Sunday, December 23, 2007

Best Laid Assumptions

About a week ago, our area had almost a foot of snow fall on us. Flights were cancelled, schools had snow days. It was a veritable Winter Wonderland. With that much snow, we were pretty much guaranteed a White Christmas.

Now, due to temperatures in the 40's and the torrential rains we had overnight, I'm looking out on a landscape which definitely doesn't fit that definition.

Of course, the lack of a White Christmas probably won't kill me or even inconvenience me much for that matter, but it does put me in mind of more serious examples of counting on things staying the same.

I'm working on updating and upgrading the website for Bruce Donovan Construction. In talking with Bruce it was clear that he understood that he not only had to be on the Web, but he had to look good on his site and provide his visitors with what they wanted -- in this case a portfolio of current and completed jobs, including photos.

Bruce could have ignored the situation, but more and more people are making their decisions based on information they get from the Web. If he hadn't met the need, I'm sure one of his competitors would have.

Construction isn't by any means the only industry where the technology of the Web is changing the playing field. Think of the difficulties that travel agents have had over the last decade. Now, you'd better be able to plan my whole vacation for me (at ridiculously low cost), otherwise Expedia is waiting. Local booksellers? As if the 800-pound gorilla which is Borders weren't competition enough, the 80-ton dinosaur of Amazon might easily crush you and never even realize you were there.

Even in my own business of web-development, nothing is assured. Tools are coming out which could easily make me obsolete. Website templates, gadgets and widgets, high school students who can undercut me -- these are all factors which I must be aware of. What value can I add which can offset them (and, worse, offset those which I never would have expected)?

I don't really have any answers right at the moment, but you can be sure I'm keeping an eye out.

So, how has technology changed your business, for good or for ill?

1 comment:

Jacki Hollywood Brown said...

You definitely have more life experience than someone in high school. You are a business person in an established business and hardly about to bugger off for beer on Friday night when a client needs something done. Nor are you about to close your business and take up surfing because it's more cool.

The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweet taste of a low price is forgotten.