I think all companies should be run like a technology company. Might sound radical but so are the times we are living in. If “traditional” companies would dare to take even a tiny minuscule fraction of the DNA of a technology company the world would be a better place. We would have better products and people would have more fun at work. By no means do I mean that we would all need to be latte drinking hipsters or Coke slurping sociopaths. But there’s something that the geeks are doing better and which the rest of us should learn from. Following a dream and going the extra mile to make innovative ideas flourish is certainly one of them. Another is speed. Technology empowers us with existing tools that can be used to achieve almost anything. Exceptional things can be achieved in the smallest of time just by taking advantage of technology: be it an app, a platform, a service, a piece of hardware or a method. Agile is a widely used method in software development, but who says it’s limited to just that? With little imagination e.g. Scrum can easily be applied to “normal” project management as well. When we consider the attitude, fearlessness, talent and speed of execution of which these companies operate in, it’s no wonder that technology industry is almost the only industry doing well in this economy.
Netflix is certainly one of the most interesting companies in technology at the moment. They have really managed to do the unthinkable and rethink TV. The greatest thing about the service is that it just works. Most video streaming services I’ve tested have suffered from bad implementation and lousy video players that are plagued with bugs and hiccups. But not Netflix, it just works. I appreciate their strategy to create an app for almost every available platform. I also admire Netflix’s bold move to create original content, and when the content is as good as “House of Cards” is – what is there not to love.
But for sure Netflix is not the only company I keep an eye on. Amazon is certainly on this list as well. Amazon is a good example of a company that has realized how to transform a traditional business, such as selling books by utilizing technology. Amazon didn’t just settle with selling hardcover books online and then mailing them to the consumer, but rather went the extra mile and rethought the entire business model with Kindle. And if considering the use of drones to deliver parcels is not “thinking outside the box” then I don’t know what is. Amazon is without a doubt a cool company. Same can’t always be said about the following company. Microsoft is definitely not often referred to as cool. But I beg to differ. Maybe it doesn’t have the same rebellious “pirate” image as Apple or Google, but so what. The things that Microsoft is doing in cloud computing are getting very exciting. Another area is motion detection (Kinect) and speed recognition (real-time translations in Skype, Cortana), which both have enormous potential. Think of top-of-the-line cloud services combined with motion detection and ground breaking speed recognition packed into a wearable device – imagine the possibilities.
Apple showed the world that interesting ideas don’t necessary need to be new – they just need to be better. Just like electric cars weren’t new, but until Tesla came along no one really cared for them. This is exactly the mindset that I so much admire in technology companies. They have the courage to tackle an old idea that someone else has failed with and make it work. Too often I hear upper management say that an idea is not worth even exploring, because if it was a golden idea someone else would already be doing it. Fortunately companies like Square are not accustomed to this sort of “mumbo-jumbo” mindset. Taking on big credit card companies, banks, PayPal etc. requires cojones. Yet, Square has done the unthinkable and made accepting credit cards easy and accessible to anyone. An excellent example of making something that used to be extremely complicated, easy and enjoyable.
No other industry is welcoming newcomers in such wide arms as the technology industry. Still we don’t see things like Aalto University’s Startup Sauna taking place in any other industry, why not? Seems that the technology industry is the only one that has realized that pushing the entire industry forward benefits everybody. So, hail to the Universities and organizations for their work in enabling new ideas!
I might be an optimist but I have high hopes for Nokia and especially HERE. And it’s easy to be when you see what HERE is doing with maps. I’m confident that they have a trick or two up their sleeve that will finally make the pieces (3D maps, indoor navigation and augmented reality) to come together and form something exceptional. Might very well be that the next step in navigation first needs better wearable devices or something else entirely, but what ever the catalyst turns out to be I’m sure the end result will be exciting.
This is just a quick overview of the industry. There are abundant of companies in the industry that are making interesting stuff. And thanks to the startup scene new companies are constantly entering the market with their ideas. History has shown that even the biggest monoliths can come crashing down when faced with a better idea. I can’t wait what Valve can come up with Steam OS. I just hope the OEM’s will be able to create some exceptional Steam Machines. The potential is there, now it’s all up to the execution.
What do you think? What companies are you most interested about? Shout out on Twitter or in the comments below.