In the first lecture, we will discuss what technology is, how it evolves, and what it means to have a technology strategy. For the first lecture, please read and be ready to discuss the following articles (articles in Blackboard unless otherwise noted):
- Chapter 1 (The Information Economy) in Shapiro and Varian. Available here for those who haven’t yet bought the book.
- Malone, T. W. and J. F. Rockart (1991). "Computers, Networks and the Corporation." Scientific American (September): 128-136.
- Sherman, S. P. (1984). "Microsoft’s drive to dominate software." Fortune (January 23): 82-90.
- Andersen, E. (2005) The S-curves of Sinks, and Technology. Ubiquity. Volume 6, Issue 9. (Podcast here (MP3, about 9MB).)
For those who want to plow a bit deeper, read Neal Stephenson’s brilliant essay In the beginning…was the command line and see this video. Actually, try to do that, all of you.
Here are a few questions to get you thinking:
- What are Malone & Rockart’s key arguments? To what extent were they right about how information technology would influence corporations? What did they get wrong?
- Which parts of Microsoft’s strategy worked — and which didn’t? Imagine you were an interested technology investor in January 1984: Would you have invested in Microsoft based on this article and the company’s strategy?
- Why is technology understanding important for general managers? Why is it not? How much do you need to know about technology to manage a technology-based organization?
- What does it mean when we use the term "an information economy"?
- (for those diving into Stephenson) Which technologies are currently in the technosphere, which are on their way out, which are coming in? How would you know where a technology is?
And here are two assignments I would like to you do before class starts:
- Visit this page, and set yourself up for the Wikipedia assignment, which will go throughout the course.
- Sign up for Twitter, follow @espenandersen, and look out for #gra6821 (and maybe #gra6825)