It seems like once a decade there comes a technology so transformative it spawns several companies that become giants: Chips in the 70s (Intel, AMD), PCs in the 80s (Apple, Microsoft, Dell), the Internet in the 90s (Amazon, Google, eBay).
There are also innovations that are potentially just as disruptive but that, from the standpoint of investors, never offer an early chance to get in on the ground floor—the way Microsoft or Google did when they first went public.
Take nanotech, an investor fad a decade ago that faded because it wasn’t startups that brought it to market, but diversified giants like Intel and GE. Or solar energy, an important technology that is requiring decades to become a mainstream product but that involves costly manufacturing plants along the way.
And then there’s 3D printing, which is looking like one of those important but hard-to-invest-in technologies. For a while, it was…
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