It’s not just a mantra by Michael Saylor, “Think like a software company,” it’s becoming the mantra of hiring managers across all industries.
Jeff Lawson, CEO of Twillo, a cloud communications company in San Francisco, and obviously someone who pays attention to software, predicts that “Every industry will become a software industry because of the pace at which software people innovate.”
Lawson, like others, is talking about how software is coming to dominate our lives in both obvious and unobvious ways. “Think about your thermostat or even the payment terminal at the corner bodega.” And it’s not just about The Internet of Things. The music we choose to buy or listen to, the way we read newspapers, the way we board a plane with our smartphones are all in some way related to software.
Lawson’s advice: “Really think about that mentality and think about all the ways in which the agility of software is able to meet a market need faster than the legacy industry.”
And, finally, as if he were talking at a SXSW Conference or Wharton or the Harvard Business School: “You don’t have to be a developer. You can be in any discipline . But if you look at a problem for your customer within your company, and your first thought is, ‘How can software solve this problem?’ then you’ve got that software mind-set.”
Lawson thinks the future is going to be owned by people who think that way.
There seems to be a lot of data to back that claim up. Peter Drucker’s ‘knowlege worker” has morphed into “the knowledge worker who thinks like a software company.”
That’s also a big part of Brynjolffson’s and McAfee’s new book, The Second Machine Age and what Google and Microsoft mean when they say they are looking for people who can learn quickly, process on the fly, pull together disparate bits of information, own the problem, and embrace the better ideas of other people. These are not impossible attributes but they require a different mind-set that maybe worked for the very hierarchical institutions of yesteryear and a world where the power of individuals to withdraw their consent, like in Kiev, or that the old links in the value chain, like the middleman and the power they held, are not required.
Here’s Adam Bryan’ts interview with Twilio’s Lawson: http://ibnmoney.com/us/2014/03/08/corner-office-jeff-lawson-of-twilio-when-ideas-collide-dont-duck/
David Brooks’ piece on “The Leaderless Doctrine”: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/11/opinion/brooks-the-leaderless-doctrine.html
Tom Friedman’s column on “How to Get a Job at Google”: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/23/opinion/sunday/friedman-how-to-get-a-job-at-google.html