Blog: The Way It Was, the Way it is Now 

Long before most new would-be-entrepreneurs were born, start-ups and business, planning only had published information or data accumulated over time to rely on in their planning activities. There was no Google for searching for information.

Strategic planning exercises, business plans, proposals to customers and marketing research could take days or weeks to put together. Competitive information could be very hard to find in the open market. All of the activities mentioned above could require a team of people to work on. Putting a Business Plan together could be very tedious. Today, the spreadsheet software on today’s PC’s that, could spit out data, did not exist.

Sales channels were limited to three, OEM (original equipment manufacturers), end users and distributors. Numerous product and service companies were buffered from the ultimate customer.

From the only three sales channels in the past, in the here and now, there are numerous available channels to get a product into the market and social networks, Marketing now has an entirely new and quicker way to get a product in the market because of the internet and social network.

Companies spend tons of money on the expenses for physical travel to customers. Big companies were known to spend millions of dollars on sales meetings and advertising to “get the word out.” There was Santa Claus and Peter Rabbit but there was no Internet, email, PC’s, iPads, iPhones, Social Networks or Skype.

There were no networks. Advances in networks can now help companies get the word out to the world by utilization of the Internet with a web page, blogs, Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Microsoft was smart and created a big outside software market complimenting their software. Innovative application people with all kinds of creative software helped accelerate the path to handling and manipulating data to fractions of a second and overcoming the past slow way. Now one click of a mouse could change years of business projections instantaneously, whereas it could take hours or days, for a similar operation in the early dark ages of computers.Software programs, now developed, can handle massive amounts of data and being able to find information in a fraction of a second. Inexpensive software programs can now be found for developing a strategy and running a business. Significant companies like Google and Facebook are now capable of handling data for hundreds of millions of people. Hardware has provided the technology advances that helped to expand bandwidth that was needed to develop the software for expanding applications. A laptop PC now has more power and capability than a mainframe computer had in the past.

And to show the dramatic changes I have seen in my lifetime: as an engineer, years ago I designed a flip flop, the core of a computer. The circuit, one flip flop was housed in a 19” by 4” package and sold as an item.  Today, Intel can put billions of flip flops on a chip.

The result of all these technology gains now allows a start-up company to be formed within hours, and using the internet, can gather all the data needed to define and structure a company.

Imagine when hardware was king in the U.S. computer industry it could take months by several people like a President, an engineering, a marketing manager, a sales person, a manufacturing manager, a purchasing person and a direct labor person to define and develop a new product to sell.   With the “tools” now available a product can be developed by one person sitting at their PC for hours. The tools have aided participants in the mobile phone market to develop over millions of applications on smart phones.

I was on a panel discussing the greatest technology or events in the second half of the 20th century. Most of the panel touched on the transistor, Internet, PCs, mobile phones, and tapes and disk drives. When it came to me I offered the break-up of the Bell Telephone Company. Why, because with their monopoly and their slow operating culture, being at a snail’s pace, there would still be no Internet as we know today.

I also touted, without the move of manufacturing to Asia and their tremendous manufacturing capability, there would be no significant computer and telecommunication industry.

We can now expect the millennium generation entrepreneurs coming out of engineering and business schools to be the driving force to accelerate the development of products and service for future markets.

I urge companies, still dependent on the old way, to look for this generation to be a part of their team.