Growing up, computers were mainly tools for automating secretarial tasks, not for professional work. Economist Robert Solow observed around that time, “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”
But in the late 1990’s information technology became truly transformative. Combined with the commercial Internet and email, they became conduits to a continuous flow of information that could be processed, analyzed and turned into action. It’s likely that we’re in the early days of a similar productivity boom today, as connectivity begins to transform physical machines.