Monthly Archives: March 2013

Impact of technology

I wrote this post about four years back while doing my MBA at Columbia Business School. For some reason (don’t remember why), didn’t publish it. So putting it out now.

This week reinforced my belief in the reach and impact of technology. It’s across industries and continents. It spans different walks of life and touches people in different ways. But the common element is that it has more impact than ever before. Here’s a recap of four events/cases this week shed light on how technology is playing a critical role in various industries.

Paul Calello, CEO of Credit Suisse investment banking division gave a talk on leadership and state of financial markets. He was asked what is the next big thing that will influence the market. His one word answer was technology. He went on to explain how technology can increase transparency, make it more practical to put forth checks in place and help make better decisions than ever before.

In supply chain management class, the case study for the week was Zara success story. One sentence reasoning behind Zara’s success is its heavy investments in information technology and automated infrastructure. The amazing infrastructure Zara has put in place to have a rapid inventory update every six weeks (less than half the time taken by a typical competitor in the space) is heavily dependent on connectivity and automation in supply chain management.

Next was a simulations exercise for Statistics class to find out a bond which is more profitable and less risky than a bunch of specified stocks. In other words, statistical regression using computing power to solve an otherwise a complex looking problem.

Lastly, a talk on Google’s impact on creating the massive digital library. Very interesting to see two contradicting sides of impact technology was having on an industry. On the brighter side, the knowledge was going to be universally available to anyone interested in leveraging it. On the darker side, activities like piracy will grow and the revenue hit on publishers will in turn have an impact on authors motivation.

I have always been a believer in technology and its power. I strongly believe in the idea that it’s the application of technology in innovative ways that is going to have a lasting impact for many years to come.


“No one got fired for buying an IBM machine.”

This old saying states in very clear words the importance of trust in decision-making process. Whether you are making a personal decision or a business decision, knowingly or unknowingly, trust has a say in it. It is a confidence building factor which helps you make a decision and defend it when something goes wrong.

In case of a business, trust has multiple impact areas. Your sales efforts get a big shot in the arm if your prospective customers trust you. You get the best talent to work with you and the best advisers to guide you. It is one thing that can have an amazing ripple effect in everything from valuation of your company to your reputation in the industry to your success.

The importance of trust highlights a very important thing about businesses that we often overlook. Businesses are often treated as entities. But this puts the human element of businesses front and center. You are a human being and you deal with other human beings. By nature there is skepticism in trying new things, in believing in new technology and in relying on new people. But when you do go for it and get results as expected (or better than expected), an amazing thing happens. You feel good about making the right decision and eventually develop trust for what was back in the day a new thing.

Trust has three very important properties. It is contagious, it reciprocates and it is fragile. In order to be successful, you need to work on all of them. You need an initial set of mavens who trust you and are willing to vouch for you. You need to have an open enough mindset to trust others, partner with them and work with them. And most important, you should be careful about not breaking the trust of others. It’s something that takes a lifetime to build and seconds to destroy!