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Posts Tagged ‘new technology’

A Decade in Software

December 28, 2009 Leave a comment

When 2010 rolls in it will mark the end of a decade that truly welcomed internet technology.  Think back to the turn of the millennium  and the software tools that you primarily utilized online:   things sure have changed.  Whether it be the advent of ‘the cloud,’ the rise of mobile devices, or a change in philosophy to ‘simpler is better,’ this decade has truly changed the way that people interact with the internet.

I’d like to take a walk down memory lane and look at internet software at the start of the millennium, and then survey where we are now in three distinct yet intertwined arenas.

Email

Email was one of the original hallmarks of the internet – a simple yet efficient way to demonstrate the power of the web by digitizing the long-standing concept of mail service.

During the last decade, free email services like gmail and yahoo mail have perpetually dominated the arena – providing large amounts of data storage for free to the masses and proving that ‘online only’ applications can be a viable alternative to local email software like MS outlook.

As we head into a new decade, email seems yet again ready to morph, as inboxes are perpetually fill with spam and people clamor for new modes of communication.  Google Wave claims to have an answer, but can it really replace email?

Online Media

The last decade has been a Topsy-Turvy roller coaster for online media – from the tiny startups that became media moguls to the media conglomerates that desperately sought out new models of business.  The year 2000 marked the height of Napster- a new breed of P2P network that allowed people to download pirated MP3 music files.  Since then, illegal networks like Napster have both flourished and fallen, eventually paving the way for legitimate music hubs like itunes.

Online video also has gone on quite a ride, highlighted by the creation of YouTube in 2005.  The viral video boom has not only changed the way that people consume and publish video, but also has disoriented the TV and film industries.

As the decade comes to a close, we are still seeing  industry experimenting with new models of business that can adapt to online video culture. Although some methods of providing free, high quality, syndicated content online (ala Hulu) have garnered popular approval, a stable revenue source still remains elusive.

Business Software

The way that businesses, both small and large, interact with one another and an online consumer base has drastically changed due to various facets of evolving business software technology.

Sales departments can now more efficiently give online presentations through Webinar technology like Dim Dim.   Salesforce has pushed the boundaries of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, allowing companies to improve their communication with customers and sales prospects.  Hiring managers and recruiters can now efficiently track and manage job applicants online through solutions like Newton Software. Paypal has revolutionized online payments, allowing web stores and companies with Software as a Service (SaaS) business models to easily install a revenue stream.

All in all, this past decade of software has enabled tech savvy businesses to perform their functions more efficiently, honing in on niche models that add value for both consumers and other businesses.


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Small Business Hiring Gains Fire Power

June 12, 2009 Leave a comment

prometheusWe are witnessing the end of an era.   Since the end of World War 2, large companies have controlled the ebb and flow of the US economy: from the reign of the Detroit automakers to the rise of west coast tech moguls like Microsoft and Google.   Small businesses have been the tiny vessels tossed in the wake of gargantuan tankers, forcing their products on consumers through sheer bulk.

The tides are changing though-  the failing American economy has exposed the incapability of big business, spotlighting bullheaded corporate practices and broken supply chains. The changing times have given way to opportunities for smaller businesses to navigate the economic waters through nascent, cost-effective technologies.   Unlike the slow moving behemoths of old, start-ups have the ability to rapidly change direction and adapt to newly minted consumer demands.  Young companies now have access to a plethora of new tools that utilize the internet to minimize costs and maximize efficiency.

One sector that highlights this onset of change between big and small is in the hiring arena.  A recent New York Times article zoned in on the big corporations of Silicon Valley, and how a ‘code of honor’ existed between several companies towards acquiring each other’s talent.    This unwritten pact between several large companies essentially directs their recruiters to stay away from hiring one-another’s star players.

From the New York Times:

Some veteran human resources executives said that hiring was not so much the issue; employees are free to look for work pretty much anywhere. But they say major companies often have an unwritten agreement to not actively poach employees from their partners.

“Most companies have a hands-off list,” said Ken Perluss, who recently left Yahoo as director for talent acquisition after more than 11 years with the company. “It tells recruiters, ‘Don’t recruit from this company. They are our partner.’ ”

These questionable practices have been observed to such an extent that several companies are currently under the watchful eye of the Justice Department for ‘anti-competitive’ practices.  If such practices are actually occurring, where does this leave smaller businesses who could utilize such star talent to an even greater degree?   In the Silicon Valley tech scene,  one great mind could make the difference between a start-up succeeding or failing.  Top level engineers are more likely thrive in innovative start-up environments than in corporate organizational hierarchies that often stifle creativity.

Small tech companies are already threatening larger ones through the development of innovative, viral, and cost-effective online applications.   It was only a few years ago that Facebook and Twitter were still specks on the map.  It is probable that larger tech companies are attempting to keep the recruiting advantage on their court through ‘gentleman’s agreements’ that prevents the transfer of talent to the next generation of Facebooks.

Small businesses and start-ups alike posses the technology to counter-balance these big-business-pacts.  New, simple and cutting-edge hiring software solutions allow small businesses to find and manage the best talent in the business.  In the days of old, providing a recruiting solution that adeptly encompassed recruiter collaboration, seamless applicant management, and easy online access would cost an arm and a leg. Today’s business class tools walk the path of consumer Web 2.0 applications that are meant to promote simplicity and collaboration at a reasonable price point.    Newton Software is one such solution which can allow small businesses to compete with larger corporations in acquiring the best talent on the market.

There are a plethora of other online tools that smaller business have begun to utilize to maximize their efficiency- from collaboration tools like Basecamp to data storage applications like Dropbox.  Even within large corporations like Google and Microsoft- external applications have begun to take off to bolster intra-company collaboration networks.

It would be naive to say big business will simply disappear into the night, suddenly replaced by a multitude of hungry young successors.   The climate will be sure to shift though: economic and technological progress will freeze the mammoths of industry and provide sure-footing for the smaller  innovators.  Perhaps one such innovator will be our next Prometheus, armed with the fire of  technology to light the way for the future.