I started out in the computer industry in the early 80’s. In 1982, I bought Radio Shack’s TRS-80 for a little over $700, a computer that I still have to this day. Unlike antique automobiles or fine wines, my TRS-80’s value hasn’t grown with age. In 1984, I purchased a Compaq Portable, a computer that I would lug through America’s airports for three years demonstrating and selling software. I paid a whopping $3,700 for my fully-outfitted Compaq Portable. It ran MS-DOS with 128K of memory, one floppy drive, and 10MB of storage (about one Vine video for comparison).
The early 80’s in personal computing was defined by the enthusiast. The first issue of PC Magazine didn’t debut until February of 1982. Limited commercial applications were available and many were building their own computers by purchasing individual components.
Last month I bought a Parrot AR-Drone 2.0 on Woot.com. I paid around $170 for it. Watching my kids fly it in the backyard, I tried to explain Moore’s Law to my wife and how it would translate to the drone/uav market. Moore was a co-founder of Intel and successfully predicted that the number of transistors on integrated circuit boards would double every two years. At it’s core, Moore’s Law translates to a continued increase in personal computing power at a decreasing cost to consumers. Although my wife was less interested in Moore and more interested in making sure she wasn’t the victim of a drone crash, she understood what I was saying.
This is the early 80’s for the non-military drone world. We are on the doorstep of a new and very large industry, one that will be boundless in the industries that it impacts. Many of the eventual applications of drone technology haven’t even been thought of yet. Only a handful of companies are currently building drone hardware and software. Institutional investors have made few investments. DejaVu!
I can’t wait for the late 80’s and 90’s!