Technology is everywhere. From the cars we drive to the refrigerators that store our food, technology has transformed the way we work, eat, sleep, communicate, etc. It has taken over almost all aspects of our lives and changed the way we live.
But is this a good thing?
To shed light on the future of technology and how it is impacting entrepreneurship, I sat down with Cliff Oxford, who has more than 25 years of experience in the tech industry.
Previously, Cliff started his own information technology company, STI Knowledge, Inc., which specialized in the development of knowledge-based systems and services for Fortune 1000 companies. He grew STI Knowledge into a global technology leader with offices in the United States, Britain, South Africa, India, Hong Kong and the Philippines. For three consecutive years, STI made the Inc. 500 list of the fastest-growing private companies. Today, he is the founder of the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs and a columnist for Forbes and the New York Times. He is also a member of the SMB Experts, an Oracle-sponsored panel comprised of today’s SMB thought leaders.
Continue reading to see what Cliff had to say about technology.
Brian Moran: Are your members at the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs building technology companies, or are they building companies that rely on technology to grow their businesses?
Cliff Oxford: It's the 80:20 rule. Eighty percent of our members have technology-enabled businesses, and the remaining 20 percent are pure tech companies.
Brian Moran: What’s the wildest tech innovation that you’ve seen in 2017?
Cliff Oxford: I give that award to the digital pill, Abilify, an anti-psychotic drug with a sensor built into it. When patients swallow it, the medical team can capture data straight from their stomachs. It’s a whole new world in medicine!
Brian Moran: What about all this big data? I read somewhere that the world produced more information or content in the past two years than it had in all previous years combined. How can entrepreneurial companies analyze all of the data they have access to and still make rational decisions regarding the needs of their customers and prospects? Separately, can big data and cognitive computing help entrepreneurs run their companies more efficiently?
Cliff Oxford: There is information and disinformation; needles and hay. In some cases, data can help entrepreneurs see things in a new way. It can make the buying experience for their customers a better one or make running their companies more efficient. In other instances, new data just provides a different way to see the same problem; it doesn’t really help companies move the ball forward.
When it comes to cognitive computing and harnessing new data, the key is to never lose focus on the end-goal. The question that always needs to be asked is, “how is this helping us better serve our customers or helping us run a better business?” If you can’t answer that question in 0.5 seconds, then you probably have hay in your hands with no needles.
Brian Moran: As we finish up 2017 and start to get ready for 2018, what advice would you give to our readers—the owners of growing, entrepreneurial businesses?
Cliff Oxford: Be curious, well read and don't quit.