The Nathans Episode 3: Don’t think you’re a technology company? Think again.

Episode 3 pic

By: Nathan Frey  |  Featuring: Nathan Shannon

Yes, every company is a Technology Company.  But how you ask? Rather than spout cliché theories,  the best way to answer that question is to provide you with real world examples.  Think about FedEx.  They are not known as a “Tech” company but think about all the technology they employ. How do you think they can track and ship nearly 10 million packages a day?  Simple… LOTS of technology. Behind each little package scan is a vast network of machines and software creating a successful business.

Let’s consider other companies who aren’t known as technology companies, but leverage it in order to gain an edge over their competitors.  Redbox used a superior robotic system and created DVD kiosks, grocery stores implemented self-checkout lanes to save cost on employees, and  banks have locations with no employees and use complex ATM machines to perform the functions of a teller.

Most companies have adopted the concept of virtualization which cuts overhead costs of physical PC’s and allows employees to use a “virtualized” desktop from anywhere that has an internet connection.  So, if you are in any business, I can assure you that you are in the technology industry.  And if you aren’t should you be?

Here are a few examples of companies who failed to innovate and adapt to newer forms of technology and are now second tier or nonexistent: Blockbuster, Kodak, Xerox, Blackberry (identified as a “tech” company), Yahoo, MySpace, Hostess,  oh ya, and the entire newspaper industry which companies like LinkedIn and Craigslist dominated. To shed some light on how this whole technology idea relates to your customer’s experience, I decided to bug Nathan Shannon so as to get his gut-reaction on the matter—Let’s see how this goes…

Me: (in usual manner) Hey Shannon!

Shannon: (appearing busy) Hrmm?

Me: How’s your day buddy?

Shannon: (while not missing a keystroke on his computer) What do you want–I’m busy.

Me: (in a demanding manner) If you had to choose to buy a product or service from one of two companies which one would you pick?

Shannon: (turns around looking annoyed) The one I like more.

Me: (feeling chagrin) Ya, thanks…But why would you like them more?

Shannon: (now sighing while he answers) I would check their Yelp reviews, word of mouth from people I know, if they seem professional or not, or if their product is somehow cooler or has more features.

Me: (pausing) …So, what your saying is if you had to choose between a shark and a shark with laser beams on its head, which would you choose?

Shannon: (smiling and nodding his head) Uhh.. Laser Beams!

We laugh briefly and he quietly mumbles “but seriously I’m busy” and returns to his work while I add a “Buy Austin Powers” entry into my Outlook calendar.

Let’s face it, Dr. Evil wasn’t the best person from a management point of view, but he was a heck of a marketer and knew that laser beams on sharks would differentiate him from the other Evil Doctors out there.  The key to surviving and growing in any industry is innovation and differentiation.  Technology is what provides the tools to do this.  It’s a way to take your imaginative ideas and turn them into business strategy.

Let’s apply Dr. Evil’s strategy to our real world example from earlier, RedBox, they put Blockbuster and many other video rental stores out of business, but how? RedBox automated the service that Blockbuster provided; the user experience was not affected negatively and the same DVD was a fraction of the price. RedBox also made their kiosks accessible by placing them in locations people were regularly visiting grocery stores, retail stores, and gas stations. RedBox was more convenient, cost less, and you get the same DVD in the end. Success!

Even if you don’t think you have the finances to “invest in IT” you should reconsider what your technology does for you.  Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I feel that the technology I have is worth the investment I made into it?
  2. Is my business growing faster than my operational capabilities?
  3. Am I losing my customers or not gaining any?
  4. Can my company survive if the technologies we use stop working?

Simply put, every company is a technology company.  It is intertwined in our society and businesses are finding out that every effective business strategy must include technology (email, websites, POS systems, etc).  Let us help you leverage it.  It’s why we’re here at Helixstorm, it’s what we do, and it’s how we make you successful.