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Moore’s Law
Moore’s Law
Moore’s Law
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Read this before you over-invest in the latest tech platform, decide to lease rather than buy that new computer, or expect to resell your smartwatc ...

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Actionable Takeaways
  • Consider leasing tech. 

A common application of Moore’s Law for many individuals and ...

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Moore’s Law is not a law in a scientific sense, more an observation and predictive mental model. To that end, some have argued that it is self-fulfilling, with companies feeling the need to keep up with Moore’s law — though that seems like less of a limitation and more of a complement. 

Causal relationships aside, many argue that Moore’s Law is coming to its end because of the challenges to build smaller circuits, as the amount of energy needed to cool down the transistors will become larger than the amount of energy already passing through the transistor. 

However, that has been a point of debate when taking Moore’s Law as a loose definition of exponential growth. While computers won’t necessarily improve in the ways Moore originally referenced, advancements in cloud computing, quantum physics and the internet of things are likely to create other forms or rapid development.

In Practice

Your USB stick vs Apollo 11 mainframe computer. 

It’s not just your smartphone that is more powerful than the old supercomputers, this ZME Science article notes that even a USB stick or WiFi router is technically more powerful than the 1969 mainframe computers used to guide the first rocket to the moon.

The reducing cost of technology. 

Jerrold Siegel from the University of Missouri, notes in this article that: “A computer chip that contained 2,000 transistors and cost $1,000 in 1970, $500 in 1972, $250 in 1974, and $0.97 in 1990 costs less than $0.02 to manufacture today A personal computer that cost $3,000 in 1990, $1,500 in 1992, and $750 in 1994 would now cost about $5.”

Build your latticework
This model will help you to:

Moore’s law is a model used to understand the rapid development of technology. 

Use the following examples of connected and complementary models to weave Moore’s law into your broader latticework of mental models. Alternatively, discover your own connections by exploring the category list above. 

Connected models: 

  • Compounding: to understand the exponential growth element of Moore’s law. 
  • Red queen effect: understanding the pace of movement in the broader industry. 

Complementary models: 

  • Zawinski’s law: in understanding expectations for faster development of broad solutions. 
  • Opportunity cost: to consider the alternative costs of commiting to technology solutions without a view to their potential obsolescence in the medium term. 
  • The Lindy effect: perhaps a counter to the wisdom that past time can predict future longevity.
Origins & Resources

This law was inspired by Gordon Moore, co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and CEO of Intel. He made the observation in 1965 when he projected the rate of growth for another decade and has expressed surprise at how long the phenomena has persisted.

Find out more in Moore's Law: The Life of Gordon Moore, Silicon Valley's Quiet Revolutionary by Arnold Thackray, David Brock, and Rachel Jones. 

Also, consider whether some have been too quick to claim that Moore’s law is dead by viewing this in-depth opinion piece in Venture Beat

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