When every road leads you to Rome, it’s time to build new roads

Posted: July 3, 2014 by jennroig in Commentary, English
Tags: , , , ,

That’s basically the point I make on my most recent/first publication on LinkedIn.

I reproduce it here, just in case I ever decide to disappear from every social media, this will still be the surviving repository of my work and attempts to find some missing meanings.

And this piece is all about trying to redefine meanings, thus this is the perfect place to echo it.

Journos, why don’t we reset our concepts and redraw our boundaries?

linkedin post 1As a freelance reporter for AmericaEconomia’s MBA & Executive Education site, I frequently get in conflict with AETecno‘s team of journalists.

Why would someone who covers business education crash against IT reporters? That’s the logic question, which must be popping up in your minds right now. It’s a very good question indeed, so I want to address it here.

First, MBA & ExEd site does not exclusively publishes news and articles about what’s going on in the global landscape of B-Schools. We also report on management, marketing trends, leadership, CSR, sustainability and entrepreneurship… Mostly, when I pitch stories that would fall under the “entrepreneurship” umbrella, very often I’m heading straight to the source of conflict, that Golden Apple of Discord at AmericaEconomia‘s newsroom.

Think about the concept of “Entrepreneurship”. At least today, it is inextricably related to this Start-Ups Renaissance phenomenon that we are witnessing all over the world. Now try to remember ten start-ups you know, either because you use their apps or services, or because some media outlet has featured it. How many of them are basically tech start-ups? Can you mention ONE with no connection whatsoever to technology?

Something I’ve found out while learning about entrepreneurship, in meeting with entrepreneurs and after writing profiles about vibrant, influential and disruptive start-ups, it’s that almost all of them are using technology to some extent -if they are not entirely based on technology. Hence the conflict arises: am I stepping into AETecno’s sacred territory, or am I entitled to cover the topic for MBA & ExEd?

In general, I think the outcome of those “fights” fairly splits between both sites in the newsroom. We win in MBA as many times as we lose againt AETecno, over the right to report on these issues. It doesn’t really matter as long as it is not the main concern of this post.

My question is the same I asked a couple of days ago to a clever guy that has become a friendly consultant for me, since we collaborated for another story a while ago. I asked Miklos Grof, Fundacity‘s CEO and co-founder, if he agreed with “including AirBnB and Uber in the ‘technology companies’ category”. I had heard this statement from SkillBridge‘s CEO Rajeev Jeyakumar while I was interviewing him to find out how can SkillBridge.co, as an online platform, bring more efficiency to the way companies find and hire the ideal consultant for a project. (More on this on my next publication on AmericaEconomia -wink).Journalism-for-Techies3

So I consulted Miklos because Fundacity is described as an online platform (check) that can bring efficiency (check) to the process of venture capitalists and other investors finding and selecting (check) “the start-ups that can be the next big thing”. His answer came quickly to take me closer to dangerous waters: “I think ‘technology company’ is a broad bracket which these companies for sure fall under”.

But fortunately he followed with an argument that gave me some room to argue my right to the SkillBridge story: “It is confusing, because ‘technology company’ means literally anything from bio-tech to mobile apps like Yo. The truth is that several market tags apply to these companies. For Uber can be ‘Transportation’, ‘Mobile’ and ‘Technology’. I would say Uber is a tech company aimed at transportation delivering a mobile solution. What do you think?

Well, up to that moment, I really pictured as technology companies those corporations such as Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Lenovo or IBM, all of which make revenues out of innovating, producing and commercializing technological products or solutions.

However, I believe I had a sort of Epiphany at that point, thanks to Miklos. I replied back that these were confusing times, because everything is changing so fast, that we can’t keep track of all transformations, which are impacting our understanding of whatever used to be a solid, established kind of knowledge.

It’s true, it seems difficult to consider Uber as a transportation company, because in our minds we think of that term connected to “freights and lorries”, as Miklos pointed out. But how will kids understand “transportation” and label “transportation companies” when they will get to run the show?

As we enter a world where technology -whether IT or any other kind of tech- intervenes and mediates almost every action, work, and outcome, it is going to be more difficult to separate technology from any other market, labor, or human area of action and interest. As almost every activity, and entire industries, are pulled into the digital age, as Rajeev told me, when will come the moment when we can all agree that everything is about technology? Therefore nothing is it really? When will we agree to sort things out using other features to segment our understanding of things, yet again?

We are long established in a world ruled by the Internet of Information and Data. Now I’ve been listening more frequently to gurus referring to a very real future with an expanding Internet of Things, even an Internet of Energy… in connection to concepts such as the shared economy…

When that moment finally arrives, I will be a happier journalist, with less chance to get into conflicts with my colleagues from AETecno.

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