All technology is in the communications business -- the tools you use can also compute, yet their main purpose is to deliver data to applications. As Geoffrey Moore posted in the beginning of this year from Davos, the shifting power equation from computing systems that communicate to communication systems that compute means
For communications vendors—including companies like Cisco, Motorola, AT&T, and Akamai—the opportunity is to smarten their pipes. This entails a migration of value creation into the network, achieved by computing more and more on the data it carries while it is carrying it. All forms of behavioral targeting, real-time transaction resolutions, and the like call out for this shift.
For computing vendors—including IBM, HP, Dell, EMC, Oracle, and SAP—the opportunity is in the opposite direction: to reframe their offers to accentuate their role in a communications system. This means redesigning the PC, its peripherals, the database, the applications, the storage architecture, the middleware stack, and a portion of the server base to shift from automating transactions to feed systems of record (people in service to computers) to enabling interactions to drive relationships of value (computers in service to people).
In other words, people who are fluent in communication rise to the top in a connected world. This concept reminds me of what Nassim Nicholas Taleb says in his article for Forbes.com -- you cannot predict who will change the world
The technologies that run the world today (like the Internet, the computer and the laser) are not used in the way intended by those who invented them.
It is high time to recognize that we humans are far better at doing than understanding, and better at tinkering than inventing.
Give someone something like this post to read and she will be able to poke holes into it. It's the luckiest post that gets the attention, randomly -- right place, right time; just like it's the lucky technology that gets the funding and buzz. Conversation has a role in that.
There is a random quality to the way our brain attaches itself to the tinkering of an idea and the different use of an object than the one it was designed for. Have you ever watched children at play? Their stories are so much more concrete and practical and at the same time fantastic than can ever be arranged on purpose. They make it up as they go along.
And so do we in conversation, where we flow with insights and thoughts depending on who is there. It kind of makes me wish we could all arrange meetings to be quick conversations where we get to the point fast, then we spend the rest of the time taking those insights into action, tinkering with them. We may not be able to predict who will change the world, but we can expose our ideas and selves to the environment where the tinkering is going on -- and hopefully, we will do some of the changing for ourselves. The future surely does not look like the way we imagined, instead it looks a lot more similar to where we came from.