing up in Boston in the 1960s there were two heroes: Ted Williams and Bobby Orr. Going to that game was like a dream. Why do I bring this up? Because even though I have lived in Seattle for 21 years and am a devoted Mariners and Seahawks fan, I still have a place deep in my heart for the Red Sox. I was a Red Sox fan before the existence of something now called the Red Sox Nation! What utter BS. Anyway, the single most important event of the 2000s was a night that I was in NYC (home of the ENEMY) in October 2004 when the Red Sox FINALLY won the World Series! I was in tears! And to have it happen while I was in NYC….SWEET!

Now, on to other things that pale in comparison:

2. The iPod. Who would have thought 20 years ago that one could carry around his or her ENTIRE music collection in a pocket and listen to it for hours in a car, on a train, on a plane….anywhere?

Well it became a reality, and the phenomena that changed musical entertainment forever was born. I bought Apple stock the day they sold the 1,000,000th song through iTunes at $12/share. I sold it at $36 a few months later, when I had made a 300 percent return. WAY too early!

3. Facebook. A totally new communications channel. Who, of any age, doesn’t have a Facebook account? People live in that interface these days. What started out as a genre for college aged folks, is now the most pervasive communications medium for people of most ages.

4. Death of the land-line. I have 3 adult children (28, 26, 21). None of them, I repeat, none of them, have a landline. All live outside of their parental home; one in Salt Lake City, one in Seattle and the last is a senior in college. But their only number is their mobile. 10 years ago very few people would have predicted that. I guess the fact that AT&T went bankrupt should say it all!

5) You think Moore’s law was something, just wait. I’m sure that all readers here are familiar with Moore’s Law. I don’t want to explain so go to Wikipedia! (another great innovation!). But the unbelievably fast decline in the cost of gene sequencing is way outstripping Moore’s Law. The working draft of the first full human genome was released in 2000 and then again in 2003. This first complete sequence is estimated to have cost $100,000,000 to complete. In 2010, complete human sequences will routinely be produced for a cost approaching $1,000.

It has been a miraculous 10 years and I, for one, look forward to the next 10!

Happy Holidays to all.

[Editor's Note: This is part of a series of posts from Xconomists and other technology leaders from around the country who are weighing in with the top innovations they've seen in their respective fields the past 10 years, or the top disruptive technologies that will impact the next decade.]

Chad Waite is a general partner with OVP Venture Partners. He focuses on investments in the digital biology, and network security sectors. Follow @

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  • Krassen Dimitrov

    Oooo-ho-ho-ho! “gene sequencing” in bold? How have I missed that one… Typical Chad Waite, taking “wrong and strong” to the extreme. Until things blow up in his face, that is…