We can talk about the future of technology until we're blue
in the monitor, but actually doing something about it is even more
important. "The best thing small businesses can do now is
leverage the hosted technologies that they're starting to
see," Ravagnani advises. "It gets them ready to take
advantage of the global network we're going to have in the
future because they'll already have their data centrally
You don't have to wait around for cutting-edge technology to
develop. Hooking up with service providers and implementing
wireless technologies are two things you can do today. Streamline
your business and reduce your ownership costs while preparing for
the next wave of innovation. We guarantee business technology 25
years from now will look as different as a Palm VII would have in
1977. But don't worry. As Kienast says, "We're all
going to like it."
When Entrepreneur interviewed a
12-year-old computer whiz kid about the future of computers in
1982, one of the questions asked was what the ultimate computer
would do. The kid replied, "Transfer information like the mail
system, and the post office would become
extinct. Just stay home and talk to the computers, and
the teacher would be at home and give you all the problems from her
house. Do your grocery shopping, keep your financing and pay your
bills." Remember, this is pre-Bill
Gates and pre-Web.
years later, we caught up with our young whiz kid, now-32-year-old
Mark Waldenstrom. With an information systems degree under his
belt, he's working as a project manager for Libertyville,
Illinois, Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, an application
development company. We asked him how computers have changed since
we last spoke. "They've been demystified. You look back 20 years ago, and they were these things
that everyone sort of feared and never saw being
intertwined in our lives as much as they are now."
He's not programming space games like
he predicted when he was 12, but Waldenstrom does sometimes put 10
hours per day into Intel systems, servers and large databases. He
foresees a healthy future for computers and software refining the
way we work in business and industry. But with a 1-year-old son of
his own, his perspective has also changed: "The important
things are no longer plugged into the wall."
One statement the young Waldenstrom made
still stands strong today: "A computer is only as good as the
person who inputs."
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This article was originally published in the May 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Teching Order.
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