Why was is possible for so many shopkeepers to be able to operate successful businesses at small scale? The business fundamentals are the same whether the shop is baking bread or selling candles: startup capital is low, access to credit is easy, and ongoing expenses like rent are affordable. The shopkeeper didn't need to expand nationally or globally to be successful in their own life, they just needed to do a bit better than their expenses. But in so doing, they realized a life better than factory employment.
Cloud computing is starting to have a profound impact on the nature of startup businesses.
Today, a startup software developer doesn't even need to buy server hardware or test equipment. Everything they need to develop, test, launch, and operate their business is available online, rented, affordable, and without a large investment risk. Even marketing costs and access to customers can be highly targeted, efficient, and effective. All of a sudden, a business that could not have been possible because the potential scale of the business would not provide an adequate return on investment, is now viable, at a modest size.
Like shopkeepers, the new appkeepers do not need to create a gargantuan business to be personally successful, they just need to be marginally better than their expenses. With low startup costs and afforable operating costs, and shared resources such as incubators and accelerators, we are seeing an explosion of business creativity. But don't expect another Amazon. Expect a nation of appkeepers.