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The "Edge" Is A New Kind Of Vertical Cloud

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In the article "the rebundling of Craigslist", Josh Breilinger, a VC at Jackson Square ventures, makes a powerful argument that one of the most effective forms of competition comes in the form of newcos who aspire to take chunks out of an existing platform by better addressing the needs of a specific vertical within that platform

In the past, I've viewed edge computing as a new kind of tier to cloud computing and one that potentially eclipses the centralized clouds - because it's a natural place to run anything that is interactive, needs to analyze large volumes of shared state data and quickly compute against short time value data. Seen from Josh's perspective it almost seems inevitable to me that edge computing will eclipse cloud computing and that new companies will not just challenge but dethrone the big cloud incumbents.

The incumbent cloud vendors will always see edge computing as a specialized sub market to cater to - with extensions to their current technology stack. And there lies the fallacy, that the current centralized stack can be extended to work with edge computing. Edge computing demands its own architecture - one that eschews centralization for distribution, with the goal of creating revenue instead of saving money.

Falling dominoes

Event driven programming is wasted on centralized clouds. It is at the edge that event sourcing and reactive technologies really open up trillions of dollars of possibilities in real time, low latency edge computing - in robotics, data analytics, gaming, smart things and machine to machine interactions. When events can be detected, processed and reacted to in single digit milliseconds, the cloud of today will seem quaint and fill us with nostalgia for a simpler time much as a Casio LCD calculator does when compared to an iPhone.

Just as AirBnB took a submarket of Craigslist and turned it into a standalone multi-billion dollar a year business, Macrometa and other edge computing startups will take today's submarket of edge and turn it into its own hundreds of billions of dollars a year of business in the future.

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