During the good ole days, businesses were carried out as a means to share the extra produce and make some earnings. At the time, the earnings were often one thing exchanged for another, which was required by the person. The quantity would have differed, as agreed under the then used barter system. Gradually, the metal (coins), and then the currency changed the way how the business transactions were carried out. If I were born during the early nineteenth century, I would have known more details, however, I could only speculate now. People had to walk miles to reach the market place, since they had no means of travel. Years later, with advancement in technology, people started getting access to different modes of travel and communication. For a person dealing in the local market, it opened doors to vast customer base, and eventually to outside world.
I believe, it was the risk taking capability of the individual which pushed them to expand the business or not. Some were afraid of the prospects, while others did not had the resources. A few of them, who took the risks, didn’t know to manage the business at the large scale. Then of course, there were people who kept pushing and were successful. Most of the business empires, which exist today, are result of constant adaptation and upgradation. They worked different businesses, lost margins, made profits, went through the process of letting off business units when times were adverse and stitching them together when the money fell through the roof.
As with any particle, there is transition from ground zero (startup) to excited state (stable). Somewhere in between, is the saturation or stale state. This state may be achieved once or more by the businesses. This is when any business would need a catalyst (a different idea, a new product, or a new process) to shoot up again. If the business is at its peak and doesn’t need or can’t find a catalyst, then its downfall is evident.
During the late ‘90s and early ‘20s, internet became the medium and the technology feeding on this medium became the catalyst for the businesses. With a little bit of investment in software, the companies were finding ways to reduce expenditures on travels, meetings, and other things. While at the same time, they were connecting with more people (at global level), generating more interest in the products, and increasing the transactions. Software, programming languages, platforms, and even the methodologies were all evolving and assisting businesses to grow further.
As Bill Gates said himself, “Software innovation, like almost every other kind of innovation, requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, and to sit down and talk with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs.”
True, the software started driving business, but a software is not some lines of code which performs a set of tasks. Software should be thought of as a star within the information technology space. It serves as a channel for people to communicate, to share and sell ideas. Information technology is rather a vast area of study to understand to store-retrieve, send-receive information, and software is used to make it all to work in conjunction. Fortune 100 Companies like Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and others have all created a business out of information technology.
People would argue that IT exists because of businesses, and they might be right to a certain extent. But, more and more companies are making IT as their business nowadays. To me, one can’t survive without the other, it’s like hand in glove. After all, it’s not a charitable world we live in.