Where did all the cloud computing thought leaders go?

A few years ago many voices advocated new thinking around cloud computing. Today it’s hard to find those same visionaries

Where did all the cloud computing thought leaders go?
Getty Images

I’m not citing studies that demonstrate a diminished number of thought leaders in the cloud computing space—this is only my impression. However, if you’re honest with yourselves, most of you will note a big difference between the amount of new thinking around cloud computing these days compared to the amount in 2010. 

What happened? A few things have changed.

First, the term “cloud computing” is so general that we’ve already written and said pretty much all that is interesting. It was common to toss out “the cloud” several times in meetings back in 2012, but today it just makes you look desperate. 

As of now, the cloud is a combination of many subdisciplines, such as cloud-based databases, machine learning, IoT, even edge computing. It’s no longer about the consumption model around the use of cloud computing. That’s been settled. It’s about what’s new within clouds, most of which can’t be found on premises.

Second, the thought-leader space has become too noisy. Back when I used to write for print publications, even this one, only a few anointed people could get their name into print. Later we replicated print with online resources, then finally only online resources. 

I suspect that technical book readership is also down, replaced by YouTube, Wikipedia, blogs, and training videos. Nothing wrong with these channels (I author for all of them), other than there are too many. It’s tough to figure out where your primary technology information should come from these days. Having too many choices may mean you you have to search harder to find the good ones.

This is not really a complaint, more of an observation. As my clients, friends, and colleagues seek to understand the wisdom around cloud computing, I’ve noticed that the places where I point them are becoming less obvious. I suspect this problem will get worse in the years to come. 

The answer could be aggregators. Instead of producing content, the thought leaders of the future—for cloud computing, or any technology—may be the people who can organize the massive amounts of available information into specific things to read, follow, and experience.