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Building a Winning Business — Leadership Blog — Tom Salonek

Tom Talks - Building a Winning Business  —  Leadership Blog  —  Tom Salonek

Technology. Friend or Foe? First in a Series.

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Technology superstars like Bill Gates are challenging the wisdom of artificial intelligence.  Others are blaming technology for unemployment and stagnant growth.  Parents are blaming technology—constant gaming or being socially connected on phones—for making kids dumb.

Are we at a technology tipping point?

The article, “A World without Work” in The Atlantic looks at the impact of technology.  Asking if technology is good or bad is like asking a farmer if rain is good or bad.  My dad was a farmer and he could have told you it depends… when, where, and what amount matter.

The The End of Work was published by Jeremy Rifkin in 1995.  He stated “worldwide unemployment would increase as information technology eliminated tens of millions of jobs in the manufacturing, agricultural and service sectors… (there would be)… a devastating impact from automation on blue-collar, retail and wholesale employees, while an elite of corporate managers and knowledge workers would reap the benefits of the high-tech world economy.”

What do you think? Is life better or worse than the mid-90’s?  Before you answer that, check your email and texts on your phone, watch a streaming movie for free on your laptop, and stay in touch with friends around the world without paying a penny for a phone call or letter.

5 Tips to Make It 15+ Years

This great infographic from Business Insider breaks down the stats on US small business.  Here are the big rocks:

  • 1/2 the population works for a small business
  • Small business created 2/3’s of the new (net) jobs since ’95
  • It’s risky… 75% of startups don’t make it 15+years

Here are some thoughts on making it 15+ years:

  • Believe.  Henry Ford is credited with saying, “Whether you think you can or can’t.  You’re right.” Earl Nightengale, a forefather of positive thinking, said, “We become what we think about.”
  • “Brains + Hard Work + Positive Attitude = Success.” This was shared by a successful uncle. He was right.
  • Work, Work, Work…. Ever had a competition where the opponent (who you thought you were better than) refused to give up, you hated it, and eventually they won.  Outwork the competition.
  • Surround yourself with people who “set the bar.” Growing up as a kid on my parents farm, my mom had a poster with a bunch of butterflies.  On the top of the poster were happy butterflies.  On the bottom, not happy ones.  She said, “Tom, we become like those we hang around.” Momma was right.
  • “We never can should have.” The only path to where we now is the sum of all choices to today. “Shoulding” all over selves is just that. Every month or so, I meet with an entrepreneur who wants advice on starting a business (usually a child of someone I know… which makes me feel old).  A common question is “How do I avoid making mistakes?” My response is that making mistakes is part of getting work done.  A favorite story to make this point involves my dad.  One winter, on break from university, I was cutting firewood.  The first step was to use a log chain to pull the fallen tree into a clear area.  I hooked the log chain to the tree, got in the truck, put it in gear, and revved the engine.  Nothing happened… so, I revved it more.  Then there was a loud snap.  I had the parking brake on and sheared the axel.  I walked home and was met by my father.  I feared the worse.  When I told him what happened, he said, “If you did nothing, you’d make no mistakes.”