The Next Big Thing Is Coming … Serendipitously

Jon Ratliff

No one could say for certain how our culture would change when MIT professor Tim Berners-Lee turned the Internet into the more accessible World Wide Web, or when University of Illinois student Marc Andreessen developed Mosaic, the first widely used browser, to surf the Web.

Creations like those and numerous others led Larry Page and Sergey Brin to develop Google, which changed the way we use online technology. These random acts of brilliance illustrate the serendipitous way that one invention paves the way for the next.

Recently, Google announced that much of our metropolitan area would be home to a technological sandbox that can make this kind of serendipity easier to generate, maybe even commonplace. Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., will build out Google Fiber, a network that will connect with the Internet at speeds of 1 gigabyte per second, or about 100 times faster than existing broadband.

The new network will speed the way users will watch video or assess an MRI. But the best part of serendipity is that there is no telling where it will take you. Our metropolitan area now will take advantage of the opportunity. Kids, study hard, especially algebra, so you can use Google Fiber to create the next big thing. To borrow a quote from Louis Pasteur, “serendipity favors the prepared mind.”

The notion that Google Fiber has serendipitous potential isn’t mine. It comes from the Kauffman Foundation, which was significant among the dozens of business and civic leaders who helped bring Google Fiber to Kansas City. The pitch to Google was: We can’t tell you what we’ll do with Google Fiber, but this is the community that can make it into something big.

The Kauffman Foundation has been our client for several years, and my subjective opinion comes from seeing the Foundation’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship. For years, the Foundation has looked at its home in Kansas City as an incubator for programs that will help communities and economies grow. Now, Google Fiber can help incubate economy-stimulating technology ideas really, really fast.

— Jon Ratliff, TCG Vice President and Account Group Director

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