Charlie Rose: What has the mobile “app revolution” brought?
Max Levchin: I think the app revolution, or the smart phone revolution, fundamentally democratized computing. I think we’re living in an extremely exciting era.
More people now have smart phones than clean water, which is a problem with clean water, but an amazing thing for computing. And mobile computing in particular is amazing, because it’s not just the computer on your desk, it’s not just a thing that can help you compute numbers faster; it’s a window into almost endless informational resources.
The internet allows you to look into the knowledge base of the world: both existing knowledge – from Google to all the other databases – to social knowledge, like Facebook and Quora and all these other sites, where you can ask people to help you. The fact that you’re not alone, ever, in the search.
Your computer becomes a human device. It’s something that helps you find out information. It is the ultimate sensor; you can talk to your phone, enter information into it, take that data, bring it into the cloud, and leverage it massively to make your world, your personal little world, a better place. And the app revolution is the user-interface to that cloud. So in that sense I think it’s tremendous.