High technology is changing the way we live, the way we work, the
way we think. The home computer did not exist 10 years ago; the
desk top computer was a gleam in futurists' eyes. Lasers and microchips
and biogenetics belonged to an uncharted future. Now, that future is here.
Even our smokestack industries are experiencing profound change as they
adapt to modern technology.
The result is a new industry that is difficult to define. Certainly it is
an industry of explosive growth, as companies mold their high-technology
concepts into products for the factory and the home. This explosive growth
of new businesses has brought into focus the importance of management.
In some ways, high-technology companies require no different
organizational skills than companies that have been emerging in our
society for the last 100 years. They require a saleable product, adequate
financing, good marketing, cost control, and dedicated personnel. The
difference is that today's companies do in three years—or have the
potential to do in three years— what it took IBM, General Electric, and
others decades to accomplish. And because their growth is so explosive,
time is compressed. Management problems that companies traditionally
had months and years to recognize and resolve now show up and must
be resolved within days or weeks.
Thus, the high-technology company is a paradigm of our entire
society. Life is intense. Change occurs rapidly. The survivors and victors