GRA6821/GRA6825: First, introductory lecture

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):

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:

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. 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?
  4. What does it mean when we use the term "an information economy"?
  5. (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:

  1. Visit this page, and set yourself up for the Wikipedia assignment, which will go throughout the course.
  2. Sign up for Twitter, follow @espenandersen, and look out for #gra6821 (and maybe #gra6825)