Are We Living In The Past? Technologically Speaking [A Business Question]

So just a little about me, I did my Master in Business Administration from 2005–07. The purpose of telling you this is for context. Because in the last stage of that degree we had to do Strategic Management class to graduate from the degree. In that class we watched a video that basically looked like what Amazon is doing right now in the earlier part of the video presented above.

The past video I watched in class used a supermarket like Amazon, and they used the same concept of putting all the things you wanted to buy in your basket and when you are done shopping you could just walk away and paid for it wirelessly (I think if I remembered correctly they would charge it to your card).

That was in 2007. 11 years ago. This amazon video above is in 2018. Also, Korea have been using phone to pay at the check out for a while now as well. I am mentioning it because the only difference that video had with this amazon one is the payment source (card vs mobile), but that is a very small difference because we already had the technology but was not using it properly.

“Mobile payment technology has been available since early 2000 but it failed to take off for various reasons … but today’s agreement is a small step toward mutual growth going forward,” the head of the Korea Communications Commission said in a statement.

So is the present moment we are living in, the past? Or maybe, the technology for advancement was always there but it takes over a decade or more for human to finally catch up to allow it to permeates their day to day life.

For example, I remember in early 2000s cars already have a function called cruise control (at least in a Mercedez Benz C-Class, from memory). This function allows for the car to drives itself alongside smooth and uncomplicated terrain, albeit with a human driver. Something that Tesla is now known for. It is not new, but of course the difference is, the goal of Tesla is that for the cars to be able to be transported purely without any human driver at all and for it to be controlled (hopefully safely) by a remote computer. Note, I don’t personally think it will be a bad thing, since we could send things over dangerous part of the world without putting a real person in harms way. The benefits I think outweighs the potential dangers.

But back to business, back in 2007, I worked with a small business that use the usual CRM software system and also website with a simple e-commerce model attached. They used the website to sell seminars and products of those seminars to the students (the OG model of webinars these days). The online payment gateway used back then was E-Way. It is still around today. But even then, using e-way in my opinion was not as efficient as using Paypal. Even then, it was obvious to me that you could just streamline business’ operation simply by the existence of PayPal.

When I suggested the idea to the owner of the business, his reply was a standard, no. The funny thing was, the owner franchised the business model to a company in Singapore, and when one of the representatives of that company came by, she basically said “We used Paypal, it is easier and a lot more efficient.” I just shot eye daggers at my boss.

Of course now, eleven years later, and twenty years after PayPal was created, it had become a standard payment method across the internet. The new thing now is crypto currency (still trying to learn about it, and if I have money, I would definitely invest in it). E-Commerce is not new. And yet, I only now starting to see PayPal being integrated to accounting software system to accommodate new generations of internet merchants.

If you are in mid thirties, you have been living with the internet for almost half your life now and the best part about it is, you have seen enough and experienced enough and not naive anymore.

So, do we live in the past? Maybe not. It depends what your interest lay at the end of the day. If you are in to technology even at a low level like me, you might feel like that, but it is bound to happen as most people have other interests that they like to focus on in life and advancing one’s life through technology might not be priority, hence the adoption lag.

This is the end of the discussion relating to specifically business topic, this article continues below at a personal level for a little bit longer. If you wish to read it, please continue. If not, thanks for reading this far.

On a personal level, I am currently trying (not successfully: overqualified, too old, a woman, you name it, I have it) to get a day job at the moment, and all these older people kept telling me the fact that I have been out of ‘employment’ for six years put me at a disadvantage when it comes to technology. Most of them just said “It has changed a lot” Looking at me as if to say Girl you have been out of the game too long, you don’t know what is going on. Of course, I know that they are wrong.

And if you are like me and you are in your mid thirties and been told the same thing, don’t listen to them, especially if you have been using the internet since you were at Uni. Let me tell you why. All the things we used to do on the internet and called play are now only being used by businesses as new technology. That is more than a decade lag of the usage of technology.

For example as an undergraduate (teenager) I was like any other teenage girls then, i.e. I was in my fan girling stage of life. The difference of course, at that time I was fan girling over K-Pop boy band (yeah, I am one of those first generation K-Pop boy band fan girl, sixteen years and going- BTS was in diapers). This was back in 2002–05 ( I am old, we established this ) and my friend decided for us to do a group blog by using Blogger. Yupe, blogging was a thing too sixteen years ago. What I realised now but I didn’t then, was that, back then, the audience the internet had intended for, were not old enough or were not born yet.

My friend had decided to create another blog site dedicated for the international fans of K-Pop, the site was not even up and running for too long before someone offered her $2,000.00/ month just to put a banner ad on that site. A thing, that beginner bloggers would dream of now of course.

This was happening in 2002–03. And if you were part of a university life (in Australia anyway) you would have been integrated to the internet as the essential way for you to communicate and register for everything in your student life. You had to do self serve on boarding to the university system back in 2000, from finding out your results to registering your details, getting your student id card, everything you could do on the University’s intranet system yourself. The process now is of course I assume would be easier (been out of the system a while)because I assume you can just do it on an app.

For me, an app is just another word of saying that the website now can be seen and interact with from your mobile phone. From my perspective anyway. It is merely a cosmetic thing and not necessarily a technological or technical difference.

Why did I bring this? Because, only now 18 years later that corporations are using the same technology to on board new clients and new employees. Now the Software that used to be segregated are finally integrated in the cloud (i.e. internet). Gone the days, where you have to download something, transport that to a different computer, burn it via a CD then upload it to the next computer to run the program. Now, you can have the payment, the accounting system, the HR systems all in one. But this system already existed, but was not utilised. Because no one bothered to learn about it. See, people are not as motivated as you might think. They just want to do their job, get paid and go home and play. I didn’t know that. I thought everyone strives for improvement.

So when these old timers looked at me and said with eyes open wide “It has changed a lot” in reference to technology, I don’t blink an eye. Because I know their point of reference is probably from 1998’s technology.

It reminded me when I was back in fifth grade where my school started to introduced English to the curriculum (English is not my first language, I came to Australia when I was 14 y.o. and started using English daily since then — -FYI). And I just looked at this teacher in her fifties teaching basic English, and I was extremely frustrated, because she taught it wrong. She pronounced it wrong, and explained things that I knew was not true.

I didn’t know that no else knew that she was teaching the wrong thing, and of course as a very insecure introvert I did not say a word. The reason I knew it was wrong was because I have been taking English lesson for the past three years before then from an Indian teacher who basically had English education (he spoke with an English accent, India was British colony for the longest time). So I had been taught by basically a native English speaker (albeit via India).

The internet was my English teacher and my fifth grade class is the masses now, being taught by an outdated people who are not even in the game long enough to explain what is happening but reaping the upward trend of technology implementation in the workplace. Of course, you would only know this if you have been exposed to it before.

This was also the cause that made me took the risk in 2012 after the death of my mother, to went off on my own and tried to see what I could make out of myself. Life is too short. I went and travelled to Europe and there I realised there was many stores that Australia did not have. I realised that Australia was lagging way behind the rest of the world, in Technology, in Business, in Retail, and that was a good thing, for me. Because now, even after six years out of the employment game, I know that I am probably way ahead in term of my knowledge in technology and business implementation.

The future is the present, as the present is the past. This is not a metaphysical thing. You must believe in yourself. The world is always constantly churning out new things, but it is not as new as you think. It goes in cycle. As I have learned to love K-Pop sixteen years ago, now the new wave of teenager finally caught on the fever as well, and the cycle is now back in motion. K-Pop is now back in the media (well in my media).

It is an example, you are not too late. Better yet, you might be very, very, very early. So keep trying, whatever it is that you are trying to do in life. If it does not work out, maybe it is just merely a no right now and come back to it later when you are more experienced, and try again.

Live your life now. Be Present. xoxo