♫ Let’s Talk About Tech ♫

Let’s talk about tech, baby. Let’s talk about IoT. Let’s talk about all the upsides and the downsides that may be. Let’s talk about tech. ♫

When I was going through the recruiting process for tech consulting at various firms, I would be asked in every single interview where my tech interest stemmed from. I would give the “sexy” answer and the one they probably liked hearing: that my interest in tech is driven by the fact that it’s the single industry that moves the fastest and has the greatest ability to be a catalyst for positive change.

movefastbreakthings

The Zuck with a big sign.

Need evidence that tech moves lightning-fast? In 2008, the top-five largest US companies (ordered by market cap) were Exxon, GE, Microsoft, AT&T, and P&G. In 2018, the top five was exclusively comprised of tech companies: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook, respectively. Some may say market cap is a poor measure of size, so I ran some additional metrics.

Using profit as a measure of size, the tech sector came in second, behind only the financial sector, accounting for about 20% of all US-based Fortune 500 profits in 2017. To be sure of how substantial this is, there were a total of 21 unique sectors represented in the Fortune 500, and tech and finance alone represented 46% of Fortune 500 profits. That means that the 19 other sectors, including retail, energy, and health care, share the 54% of profit that remains. From this, we can conclude that tech is a behemoth, and there’s a solid chance it would be even more massive (relatively speaking) if I ran the data on global Fortune 500 companies, which would include Chinese tech giants Tencent, Alibaba, and Huawei. Tech is huge, dynamic, and quick. Industries like oil are huge, slow, and don’t change very quickly, which is why they don’t appeal to me. The Facebook developer motto turned controversial book “move fast and break things” is how I’ve always operated, and one of the big reasons I’m fascinated by digital business.

profbysector

I have no idea when or why this started, but I’ve been my family’s IT gal for as long as I can remember. What started as helping my parents set up printers when I was in middle school turned into teaching my mom how to tweet when I was in high school, but my fascination with and understanding of the digital business evolved most noticeably when I came to college. I took Professor Wyner’s Computers in Management course (now called Digital Tech because, you know, buzzwords) my first semester of freshman year, and that’s when I knew I wanted to pursue a career at the intersection of tech and business. Not only did I (*nerd alert*) genuinely enjoy doing the Excel problem sets assigned to us during the first half of class, but I (digitally, might I add) gobbled up everything that was in Professor Gallaugher’s online book about the innovative ways companies like FreshDirect are using information technology today to advance their businesses.

Between freshman-year Computers and Management and now, getting to know what impact tech has on business has been a hallmark of my experience at Boston College. While at BC, my interest in the digital realm prompted me to join start@shea, the student executive board of BC’s Shea Center for Entrepreneurship, and take a trip with my fellow students (and Professor Kane!) to San Francisco to tour some of the world’s most innovative companies. I will—barring a major disruption—graduate in five months with degrees in Information Systems and Business Analytics, and I consider this class the perfect bookend before I depart these hallowed halls for the mean streets of New York City to work in tech.

Let’s move fast and break things.

7 comments

  1. Great summary of how tech has truly taken over in the past decade plus. I liked how you took market cap into account and then took it one step further with profit as part of the Fortune 500 companies. Being involved in a natural resource portfolio, the oil industry definitely does not move as fast as these tech giants. However when you examine the technology behind fracking and extracting oil, firms have been more successful determining which wells will end up producing the most based on the advances in seismic and geologic technology. Firms are now able to frack up to three miles (laterally) below the surface, which has not been done successfully before.

  2. Love the opening line. Vintage with a twist

  3. First of all, I think you’re going somewhere with that song. Haha few more verses and I think you’ve got a hit on your hands! Great work, I guess it makes sense but I didn’t realize that tech and finance dominate that dramatically in overall Fortune 500 profits. Things get really exciting for us when you realize the possibilities when that tech and innovation intersects different business (ie. Healthcare, Finance, Energy) and the impact that’s going to have on society. I feel like we’re really lucky to be at a time where these worlds are starting to merge and it’s going to be fun to follow. I didn’t know till college I wanted to be in technology, but I had a similar experience to you where I had amazing IS professors in some of the early classes. It felt more like fun than class to be hands on in excel and intro to programming. I look forward to reading more!

  4. Great post! This post especially resonated with me as I have had many similar experiences while interviewing for management consulting positions and keying in on the TMT sector –
    I think we may have had the same answer for that opening question! Not only are the tech giants you noted eclipsing the modern business world, but other industries are becoming more and more reliant on technological advances to help drive efficiency. It is clear to see that if companies are not implementing emerging tech they will be left behind in this increasingly competitive business environment.

  5. Nobody can dispute the fact that the tech industry is the fastest growing industry that will only continue to grow exponentially over the years. I really liked how you mentioned the top five largest U.S. companies in comparison to the top five U.S. companies a decade later. P&G, in particular, is one of the biggest giants in the consumer goods industry, but it was swept away by companies like Amazon and Apple. This post captures the very essence of the importance of tech, as it continues to gain a stronger influence on our everyday lives and the world at large.

  6. I completely agree with you that tech moves lightning fast. Looking at that chart, I can only imagine the tech sector closing that gap behind the financial sector in the next 5 years. We know that many financial institutions today are moving towards the cloud and well, you guessed it, need new and innovative technologies to put them above their competitors. Take Bank of America for example – in the last two years they started to incorporate Face ID for login vs. the thumb print, and also offer an online assistant named Erica to help you with financial planning and managing your assets.

    With the iPhone 10s, we now have people (including myself) paying with their phones and having face ID authenticate the transactions. Now I know Apple is not the first to do this, nor are they the last, but technology is continuously being adopted by society to a point where once the latest innovation is a norm, we as a society look forward to the next greatest technology.

    I am so jealous you got to explore SF as you probably gained a lot of great insight into some of the top performing tech companies today. Is there a particular type of tech company you are going to seek employment in?

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