Thanksgiving - What technologies are you thankful for?
As Thanksgiving approaches, Americans take pause to give thanks for things like family, friends, health, and general well-being. But what about technology? In the spirit of the holiday, we asked some IT experts what technologies they are most thankful for. While you're here, please use the comments below to share your own.
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Ashish Deshpande, CEO, frevvo, Inc.: "I'm most thankful for open source technology. I started a company called MetaServer that specialized in business process management and a company called frevvo that specializes in Web forms. Open source technology made a world of difference in terms of having the ability to start a company on a shoestring budget. For MetaServer, I had to buy computers, servers and software licenses; and I can't even remember what we did for coding and debugging. For frevvo, all I had to buy were laptops, which are a lot cheaper these days. The server runs on Amazon Web Services. Email and the corporate intranet run on Google Docs, and ticket management runs on Eclipse. Open source enabled us to start from Point A, the concept, and get to Point B, the product, for about $10,000 total, and almost all of that was spent on hardware. For the last 10 years, most of my life has been spent starting, building and working at these two companies, and open source has had a big impact."
B.V. Jagadeesh, CEO/President, 3Leaf Systems: "As an immigrant coming to this country, I'm thankful for the opportunities America provides entrepreneurs to be able to start a company. I'm thankful for the entire environment that exists for the entrepreneur to achieve their dreams and work hard to translate their company into a successful one. The specific technology involved depends on the product and value proposition the entrepreneur sees, but it translates to the end product the customer sees. This includes the entire environment the country provides, including venture capitalists and the whole technology infrastructure, that extends the value [that] the entrepreneur brings to the customer. Ultimately, the idea of making a difference to the customer translates into wealth creation for the entrepreneur, employees, shareholders, and everyone in the whole system."
Vahe Katros, President, Vahe Katros Consulting: "I'm thankful for the Internet. Way back when, we would keep reference books and obscure directories, and be on top of the world when we could find a special report [that] a colleague wrote on a subject. These days, all that information is available through Google, blogs and the other online resources out there. It took the entire progress of technology, from how do you send signals and have them encoded to what do you use to send them over. Standards allow signals to go to multiple machines and work on all of them. Every problem we needed to solve to make information accessible and free is encompassed in what happened with the Internet. It's a mechanism by which everyone can be their own TV station, radio station, movie producer, or book publisher. We built a platform that really puts together the major pieces of how we advanced as a culture in the last 100 years and handed it off to regular people. It's a triumph for human beings."
Steve Rowen, Partner, RSR Research: "As we near the holidays, the technology that I'm probably most thankful for is rapidly becoming online video product reviews. This year, I'm breaking tradition from my usual last-minute shopping ways, and have already given some thought to Christmas gifts I'll be purchasing for loved ones. This means a diminishing amount of time spent visiting stores, and an increasing amount of research conducted on the Web. I'm hoping it goes like it did when shopping for myself earlier this summer. A motorcycle enthusiast, I needed to outfit myself earlier this year with the works: helmet, jacket, pants, spine protector, gloves and boots. For the helmet and boots, I did a fair amount of research online, but ultimately decided that in-store fittings were required. Yet for all of the other items, I found video reviews from one particular retail site comprehensive enough to the point where a store visit wasn't necessary. Do I expect this type of exhaustive (and economical) media for every gift I'm considering purchasing this holiday season? No, but as the online channel continues to gain the favor of time-starved and fuel-angered shoppers who've grown weary of the type of in-store holiday season customer service they've become accustomed to, there's a very good chance we all soon will."
Robert Youngjohns, President, North America Sales & Marketing and Corporate VP, Microsoft: "I'm very interested in retro technologies. I suspect the last time any of us understood how anything worked was a very long time ago. With technologies like mechanical watches and steam engines, you can get your mind around how they work. If you pick up a cell phone or Xbox, you know how to use it, but that's different than knowing how it works. For example, I have a collection of tube amplifiers. They take a signal generated from a piece of vinyl and amplify it; I understand how they work end-to-end. Right now I'm taking the most current technology I have at home, which is a music server that digitizes all my music, and streaming it into the tube amplifiers. The output from these retro pieces of technology is every bit as good as what you might expect from the modern stuff."