Information Is Valuable

Jim Blasingame

In the 1999 annual report of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, titled “The New Paradigm,” President Robert McTeer said, “In the new Economy, information is more important to economic success than money or machinery.”

Has information become that valuable? Consider this:

If you discover something today, because of the latest electronic technologies, you can share it with your friends, associates and customers within minutes, worldwide.

Imagine how the pace of human development would’ve changed if everyone on the planet could have learned how to create fire within minutes of its initial discovery.

And if that had been possible, would the real value have been fire, or the ability to share the information quickly and efficiently?

Welcome to the Information Age, where the democratization of information has shifted our value paradigms.

As the Information Age unfolds before us, let’s look at two events that dramatize the need to focus on opportunities and threats that may be in store for our organizations.

1. Terrorists attack New York City on 9-11-01. As a result of this attack, thousands of displaced employees began working from home, virtually the next day. In time, when the newly acquired office space was ready for their return, many of them were not.

Armed with laptops and the Internet, these employees had become successful teleworkers.

Working from wherever you are isn’t a reality for everyone – yet. But it’s becoming so for more and more people every day.

Employees and managers alike are discovering that in the 21st century, work can be done, goals can be met and success is possible without having every member of your organization under one roof.

Fifty years from now, there will be many empty tall buildings; not because of terrorism, but because of technology.

How are your infrastructure and human resources requirements changing in the Information Age?

2. Boeing moved its headquarters to Chicago at the beginning of the 21st century. Was something wrong with Seattle, Boeing’s home since early in the last century?

No. The reason for the move was to begin the process of distancing Boeing’s future, aerospace and technology, from it’s past, building jet airliners.

Business travel is an important revenue stream for airlines. But as video-conferencing technologies become more elegant, portable and affordable, business trips (perhaps even some trips to grandma’s) will become less necessary.

Boeing saw technology as more threatening to airlines than terrorism.

And while governments may declare war on terrorism, businesses must embrace technology.

The good news for small businesses in the Information Age is that, structurally, we should be good at embracing change. The bad news is that sometimes, it’s hard to get that through our heads.

Write this on a rock… As you manage your business in the Information Age, are you a lover or a fighter?

Jim Blasingame
Small Business Expert and host of The Small Business Advocate Show
©2008 All Rights Reserved

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