Thursday, September 27, 2007

Changing the World One Step at a Time

Every day, we have the opportunity to work with technology companies that, in some way, are changing the world. And, in fact, when we work with them, we really try to focus on how (in their small way) the companies are changing the world. This is very exciting job!

As I have watched the coverage of the Myanmar (formerly Burma) protests against long-standing oppression, I am moved by the fact that the reason we know what's going on is because of the confluence of many small technology advances through the years: the citizens of Myanmar have been able to transmit images and news to the rest of the world because of cell phones and the Internet. It's awe-inspiring to realize that these communications breakthroughs are the result of small steps and contributions from many companies like those we have represented through the years. In this case, it all means that because of many inventions -- often arcane and unheralded -- democracy is being given a chance to emerge (we hope!).

What is the message here? (Of course, there are many messages about the actual political situation in question -- but that is not my focus.) The point I want to make is "think big". When looking at your invention and its place in the world:

  • Be realistic; but
  • Draw the line between your small breakthrough and what it could mean in the long term.

The resulting perspective, in addition to having the potential to make a good story, is likely to provide insight into your positioning and long-term vision.

After all, with all but a few exceptions, most of the really big changes we have seen in the world because of technology have come because of small things that change the world one step at a time.

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