It’s Time to Get Real Time, Corporate America


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.

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6 Comments Subscribers to comment
  1. So in order to actually get this to happen as a subscriber I could potentially and persuasively make your case for real time info being relayed to the relevant party via (WOWEE) a crazy text msg, how conveinant would that be, it would be a revolution no doubt and totally possible, which is obviously why it won’t happen some moron has to spin it out of control and explain to a bunch of other idiots, bottom line everyone has a cell, every can get a text, humans work at ups and could do this from a computer, it won’t happen cause then the compay becomes no different than the employee or the customer which in their (ups)’s mind is a disadvantage and requires accountability, which they don’t enjoy because it involves expression.

    Now, the more important question, which echos my first sentence in an abstract way, Why Can’t I Download this as a pdf by clicking on the botton GIGAOM provides suggesting i may want to. I click on it and the page reloads, that is misleading and considering i am an individual, a student, who works at ups actually, i pay you money to read your pretty interesting articles, but gmail alerts allow me enough raw data to process similar directions, nonetheless i pay you, and when i decide to use the small amount of time i have to sift through this well designed drek, i can’t actually use it? why is this offered, do i have to pay more to get it to work now, is that beta grab? i don’t mean to be harsh, but if you have an option visible, i’m going to assume it works, otherwise don’t display it, realtime this flaw out, would you. GREAT!

    1. Hi Robert, sorry about that! We’ll have it fixed in a jiffy.

  2. Great article. I don’t know how I missed this when it was posted.

    I don’t want to be too commercial in this comment, but at Apstrata ( we are launching a cloud service which enables exactly the type of real-time, active data connectivity that you described here. We call this the Pushbutton Data Hub and we look forward to Om reviewing this some point down the road.

  3. +1 to James. Like I always tell my wife (not that she appreciates it at all!) “waiting is just an opportunity to do something else!” :)

  4. askbusinesscoach Monday, August 24, 2009

    I started my career selling bleeding edge tech to the financial community many moons ago and have been watching companies like Tibco prosper. So glad that we’ve come so far and I look forward to seeing what real time solutions get developed in the next few years.
    Keep us posted on emerging companies that are developing great applications.

  5. James Kendrick Monday, August 24, 2009

    That “wasted” time waiting gave you time to think, and this great article is the result. I would say that we all gained from your loss. :)

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