Business at the Speed of the Atom
Recently, I’ve been thinking about the speed at which we conduct business. Business at the speed of the atom, you could say. Advancements in computer technology, specifically, artificial intelligence, afford us more momentary physical comfort. It’s always been that way. So what’s different, now?
Since the dawn of the First Industrial Revolution, we have consistently been using technology to enhance our level of personal comfort, and luxurious lifestyle. Or if you prefer: get more done in less time.
So far, so good.
What happens, however, whenever our work is providing us with enormous comfort, and grand luxury, albeit dishonestly? What happens when digital software development becomes about lining my pockets, instead of the value I’m bringing to my customers?
Why Should Business Speed Concern Me?
Psychologists see a positive correlation between honest work, and reward for that work (whether monetary, or social), and psychological well-being.
Genuine happiness is impossible without authentic concern for and corresponding behaviour towards the well-being of others. 1Nicole Torka (2019)
It follows, that if I am going to ensure healthy customers, and employees, I need first to design my business accordingly. Business must consider the smallest of atomic structures. As I result, I must take pains to authentically care for the needs of my customers, as well as, my workforce. The operative word here is authentic.
Because, they suffer a disproportionate risk of becoming self-serving, virtual forms of labor, and services are in a dangerous position. With that I mean that we focus on creating software simply to get rich.
What’s the Solution to Atomic Business Speeds?
Honest Digital Development. Simply because something can be made and brought to market to make a buck, doesn’t mean it should be. Try performing the following litmus test before launching your next product or service. Make sure you’re in a private place whenever you do this. Otherwise, there’s great potential for, shameless, disingenuity: i.e. to simply lie your pants off:
The Litmus Test
What Does Honest Digital Business Look Like?
Digital solutions offer a unique opportunity to give an honest answer for how best to close the gap between technology, or the immaterial, and the tangible sides of our lives.
The following are some top-of-mind examples of the kinds of things I’m talking about:
Make it Easier to Purchase Online.
Not ads, or #bullshitmarketing
Remember this is about honesty. Information is key to the buying process. It follows that digital solutions will consistently reveal in context information necessary for me to more quickly, and confidently purchase what I’m looking for. How does your solution help with that?
Supplying People with Information
so they can chart new courses never dreamed of before. This field has been exploding for years, and I’m happy about what I see.
And Thousands More…
These types of solutions may, logically, provide value to all parties involved — a zero-sum-game. Nevertheless, popular culture will tend to err toward the path of least resistance. Presently, this has created a whole generation of stars grabbing microphones, and getting in front of a camera to tell the world about the latest thing which is „sooo cool“.
And they’re right: there are a lot of cool new things out there every day (and I confess: I enjoy watching them too :-)). But who is all those hours of video providing value to? Yep… them (and the publishers and advertisers). It’s a non-zero-sum-game. They get value you get none. Nuff said.
How Do We Stay, atomically, Honest?
I think all the right pieces are at our fingertips and there are certainly several forays making a difference at the crossroads of the digital to tangible value discussion. However, the ease at which digital content is consumed, the amount of increased free-time we have (machines helping us get things done more efficiently and faster), and the low cost of entry to highly professional equipment creates a greater need for business to take an honest look in the mirror and self-correct.
Be Ready to Let Things Die
We want to leave a world for those who come after us to build upon. To do so, we must make an honest effort to wield the weapon of business to increase the quality of LIFE. Not merely the quality of mine.
This influences the way we work at SearchHub and the kind of software and features we ultimately choose to introduce to the market. Daily, we find ourselves at a crossroads, asking: „this is cool but is it really going to help people communicate better with their customers?“ If, after much deliberation, and analyses of the numbers, no compelling proof is found that our wonderful new toy will bring any significant return, it’s shelved. Simple.
We move on.
Let it die.
Think for a moment about the myriad things you have been sold, content you have consumed, which ultimately provide zero value. There is a place for this type of content; for amusement and entertainment, to come down after work. I get it. However, this constant infatuation with entertainment, creates a greater need to restore balance within the order of healthy living, and work-life relationships.
Let’s take this a step further: being able to understand and acknowledge our value, as humans, is essential to our success. We must prioritise time in our day to disconnect from all things digital, look at our loved ones and honestly share our joy in our own productivity. For this to be true, my days’ work must be useful, helpful, and valuable not only to those around me, but to myself as well.
All We Have
Real value is coveted and rare. The speed at which modern business develops grants us a kind of superpower to harness, process and analyse information like never before. We can use it to keep people glued to their screens, or to differentiate and pave the way for something more valuable for everyone involved. TIME. Time is best invested in quality relationships, sustainability, patience, perseverance, long-suffering, love. As society, at large, fills time with more and more Screentime, we begin to lust after these age-old qualities.
Find a way to package these things into your next product, release, or service. You won’t regret it. We don’t.
- Nicole Torka (2019) Honesty and genuine happiness, British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 47:2, 200-209, DOI: 10.1080/03069885.2018.1453600 ↩