Chapter One“Will It Happen to Us?” A Trillion-Dollar Opportunity or an Extinction Event

“Software is eating the world.”

—Marc Andreessen1

Over the past decade, six technology-led companies have collectively generated more than $1 trillion of market value. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Netflix, and Pandora have leveraged consumer technologies in new ways—and in the process, have transformed customer expectations, established new operating models, and violently upended roughly a dozen mature industries. In the process, prior industry leaders—such as Nokia, Motorola, Borders, Barnes & Noble, AOL, Blockbuster, Tower Records, and HMV—lost, on average, more than 90% of their 2003 enterprise values. This value migration from one set of companies to another could not have been more forceful or final.

Most people have heard that part of the story. What they don’t fully appreciate is the common denominator that sits at the heart of the business models of the Trillion-Dollar Club: the creation and management of Code Halos.

What Is a Code Halo?

A Code Halo is the field of digital information that surrounds any noun—any person, place, or thing. More often than not, that virtual self can provide more insight into—and thus generate more value from—the physical entity alone.

Take a simple but important example. There are tens of millions of people in the United States alone with some form of chronic respiratory condition who need to use inhalers every day. Mobile health platform Propeller ...

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