Rust and dust

Rust and dust
: On the way back to New Jersey, we passed through Bethlehem, Pa., to get some Christmas ornaments and lunch and, of course, we drove by the five-mile-long rotting hulk of American industrialization, the Bethelehem Steel plant. It’s as sad as it is impressive (I am eager to see it become a National Museum of Industrial History). It is also the biggest, meanest economic reality check you’d ever want to find: Industrialization is over. Technology and information are our future if we’re wise enough to invest in that. But then, we knew that. We are returning to an age of cottage industries, rather than factories. We can only hope that the cottages are here.

See Om Malik’s piece on the cult of lone coders.

Broadband is a great enabler which has allowed many of the lone-coders to get into business for themselves. Thanks to a high speed connection and cheap hosting services, a programmer in Oregon can set-up shop without as much as idling the engine on his decade old Honda. Today, when outsourcing and off-shoring are threatening the American way of business, the lone coders are perfect example of how technology and broadband can counter those macro economic forces.

The Internet boom has proved to be a boon for programmers who refuse to climb the corporate ladder; or kowtow to the whims and fancies of venture capitalists. An increasing number of talented coders are setting up shop on their own, developing niche products for under served markets and making a decent living. Rick Ellis, a musician turned programmer. It is a counter-culture movement and has gaining strength especially with the scarcity of jobs. Mena and Ben Trott were dot.com road kill when they wrote blogging software, Moveable-Type just on a lark when unemployed.

See also Mike Wendland on Detroit churches installing cheap wireless broadband for poor neighborhoods.

The river ran through Bethlehem, bringing industry there.

Broadband can run wherever we want, bringing industry with it, too.

  • Jeremy

    Unfortunately, though, not everyone can be great coders or writers. In fact, the vast majority cannot.
    Just about anyone could work in a steel plant.
    That’s going to be a big problem in the near future, as more and more manufacturing jobs are lost. What will people do? Work at Starbucks?

  • cris

    information and technology might be the furture. but if we don’t keep manufacturing and building, there won’t be anything to talk about worth having, and nothing with which we can communicate as rapidly as we do.
    don’t give up the bricks and mortar just cause the frosting tastes so good.