programming, technology

Hello World!

Welcome, dear reader!

This is a blog about technology, innovation, and change. I hope to take stock of what are some incredibly interesting times, both on a personal level and a global level.

On a personal level, I just finished my first year of b-school at Columbia. It flew by. Although I’ve been exposed to a lot of ideas, I haven’t really internalized all the great stuff I’ve learned. In part, I hope to use the space here to solidify some useful concepts by applying them – when appropriate – to the world of technology ventures.

It just so happens that I recently started to program at a coding school called General Assembly. I’m interested in technology but don’t have a computer science or engineering background. So I’ve decided to plunge into tech by learning some of the languages and frameworks that power the web: HTML/CSS, JavaScript, Node, Ruby on Rails, Angular, among others. In this blog, I hope to share, think through, and hone “granular” concepts that will initially seem difficult or novel to me.

But if I’m a business student, why am I learning to code? It’s a valid question, and one that was asked a lot by my classmates who are on their way to top consulting and finance firms. Here’s my take.

On a global level, technology is having an unprecedented impact. Of course, technology has always had a huge impact in the world. This time around, however, the ensuing change will be more diffused and profound than ever before.

Smartphones will account for over 50% of all cell phones within the next decade. A billion+ people who have never had access to a computer or been connected to the Internet will soon come online. This means that business models and industry structures in every corner of the world will be completely redefined. It’s already happening in the US. On balance, this is a good thing.

Today, most businesses outside the software industry consider technology an ancillary support function. Indeed, technology is often relegated to a musty “IT Department,” operating as a cost center. But the businesses of the future are baking technology into their core operations. Is Uber a transportation or tech company? Is Airbnb a lodging firm or a tech firm? The lines that divide technology firms and traditional businesses are being blurred – quickly.

Going forward, having a team of software engineers and UX designers will become the business norm. To be effective, future business leaders must be able to communicate, challenge, and empathize with their developers. Understanding the flow and logic behind the codebase will become as important as being able to read and analyze financial statements.

Too many outside Silicon Valley still find these assertions to be outlandish. My hope is that this blog helps you think otherwise.