PHIL SIMON

Award-winning author, dynamic keynote speaker, trusted advisor, & workplace tech expert 

THE WORLD’S FOREMOST INDEPENDENT WORKPLACE COLLABORATION AND TECH EXPERT

Outliers

Thoughts on parallels between emerging technologies from last decade and the WFH debate.
Aug | 18 | 2023

 

Aug | 18 | 2023
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Cognitive decline terrifies me because, like many of you, I make my living with my brain. To keep it as spry as possible, I do a number of things. My morning ritual involves drinking coffee and playing several New York Times games. Wordle and Spelling Bee are at the top of my list.

A while back, an intriguing new one appeared: Connections. The goal is to group 16 words into four groups of four based on a single commonality:

Connections is challenging because the puzzle makers intentionally introduce overlap. In the example above, squash is both a sport and a type of fruit. The ostensibly simple game involves both finding these commonalities and eliminating items that simply don’t fit. When I started playing the game, I only solved the puzzle about 60 percent of the time. Now I almost always get it. 

Parallels With Contemporary Tech

I was thinking about Connections yesterday in the context of hybrid and remote work. Nearly a quarter-century ago (Yikes!), Salesforce pioneered the software-as-a-service business model. Prior to then, the vast majority of companies spent beaucoup bucks purchasing, implementing, and maintaining complicated applications and systems. In 2006, the Everything Store ushered in the era of cloud computing by launching Amazon Web Services. The rest is history.

Remote and hybrid work are on the same trajectory as cloud computing and SaaS were in the aughts.

Sure, tech holdouts remain. If you want to buy a mainframe, have at it. Stragglers aside, myriad firms have embraced these key technologies and the philosophy undergirding them. (Exhibit A: AWS’s annual revenue.)

SaaS and cloud computing just make sense. Generally speaking, they offer firms previously unprecedented flexibility and savings. At some point, they crossed the chasm; their benefits became just too big to ignore. Even high-profile skeptics like Oracle CEO Larry Ellison eventually threw in the towel.

Simon Says

Remote and hybrid work on the same trajectory. The data is compelling: Employers are increasingly—if often grudgingly—allowing employees to work outside of the office. Five years from now, M-F/9-5 jobs will be as rare as companies that purchase and maintain their own servers.

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