"Today we are spoiled by the easy pickings of the Web. Any kid with an idea and a laptop can create the seeds of a world-changing company—just look at Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook or any one of thousands of other Web startups hoping to follow his path. Sure, they may fail, but the cost is measured in overdue credit-card payments, not lifelong disgrace and a pauper’s prison.
The beauty of the Web is that it democratized the tools both of invention and of production. Anyone with an idea for a service can turn it into a product with some software code (these days it hardly even requires much programming skill, and what you need you can learn online)—no patent required. Then, with a keystroke, you can “ship it” to a global market of billions of people.
Huge as information industries have become, they’re still a sideshow in the world economy. To put a ballpark figure on it, the digital economy, broadly defined, represents $20 trillion of revenues, according to Citibank and Oxford Economics.1 The economy beyond the Web, by the same estimate, is about $130 trillion. In short, the world of atoms is at least five times larger than the world of bits."
Makers: The New Industrial Revolution by Chris Anderson