MIT, CNBC, Wall Street Journal, and others are declaring every business is a tech company now.

Technology is pervasive in all businesses and saying “every company is a tech company” makes a sexy headline. It’s like the new version of pronouncing email dead; while untrue, it’s easy to build a case for the claim.

I’m sitting here with a several-year-old Laptop and phone. Either device gives me way more computing power than NASA had in 1969 when they successfully sent a manned mission to the moon.

If I could go back in time with fully working, (magically internet connected) technology of 2019, I would be beyond the level of any computer scientist in the 40’s. I could do things none of them could dream of…

“Mr. Turing I’m just letting the Watson API figure out this code, you can take a nap.”

That’s not because I’m a technical wizard. A toddler can work an iPad, but Sir Isaac Newton certainly couldn’t have built one. The fact technology has progressed does not mean everyone is a computer scientist. We all have access to huge amounts of data, but we are not all data scientist.

IT Spending Will Increase

Yes, IT spending is going to increase, more companies will hire CTOs, CIOs, and consultants to pick the right technologies. Review sites and programmatic technology suggestions will be important to businesses of every size. But I can’t imagine it’s that different from every historic change resulting from new technologies, like the telegraph or the phone.

We have examples of businesses in most of recorded history. In most of that time, no examples of phones exist. After Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, a period of time when every business had a phone. And now we have reached a point where some business is don’t like giving their phone numbers out.

The most tech-savvy of companies seem to force contact through layers of automated chat systems. Eventually, perhaps a text conversation with a real person and maybe a phone call if at some point that person gives you their number. It probably will be their number, and it will leave the business with the employee. As more companies support a bring your own device plan.

If you mean every company is a tech company because they all have access to so much technology, that’s true. Every company has access to technology that could strike a 22-year-old Philip Emeagwali with awe. But most of that technology works with shockingly little training or original development.

Technology is Getting Easier

You don’t have to become an engineer to drive a car, and you don’t have to be a developer to build a website. In 2019 we have a plethora of what you see is what you get site builder options. I’m not a fan of most of them, but compare any website builder with an early 90s hand-coded HTML website. Not only are the sites easier to build, they are also notably better.

Not every company is now or needs to become a tech company. Everyone can use technology and have it be surprisingly painless. A toddler using the iPad is not a result of extensive training. The child is not a computer scientist. And even when companies in retail, real estate, and oil & gas invest in technology, they do not automatically become tech companies.

Header image by rawpixel / Pixabay

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