And I mean really anywhere – not just where Bell, Rogers, AT&T, etc., can go. Canada, Japan, Kenya, Argentina – wherever.
In a year or two, you’ll be able to operate one day in one corner of the world and the next in another – it will make little difference.
And this – an iPad – is all you will need as business infrastructure. This is it! No office network, no wifi, absolutely no wires – nothing.
You can be in a developed country or in a developing country – the field will be level. That’s when global competition will jump to a new level.
This will erode economic colonialism. Countries (India, Rwanda, Kenya) where entrepreneurs abound, simply as a matter of survival, will trump countries where being an entrepreneur is a matter of opportunity.
The average African is 20 years old. The average Indian is 29. Compare that to 39 in the US, 40 in EU, 38 in China and 48 in Japan. That will count – a lot!
It will be an undeclared competition between the Jugaad world and the entitled world. I have little doubt who will win.
Let’s see how to operate a business anywhere in the world with just an iPad.
I was discussing with a friend of mine about African countries lifting themselves out of poverty. I spoke to her about one country in particular – Rwanda – and how the government there was in a wave of Digitization of the country (Rwanda covers 95% of the country with 4G!).
We honed on the topic of how a developing country could set-up a business without all the pitfalls of business enterprises in the ‘old world’ (North America, EU, Japan…).
Is it possible for an entrepreneur in a country like Rwanda, Kenya or Senegal to set-up and operate a business with such a simple framework that it would be low cost and super competitive?
The reason for this discussion was that because many African countries don’t have the legacy corporations in the developed world, it should be much easier to implement new business models that are agile and inexpensive.
As written in other articles in this blog, I have designed architectures for big corporations where the only thing left in-house would be wifi infrastructure.
Having to rely in wifi, however, means that, while you can be truly mobile, the infrastructure that takes the wifi signal to the internet is still relying on cables.
In the 1990’s, when the US President Bill Clinton launched his “information highway” project, the goal was to have fibre optics everywhere. Along with that in-country technology, undersea cables were laid between Europe and North America, among others.
[For an African country like Rwanda to fully digitize, they had to work on connecting to that network of undersea cables.]
In other words, you can’t really operate “anywhere” and have access to the powerful assets linked to the Internet, unless you’re moving through regions that have that connection to the fibre optic network that supports the internet.
Freedom from in-country
And then, Starlink showed up. The service from Space X that’s coming online this year isn’t the first such service in the world. However, it has one particular advantage: it’s inexpensive.
Accessing the internet via satellite should, in theory, liberate us from physical facilities. However, as I read how the satellite service works – at least at first – you’re still tethered to a router in a physical facility. If your router is in, say, Montreal, Canada, when you move out of the satellite ‘cell’ that covers that city, you will lose connectivity.
My dream has always been a single phone # anywhere in the world. I always saw satellite communications as the answer. However, technology hasn’t yet evolved to support that dream with simplicity and at low cost.
Then, recently, I read about Apple and Globalstar being in discussions to implement a satellite modem in iPhones, although the rumours were in the context of emergency services in areas where 4G wasn’t available.
It will take time and it will likely depend on how much satellite internet connectivity will spread, once Starlink goes online but – it will likely happen in the next few years.
And, this is how it will work:
- A satellite modem in your iPad
- With that modem, you’ll be able to access the internet anywhere in the world, without depending on any physical facility
Think about that for just a second: it’s a huge development. Absolutely earth-shattering. The speed with which one will be able to set-up and operate a business, even in ‘disconnected’ countries, is staggering. There will be no need for the heavy IT infrastructures that 20th century corporations required.
An iPad equipped with satellite modem. That is it. All the vast resources and information available in the Cloud, at your fingertips, no matter where you are on Earth.
Buy an iPad; get an access number for Starlink. Go! That simple! It’s awesome, it’s beautiful!!!
The Start-Up you cannot beat
As exciting as internet connectivity via satellite may be, we still need people to run a business. And, throughout the history of technology, people have always been the big hindrance. Technology enables high speed; humans slow down that potential – particularly in business.
To achieve the utopia of the 21st century entrepreneur, a business in a developing country still needs to adopt different ways of organizing people in businesses than what has prevailed in the West since the industrial revolution.
So, here’s a summary of the complete formula for a hard-to-beat start-up in a developing country (or any country):
- Adopt the agile model of a Teal organization, without a management hierarchy and crippling bureaucracy
- Set-up the business entirely in Cyberspace – organization, services, currency and payment systems
- Foster the development of a satellite internet service
- Utilize the abundance of services available through the powerful Clouds of AWS, Microsoft, Google or IBM
- Get iPad’s for everyone
Such a model is the least expensive and the most competitive form of business that can be achieved today.
You do this and you won’t be beaten.
In the meantime, while we wait for Starlink, Apple and others to give us the technology we need, one can still set-up a hard-to-beat start-up, using WiFi where possible.
So true! Unfortunately my recent brushes with one of my clients’ IT teams just confirmed this. We are losing this battle! Maybe for the best!
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Going Digital is a paradigm shift. A 20th century-style corporation cannot change into a Digital/Teal organization. You always have to create a new one. For an old corporation, they have to create a new one on the side and migrate the business and staff from the old to the new. But the only way this can succeed is if the entire executive team have already decided that they have to move to that new model and that moving is a matter of survival – not just an option. Otherwise, don’t waste your time. I have the scars to prove it and every guru I heard from says the same thing: start something new.