Earlier this month, I moved to a new house. The new place offers me the luxury of space, which has allowed me to acquire a rowing machine to get some much-needed exercise on days when getting to the gym is hard. The machine, which I ordered from Amazon, was going to be delivered by United Parcel Service (UPS) on Monday — sometime between 8 a.m. and 7.30 p.m. The idea of waiting for a delivery “sometime” during a 12-hour window is enough to get anyone’s blood boiling. Given that the machine had set me back a few hundred dollars (plus a nice chunk of change in delivery fees), the idea of losing productivity for a day while waiting to take the delivery was particularly galling.
But this problem of being “stuck” is one often faced by anyone who moves: after all, we spend hours waiting for the cable guy or the phone guy so they can get us connected. While most companies typically give you a four-hour window, that’s still enough to kill at least one half of the working day.
Start looking at our modern lives, and you suddenly discover that our society leaks time through these kinds of inefficiencies on a daily basis. It is unfortunate, for time is the only asset that loses value with every tick of the clock. We end up working longer and harder, not smarter.
When thinking about this quandary, I realized that real-time information can be a transformational force for corporate America. And it also means a big opportunity for not only the large companies to overhaul themselves, but for little companies to rise up and develop products that can turn corporations more real-time.