As Technology Changes, Do You?

The Internet is awash with articles discussing the rapidly changing pace of technology. If we look back on how technology impacted our lives ten years ago, we see a very different picture compared with today. Going back to an even further twenty years ago, it seems almost unbelievable to see how we have advanced in such a short space of time.

So how rapid is the change? One thing for sure is that the degree or rate of change is speeding up. This indicates that major disruptive change that was expected to have occurred over a 10-year period could now happen over a 5-year period, or even faster. In 2010 Gartner predicted that Cloud Computing, Cloud/Web Platforms and the Media Tablet were 5 to 10 years away from mainstream adoption. In three short years I think we are already there. 3D Printing was positioned as a greater than 10-year period till mainstream adoption, and we are already seeing great strides and acceptance in this technology area. gartner-priority-matrix-09-10-111

The reason for the acceleration in technology development is probably two fold. Firstly we have a global IT industry that continues to broaden and diversify. Forbes places Tech jobs as one of the highest growing sectors, fueled primarily by Big Data, Cloud Computing, and a growing interest in molecular computing. The second reason for the rapid change is consumer demand. The consumers hunger for faster, longer battery life, lighter, more mobility, more features etc. is driving the pressure to manufacturers of both software and hardware to continually innovate. So as long as these two market forces persist, my advice is to fasten your seat belt and prepare for an awesome journey.

What do we have to look forward to? Gartner is positioning 3D Bio Printing, Human Augmentation, mobile robots, and quantum computing as the 10-year vision. We now know, we can probably expect these transformational technologies a lot sooner.

The question to ask yourself is, “How do you prepare for the technology changes that are going to impact your life?” One major decision you will need to make is, what is your consumer profile? Are you an early adopter, or will you wait on the sidelines to see if a technology will be worth your time and effort to invest energy into it? Lets face it, technology change does require energy and relearning. From something as simple as purchasing a new cell phone, to working the latest Business Intelligence tools, you will need to retrain the old brain.

To me the answer is simple. If you intend to be in the IT industry or want to ensure that you benefit from the latest technology, then you need to make the commitment to setting aside time to learn, and re-learn. Remember to forget what you learnt 5 years ago. That technology has moved on. For you to remain relevant in this market, view your knowledge as a depreciating asset. Unless you are adding new knowledge and skills continuously, you will be passed by, like last years cell phone model in a retail store.

Go ahead and make the investment in the most valuable asset you own, yourself.

Create your life.

Why You Want To Be An Entrepreneur

In my previous article entitled “Why you do not want to be an entrepreneur”, I focused on some of the aspects one might missIMG_0251 when making the move from a corporate environment to an entrepreneurial lifestyle of starting and owning your own business. As promised there is a very positive flip side to that conversation. In this article, the second in the series, I am going to focus on three positive aspects of being an entrepreneur.  I call these “The three C’s of entrepreneurialism”. These are Consuming, Creating and Crafting.

I feel that it is these three factors that draw people into becoming an entrepreneur. It’s not about not having a boss. We always have a boss of some kind, or someone to answer to, even if it’s the bank. It’s not about having your own time. When you are not working on the business in the early stages, it is not progressing. It’s not about the money. Most entrepreneurs struggle a great deal to get to the stage of being financially secure and making enough to retire. It is about the three C’s. Consuming, Creating and Crafting.

Consuming

Entrepreneurs are people of passion. They are typically drawn to a business idea like no other individual. The idea hatches in their mind like a small little bird. This little bird grows up very quickly until it consumes the individual so much, that they see no other route other than moving it from an idea to a business. Entrepreneurs will defend their business till the last, putting in all their resources to ensure it’s survival. They can spend hours on end telling you why their business is essential and the best thing since sliced cheese (sliced bread is so passé). The business idea consumes them. Not only their conversations, but also their time and their mind. The entrepreneur is constantly looking for ways to advance the business or areas to promote it.  There is no doubt that a true entrepreneur is consumed by the notion of growing their business.

Creating

The process of starting a business has been compared to giving birth to a child. In the beginning, it needs total attention. You cannot leave it alone for a moment. You need to feed it money. Ensure that it grows. Teach it things so that it matures and grows into a responsible adult that can fend for itself. It is this process of creating that can be so fulfilling for any entrepreneur. A tremendous feeling of satisfaction overcomes one when you look back and see what has grown from something that was once an idea is now a fully functioning business. If you have done things correctly, you are even proud of the systems and the processes in place. You have created something from nothing. You were the artist, and indeed the process is as satisfying as creating a work of art.

Crafting

Very few businesses end up looking exactly like the vision you had of them in the beginning. The crafting process is about making refinements along the way. Taking the advice from what the market is telling you and fine-tuning your offering into the awesome product or service that people are crying out for. We are the crafters in this process like a blacksmith beats a piece of iron into a sword, we mold the business into its evolving form. We also craft the business with our personality. In businesses with co-founders the business is crafted using the inputs and personalities of both of the individuals, in much the same way that a child hold genes from both parents. It’s the ultimate nature – nurture combination, where the idea or concept forms the nature and the individuals nurture it into the final product.

The Three C’s of entrepreneurship can be extremely fulfilling. It’s these concepts that draw people in and keep them consumed in their work, creating and crafting as the process continues. If you feel that these are concepts that you identify with, then being an entrepreneur may be the route for you. So be bold, take the leap, and define your future. Create your life.

Why You Do Not Want To Be An Entrepreneur.

There are so many articles out there telling you to be the master of your own destiny. To stand on your own entrepreneurship with you hand firmly on the rudder.  The media report article after article about successful entrepreneurs, making millions by doing their thing. Living the life. Cars, travel, mansions at the sea, ahhh the life.  In this, the first of a series of two articles, I provide a realistic view of what making the break from corporate creature to an entrepreneurial existence is about.

Viewing entrepreneurs from the outside, usually leaves many employees drooling at what seems like such an awesome existence. We wonder why we have not made the move.  We question our existence, which seems like it is somewhat less of an achievement compared to these daring and brave entrepreneurs who have taken the path less traveled and succeeded. What they don’t focus on are the “failures” or the difficulties on the path.

Well, having come from a nice “cozy” (it actually is quite tough) corporate background, and then moving into the entrepreneurial sphere, I wanted to take the opportunity to bring some reality into the equation. Having spent plenty time with other entrepreneurs I can also tell you that my experience is not unique.

So firstly lets look at the reality and the things you will miss if you make the move from that nice “cozy” job in a corporate environment to the entrepreneurial business owner world.

What you will miss:

Support

When you are in a large company, it’s great to be able to call on others for support. Doing a function? Bring in the marketing team. Spread the load and the responsibility. The entrepreneur has to go it alone in the beginning. You need big shoulders for the load and the responsibility.

Systems

You know all those systems that you moan about having to learn. Invoicing, stock control, HR, payroll…yep you have to have them so happy hunting for the best solution. Again, you are all on your own here.

Benefits

Lets see, pension fund, provident fund, medical aid, paid leave, yup I remember them as a pleasant distant memory. The startup entrepreneur needs to forgo all these pleasures till the business gets going.

A pay check

I remember the thrill of month end when ones bank account would suddenly be resuscitated back to life and all would be well in the world again. As an entrepreneur the business needs to be nurtud and looked after and ones pay check might need to go to the back of the line while the business grows.

Colleagues

There is comfort in knowing that there are others who are going through the same experience as you. It may be the joy of closing a big deal or just moaning about the boss, there is comfort in sharing. If you are a single entrepreneur in your business it can be a lonely place. Having a co-founder can be a great help and is highly recommended.

Some of the above may seem trivial, but you will be surprised at the small things that one takes for granted.

Now, don’t be despondent. There is gold in those mountains, if you are willing to climb them. In my next article, I will cover why you actually do want to be an entrepreneur and all the positives that go with it. There are pro’s and con’s and only you can decide. Create your life.