Twenty years ago, if you wanted to buy a book or a pair of shoes, you went to a store, made your purchase, and drove home. From time to time, you might order something from a catalogue—a power tool perhaps, or a pair of pajamas. Back then, most of us simply could not conceive of another way to shop.
But while you and I were schlepping to Sears to buy a new vacuum cleaner or a six-pack of socks, a former hedge fund executive named Jeff Bezos was working out of his garage, starting the company that would become Amazon.com.
A couple of decades ago, electric cars existed only in science fiction. Today, tens of thousands of hybrid gas/electric cars are on the road, and pure electric cars are a reality. Elon Musk, probably the best-known champion of electric cars and the founder of Tesla, is also spearheading an effort to develop civilian space travel capabilities. Richard Branson, known for his Virgin brands fame, is doing the same.
And we’ve already talked about how discount online-brokerage revolutionized the financial industry in the 1970s and how software-based investing is pushing the envelope even further today. Look at what Steve Jobs did in ...