If you had a spare $4630.73 laying around on August 30th, the first day of ISYS 6621: Social Media and Digital Business, it would have been an extremely wise decision to invest that money in Bitcoin. You would be rewarded with over a 250% increase in value and a modest $7,000 profit if you were to cash out as I am writing this blog post. While I still definitely am not a Bitcoin expert by any means, it doesn’t take a CSOM Finance nerd (Come on, we all know one, or are one…) to tell you that that’s an incredible return on investment that is rarely achieved in classic financial markets. While I’m sure we all have heard enough about Bitcoin over the semester (and probably are sick and tired of hearing about it now), what it does show is how fast, transformational, and buzz generating technology is. I have had multiple, LONG conversations in the previous weeks about the fluctuation and price of Bitcoin. THIS IS INCREDIBLE. Think about the last time you sat down and really had an extended conversation about a particular stock that has been moving in the markets, or even had an extended conversation about the Dow Jones in general. (Unless you are a previously cited Finance Nerd) What is so cool and interesting about Bitcoin is the buzz it’s generating and the opportunity such a transformational technology presents. Yes, Bitcoin is at an all time high, but you know what else is close to an all time high THE DOW JONES, yet at least on BC’s campus, which I can go out on a limb and say is a well-educated, fiscally knowledgeable population, the buzz is all around Bitcoin.
While I understand the novelty of the technology has a significant impact on the buzz surrounding Bitcoin. Not to mention the fact that the currency can plummet over 30% in a single day has a significant impact on people’s psyche in comparison to the Dow which has simply been slowly climbing, I merely want to highlight what fast paced, interesting times we are living in. This is exactly what makes Social Media and Digital Business such a valuable class for BC to offer. While many of the technologies we have discussed may be obsolete by the time another fall session of this class is offered, or Bitcoin could have plunged to zero value, what is important is the notion to stop and discuss how these changes are impacting our lives and businesses. I recall the class discussion on Digital Maturity and it really seemed relevant to me while writing this post. While individuals and businesses can never acheive perfect digital maturity, totally maximizing the technology available on a dynamic day to day level, it is vital that we all strive to be as flexible and agile in adopting these technologies in our lives and businesses.This is vital to not go the way of Polaroid or Blockbuster and completely implode due to a stubbornness to address the changes, challenges, and opportunities our businesses face.
These circumstances are occurring at lighting speed. While managers at IBM in the 60’s had months or years to decide which technology they would look to pursue next, managers of today’s businesses are faced with these questions on a daily basis and must be ready to act deliberately on a daily basis. Luckily, access to information is miles ahead and communication allows us to collaborate and connect about ideas instantaneously. This creates an amazing opportunity for technology to move forward and problem solving to become simpler, at least from a logistic perspective, the problems we are faced with in the future may become exponentially more difficult.
As I think back over the course of the semester and the events that have occurred, I cannot help but be amazed. Jeff Bezos was the richest person in the world at one point, although I would simply be very happy if I had a dollar for every time someone brought up Amazon in class. It’s incredible the reach that Amazon has as a digital business. For example, just this weekend I downloaded their music app due to some artists not being available on Spotify and earlier this year I downloaded their Prime Video app. Amazon has effectively imitated two of the most successful startups in the last ten years, (and in my experience with reasonably similar platforms), all the while still becoming one of the most dominant forces in retail competing with what was once thought as an industry juggernaut, Wal-mart. The reach of Amazon is truly massive and it has been a great experience to discuss their goals, objectives, decisions, and offerings in class with a widely diverse range of opinions and insights. And to top it all off, I think they even beat Apple to the punch with their in-home Alexa offering.
As I reflect on my time spent in Social Media and Digital Business, one word comes to mind: excitement. I am excited to see what amazing digital businesses will emerge in the coming years, like the ones we have been able to see explode in recent memory. Who will be the next Uber (hopefully with better management), or Netflix, or Spotify? How will these coming technologies transform the way we live our lives, interact with others, or most importantly possibly be a force for good?
I am going to conclude with something that may come off as extremely cliche or cheesy but I think it does warrant at least a moment of thought, if a completely made up currency that has absolutely zero inherent value increase over $7,000 dollars in the course of a semester, think about all that will change by this time next year.