Monday, May 19, 2008

Frontier America

In today's WSJ online Michael Malone has a very interesting essay. His theory is that the new American Frontier is one of technology, and that technology will create a nation of entrepreneurs.

This certainly seems plausible. The internet has penetrated the market faster than television did. It enables anyone, anywhere to work with anyone, anywhere else. Communications are rapid and global. The millennial generation and those following it for the most part do not anticipate having an employer. One of his observations is that 20% of Intel employees have never met their boss face to face and 10% of them never expect to. Surveys of other technology companies show those numbers to be on the low side.

For many of us the commute has already been reduced so that it is now from the kitchen to the spare bedroom, which is now an office. Business is transacted with other people all over the world with no more than telephone and email exchanges. This revolutionizes business and forces corporate America to scramble to adjust. Talented people will go to work for the competitor if you tell them they must show up at an office in Dallas at 8 A.M. and work until 5:00 P.M., when their preference is to work from home in Happy, Texas from 10:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. Entrepreneurs and small companies are nimble and can adjust, large corporations have structure which is more difficult to alter.

The future looks very different than the present, but it is a bright and interesting one.

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