Ridesharing is to Mobile Phones as _____ is to Self-Driving Cars

A great irony of the mobile phone revolution of the late 2000s and early 2010s is that so few great technology companies grew out of that disruption. The companies that dominate the mobile ecosystem — Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix — were all born long before smartphones hit the market.

The largest tech company that grew out of the mobile revolution is (I think) Uber. Which is ironic because smartphones at first glance seem to have so little to do with ridesharing.

I once got to listen to Warren Buffett talk in person, and he relayed how in the 1990s he and Bill Gates spent a lot of time trying to figure out the key opportunities provided by the Internet. But search engines never occurred to them.

Similarly, when I was in business school in the 2000s, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the disruptions the smartphone would bring. Transportation never occurred to me.

Now the question is what disruptions will self-driving cars bring? And the answer might be something that isn’t occurring to anybody.

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