Monday, January 28, 2013

Creative Destruction and Cocktails

If you don't embrace change you
will wind up like this young woman.
One of my favorite sites this time of year is the site of people on street corners dressed up as the statue of liberty, a gorilla, or some other memorable mascot attempting to try entice people to use a tax preparation service.  It is one of those subtitle rights of spring, like Groundhog Day or pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training.  I always make a point of honking my horn to recognize these people.  They are cold and I am certain that the pay is lousy but during times of economic hardship it takes a great deal of pluck and desperation to dress up and shill for a tax service.

I find these dancing mascots a welcoming relief from the constant barrage of advertisements I receive from my television and the on-line world.  They seem more personable and organic than the cool narrow casting of advertisement directly marketed to people such as myself.  This leads me to this week's blog.  Thanks to technological change these mascots are endangered and organizations that don't catch this wave of change are going to be equally extinct.  My organization is an agent of creative destruction and I want to let you know why. 

Much of my time is spent speaking with business people talking about what I do.  I tell them I write software which helps automate organizations inventory and logistics operations.  I am also working on some contact management software which will help some insurance companies stay on top of their sales force.  I am either greeted with indifference or amused curiosity.  "Why would we need that?" they ask with a tone of condescension.  I smile wryly and say that their competitors are using it and that it is going to make them more profitable.   This usually leads to a changing of the subject and someone going for an new round of drinks.  I have grown accustomed to this but it does not change the reality of the situation.  Mobile computing, cloud based computing and robotics is changing how business is being done.  Firms like mine make that possible. 

If you do not believe this statement take a look at this article from the associated press from this week.  It clearly sums up how automation, computers, and robotics are eliminating entire sections of the economy.  Here is the main take away from the article.

So machines are getting smarter and people are more comfortable using them. Those factors, combined with the financial pressures of the Great Recession, have led companies and government agencies to cut jobs the past five years, yet continue to operate just as well.


The advance of cloud computing and better automation systems are making this possible.  There are some social implications to this.  How do we deal with the surplus in labor created by automation?  Are these systems really smart or do they just follow directions better than humans? Finally, where does all the money saved go thanks to these systems?  Unfortunately, I do not have the answers to these questions.  I am going to leave that to people who are much smarter than I.   

What I can say is that my firm provides the means for businesses to get on board with these trends.  My company leverages cloud computing and the mobile web to make it possible for you to automate your systems.  We make it possible to reduce overhead and inefficiencies.  This may make some people uncomfortable but so did steam power, television dinners, and Desperate Housewives.   I am still attempting to get over my discomfort with Desperate Housewives.

So the world is getting flatter, faster, warmer, and more efficient.  We will either surf this wave of progress or drown.  I prefer surfing because I don't want to be someone standing on a corner in costume dancing to drum up business for a tax preparation service. 

Until next time.