When a Norwegian folk-pop duo decided to call themselves the Kings of Convenience back in 1999, they wound up with a few minor hits. They should have become venture capitalists instead—they would have made billions. That’s because the story of technology, over the past 15 years, is the story of convenience trumping all. If you can make something more convenient, you’re well on your way to a dynastic fortune.
Steve Jobs understood this when he released the iPod in 2001: the sound quality, through flimsy in-ear headphones, was pretty bad, but a thousand songs in your pocket? That trumped everything. Then, he unleashed the iPhone on the world. Pretty soon, anything could be in your pocket.