Technology’s Assault on the Way Things Used to Be

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square and co-founder of Twitter, does not have an office.  In fact, he does not even have his own desk.  He simply walks around the entire office for most of the day occasionally dropping in on different stand up tech tables. Dorsey substitutes the prototypical office atmosphere that most business and firms adhere to with a personal  transportable computer. In an interview with 60 Minutes, Dorsey was asked if he felt like he needed his own space at the Square offices. He responded by saying that he does have his own space, in his IPad.

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The ways technology can be used to enhance normal business operations can make or break the success of a firm. For example, Zara’s use of technology to create efficiency has enabled the clothing company to do remarkable things. Because of Zara’s use of its Point of Sale systems and Personal Digital Assistants, a specific type of clothing can be designed, manufactured, and delivered to a retail store in about two weeks. Gap, on the other hand, requires approximately six months for the same process to occur.

To inspire his employees, Jack Dorsey takes them to the Golden Gate Bridge. A bridge is what Dorsey expects technology to be, a connector. Twitter and Square, an application that allows small businesses to accept credit cards by swiping on a device that is connected to an IPhone, connect people and businesses and allow things to be done much smoother. I think Jack Dorsey would look at Zara’s use of technology and approve because of its connecting ability. Zara uses technology to connect the customers’ wants and needs with its employees, designers, manufacturing plants, and executives. Companies like Zara and Square are embracing technology to the fullest. Zara’s technology is not extraordinary, but its application of simple systems IS extraordinary.  Dorsey, Square, and Zara allow technology to remove barriers existent in the workplace. In Dorsey’s case, his IPad use literally removes barriers, or walls, in his business allowing him and his employees to work more collaboratively. Zara’s exemplary supply chain removes the barriers between its stores and headquarters allowing collaboration between employees, customers, designers, and executives to create and deliver a phenomenal product at blazing speeds.

Now, of course, Dorsey and Zara’s approach are certainly not for everyone. There are positive and negative implications of technology in the work place. Technology is, in fact, a double-edged sword.  In Zara’s case, being centralized in Spain, if something were to happen to Spain, like a natural disaster, Zara would be a loss. Also, some industries require barriers to exist in order to protect a client’s confidential information, like in financial services. For the most part, however, Dorsey and Zara’s approach to technology could be extremely beneficial. By connecting the people, places, and things associated with one’s business, collaboration through the use of technology between people would foster positive group contributions and allow people to think more organically. Jack Dorsey spends his days walking around the office resolving issues with his employees in a common work space providing an excellent example of how barriers are removed through his firms application of technology.

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7 thoughts on “Technology’s Assault on the Way Things Used to Be

  1. One of the clear strengths of this post is that you demonstrated a strong understanding of class discussions and were able to make a strong connection between the topic you chose to write about. I also like how you decided to follow up on a topic Professor Kane mentioned in class, Square, by researching and reading more about it to find out more. I found it very interesting how you hypothesized what Jack Dorsey would think about Zara’s use of IT and stated the clear advantages of his own personal use of technology. My one suggestion for improvement would be to tell us more about Square, like how many companies now use their technology, statistics on the increased efficiency through its use, or even just some more background on the company itself. I enjoyed this post.

  2. This metaphor of technology as a bridge is so spot on. It seems great that an innovator like Jack Dorsey understands this and has realized how to make people’s lives easier by founding square and twitter. With technology improving as incredible speeds these days I worry about when technology will no longer be a connecter and will be an end in itself. Like, how people’s jobs are being taken away by robots. My ultimate fear would be a robot revolution like in IRobot but even at the rate that technology is improving it seems that we are still very far from technology being that self-sufficient. Great post I really enjoyed reading it.

  3. I liked the fact that this blog had a very positive view on technology, as opposed to looking at the negatives when viewing the double-edged sword that is technology. I have never thought of using a bridge as a metaphor for technology, but it is very fitting. However, as mentioned briefly in the blog, my concern is for the companies where barriers are actually necessary and help the consumers. How can you implement technology in those cases to help improve the companies, but still keep the traditional barriers of the company? I see how this type of business design works for companies such as Square and Twitter, but how would it work for Deloitte? I also thought the comparison with Zara and Square was interesting, and liked the approach to expanding the Square side, so that you could really compare the two, since we learned so much about Zara during the lecture. Very well done blog.

  4. This blog is very well written and the content clearly connects to class discussion. I really like how Jack Dorsey is taking the time to teach his employees about the purpose of technology. More people need to take on this role of promoting the proper way to use technology in order for society to reap all its positive rewards without the negative set backs of people misusing it. While people remain skeptical about the constant advancement of society, this example of Jack Dorsey and his leadership demonstrate that if people take the time to properly analyze and learn how to utilize technology, society can remain in control of their creations and improve society while avoiding negative consequences. I also liked how this article speaks to both sides of the double-edged sword. You take the time to point out that every use of technology is not a blanket solution for all and that the use of technology should be analyzed situationally. My only suggestion is that it would have been interesting to add something about what the employees think of Dorsey’s behavior in the office and the kind of atmosphere they think it creates. But all in all this is a great post.

  5. Your observation about Zara’s centralized operations in Spain is an interesting point to consider. How does Zara utilize IT to gain its competitive advantage (in Zara’s case quick turnaround in product design) and is that advantage susceptible to a calamity such as a natural disaster?

  6. First off, they way you structured this blog made it very readable and engaging. I liked how you were able to connect what we discussed in class with current events in technology. Jack Dorsey’s office style is intriguing but I’m not completely sold on this extremely collaborative and open office structure that he’s promoting. Often times I think that too much collaboration in all stages of a project can lead to mayhem. When there are too many ideas floating around I think the product can be inferior to when you worked alone or in a small group because there isn;t a clear vision. I understand the need for open collaboration in some scenarios but I’d be weary of an office that only allows for this type of work style. There aren’t many suggestions I can think of to improve this blog other than it would be interesting to have a poll to see what people thought of Dorsey’s office style. Great blog!

  7. This was an excellent post. You did a great job at explaining how technology can improve businesses like Dorsey’s company Square. The 60 Minutes video was also really helpful in understanding the setup of Dorsey’s company. I think the idea of Dorsey not having an office is amazing. It seems so unorthodox but is also probably the most effective setup for a technology company like his that needs to innovate to survive.

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