Developers as Capital

I've just been reading this Forbes article called "The Rise of Developeronomics". The author argues that because increasingly software is the core value proposition that differentiates companies from each other, that software developers are more and more becoming the wealth creators in society. The author recommends investing in software developers as a way of leveraging your own capital. This article builds on an earlier article by David Kirpatick called "Now Every Company is a Software Company".

The article is making the point that programmers are becoming a core economic factor for successful companies, so much so that large companies are buying smaller companies purely for their programming teams. He points out that companies such as Google nurture young programming talent as a strategic investment.

Of course the message is hugely appealing to me as a software developer. My own opinion is that technology is exponentially increasing the potential "value space" for possible investment. For example, consider the introduction of Facebook. With that particular advance in social networking, it opened up all sorts of opportunities for individuals and companies to promote themselves and establish new kinds of dialogues with their clients. With this advance, a large number of opportunities were created, which in turn leads to more specialised development that wasn't possible before the large-scale take up of social networking. Thereby creating a lot more potential work for a larger number of programmers.

If companies don't keep up with the introduction of new technologies, they run the risk of falling behind their competitors. Not only those competitors who are able to utilise technology to make their workers more productive, but also those competitors that make better use of social networks and internet search to gain new customers and retain older ones, and data modeling and analysis to determine new markets and optimise existing ones. It seems to me that not only are developers the creators of wealth, but we are currently living in a technological arms race.