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Technology Lessons and Reflections

When I started out, I was a researcher for a head-hunting company – my job was to research industries, map the organograms of the company departments – and update a rudimentary database in (Access), that we could use if we were looking for middle managers – I would search and compile a list of people to be contacted and the bosses would contact them for an interview.

I can proudly say that my accuracy and success of information was >80%, and I pretty much knew who was where in certain industries – I used newspaper announcements to track the advancement of staff in key companies (I literally had to cut out faces and articles and file them in a filing cabinet). A great source of information was the annual general report.

It is funny, but very few digitized annual general reports are available online before 2000. Reflecting on those times reminded me of the reasons why:

  • Windows had just replaced DOS.

  • Typically, computers were at work.

  • The internet was only starting to get traction.

  • The internet was expensive.

  • Cellphones were the next big thing but still very expensive for the average person - but adoption was ramping up - wow, we could soon SMS!

  • Oh my goodness, the y2k bug was a real threat (but that is a story for another article).

  • Remembering that LinkedIn only came later.

To get information on listed companies, I had to request the Annual General Report (booklet) – this typically involved a phone call to the secretary, and three weeks later, I would have the report in the post box.

When email became more available, an email was sent, or if they had a website, I could subscribe or request the report – but you still had to wait for the hard copy via post.

I had a list of all the listed companies and their financial dates to ensure I got the reports the following year.

I am telling you this because this month, I am working on updating a site for a group that we need to provide information for (both the group and the investor relations section), and guess what? The need for a specific type of information is pretty much the same 25 years later! The only difference is the speed at which I can get the report!

You need to provide information for investors to invest! Your company information has to be provided for regulatory and legislative purposes.

For those saying - I dont want my best people poached - those who were treated well didn't leave no matter how good the perceived offer was, and there are other ways to get the information :)

Why am I telling this story – with technology advancing as fast as it is – look at what the customer wants to do – that more than likely hasn’t changed - we just need it faster and more conveniently :)

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