Tech and Our Lives

At the end of 2020 The Wall Street Journal had a feature article, co-authored by their four technology and related columnists, titled, “The Tech That Will Change Your Life in 2021.” The three topics that caught my eye were:

Death by Subscription: Yeah, pretty obvious. Every consumer company wants to be a SaaS model. Every search fund business buyer has the same criteria, which includes, “Recurring revenue.” Robbie Bach spoke at my Rotary club last fall, asked us to think about all the subscriptions we have, and guessed most of us would be at 20. I can easily get to about 15 in a couple minutes as I consider Office, Internet, Cable TV, Prime, Netflix, our CRM, Constant Contact, Beachbody, etc. Will it end? Will consumers revolt and scale back? We’ll find out, won’t we?

Return of the Trust Fall (as in the team building exercise where people fall backwards depending on their co-workers to catch them): The title is a metaphor for remote workers wanting to get back to the office, collaborate in person, and the offsite retreats, especially for companies with workers around the country or world. I agree. Once the vaccine is out en masse people are going to want to see each other, talk in person, get fodder for gossiping, and head out for coffee or lunch together.

E-commerce ‡ Amazon: Amazon disrupted a lot of industries, especially retail. But what’s next? Walmart, Shopify, Target, and others were slow to catch up and then found the barriers-to-mimicking were low. This is similar to a newsletter I recently read about how companies get complacent when all is going well (and I know Amazon is not complacent). The newsletter gave a few examples of middle market firms that thought they were on top of the world and didn’t see the competition leapfrog them. Always wonder how you can innovate, adapt, and stay fresh.

Even if you’re not a tech company you need to keep up with technology and how it can improve your business. And also realize no matter what the technology is, it still comes down to people. People have to create technology, implement it, learn it, use it, etc. A robo-dialer won’t get you customers. A good salesperson will.

“There are two things that can destroy a family business: the family and the business.” Leonard Lauder (former Estee Lauder CEO)

“A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.” Douglas Adams

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