Dr. John D. Sanders • 843-491-6060john@johnsanders.com

"Wild Frontier"

In the current issue of Business Week magazine that I am reading, there is an article on "Into the Wild Frontier" that takes a look at the future of Information Technology and the "digital frontier." Wow! If you think that today is already mind-boggling, then get your mind in gear to race forward.

To relate just a couple of the ideas for the next two decades: 1- A whole new metaphor for computing is taking shape that, based upon biological organisms, machines of the future will learn to diagnose, repair, and even replicate themselves; and, 2- There will be explosive growth of communications, computing, memory, wireless and broadband technology.

Would you disagree with these two ideas? I wouldn’t-- and the stock market doesn’t seem to either. We are being forewarned at every turn that technology is advancing at an accelerating pace. Yes, we’ve been told that for as long as I can remember. A couple of decades ago, the metaphor was that information was doubling every ten years. However, I don’t want to even speculate on what that metaphor would be in today’s world.

For those of us who are participating in this continuing revolution there is a clear message. There is no time to relax, or to expect that whatever we’re working on won’t be affected by this development pace. How does one plan for the marketplace of the future to develop products or design services that relate at all to the information age? How do you allocate people and capital resources when the market is obviously going to be different than it currently is? The term "wild frontier" is truly descriptive; the environment for development and implementation seems to have no rules that you can plan on. Just get up every morning and go "pan for gold" or "race to the land-rush."

I happen to believe that although the "big guys" will dominate the technological developments and even dictate much of the market usage, there is ever more room for the smaller guys to participate in new products and services and to penetrate the new markets. That growth mentioned above in communications and computing is ever-increasing the opportunities for reaching the markets; but remember that it is increasing for everyone-- that’s both the good and the bad. You can get there, but everyone else can also. Just turn on your computer, connect, and click.

The key to your development plans is "capital commitment." That’s the case for individuals, organizations and the nation. If you don’t allocate, then there is the probability of running out of money-- and that’s the ultimate management mistake. Don’t get into developments that move faster than your ability to commit capital-- whether it’s the R&D or the marketing phase. Identify the other players in the field of your endeavor and evaluate the overall abilities to fully accomplish the goals. If budgets are in jeopardy or you’re not in positive cash flow, then the odds are that you will not be among the survivors and winners in the wild frontier.

I would appreciate comments; contact me at Technology Business magazine: phone: 703-610-8787; e-mail: john@johnsanders.com; internet: www.johnsanders.com.

prepared for the July, 1997 Issue of the FLC NewsLink