Greetings! As you may have heard by now, I've been invited by the good folks at Ambrosia to share the occasional odd musing with you. I'd like to thank the Ambrosia folks (especially Cajun David) for encouraging my behavior, and to thank you in advance for your indulgence.
My bailiwick, broadly speaking, is translating technology into plain language and getting people to understand and perhaps get excited by it. I'm a former computing industry analyst and reporter/editor; I'm now "chief evangelist" for a worldwide software industry trade association. In my free time, I tend to have opinions.
One of these is my love for Ambrosia -- not just as an outlet for my ramblings, but as an example of what the near-term future's likely to look like in a lot of businesses and offices across the country, if not around the world.
If you browse Ambrosia's Web site or other online venues, a few things become clear quickly. One is that the company's made up of distinct, separate individuals, most of whom do not commute to the same office every day but who manage to work together effectively anyway. Another point of clarity is that Ambrosia focuses on doing a few things really well, and supplying products that have been developed because real people need and/or want them.
Of course, it's Ambrosia's people that make all this happen -- but it's emerging computing and networking technologies, and the recognition of their values and strengths, that contribute in large part to making Ambrosia possible. Ambrosia is a prime example of how a technology company uses, is affected by and affects available technologies. A sort of "changer and the changed" kind of thing, for those of you who didn't sleep through all of relativity in school.
Well, you probably should. Every worker at almost every company is facing changes that will leave them in situations that look and feel a lot like Ambrosia's -- if they're lucky. The focus on the monolithic corporation is long gone, replaced by the focus on the individual as a member of a continuing series of evolving, task-specific teams, and the ability of individuals to make themselves quickly and consistently productive in new situations. Another overriding consideration is the ability of individuals to put aside differences in location, skills, temperaments and what-have-you in favor of focusing on getting projects completed and successful products out the door.
Smaller and emerging businesses have long been the engines driving our shared economy. The nature of those businesses is changing, in response to factors both economic and technological. The evolution of Ambrosia's products and Ambrosia as a company are both bellwether indicators of these changes -- probably very much like changes going on all around you, wherever you live and work.
Perhaps what I like most about Ambrosia is the company's ability to support a product line that is equal parts work and play. One of the things I like most about the near-term future is that as we gain more flexibility in selecting how we make our livings, we can more closely integrate the things that make us money and the things that make us happy. Here's hoping more of us get more chances to improve and celebrate that integration -- and that more companies like Ambrosia appear to help us do so.
Ed Note - Michael Dortch has written, talked and thought about new technologies and their effects on people and businesses for almost 20 years. He is based in San Francisco, and welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.