Bill Gates – Business At The Speed Of Thought – Review Essay

As the co-founder and chairman of Microsoft, Bill Gates has played a prominent role in launching the Information Age. In his book titled ‘Business @ The Speed Of Thought’, he stresses upon how the expanding technology is propelling the business world into a new exciting economic era.

This book in particular, deals with what is known as a ‘Digital Nervous System’ (DNS). A DNS, in short, is the corporate, digital equivalent of the human nervous system, providing a well-integrated flow of information to the right part of the organization at the right time. The book deals with the effect DNS has on three main corporate functions; Commerce, Knowledge Management & Business Operations, and how one can maximize efficiency, growth and profits using information.

Business @ The Speed Of Thought explains how information is to be gathered, managed and used to a corporate advantage. Bill Gates draws on his own experiences as chairman of Microsoft and offers his best insights into how companies can become successful. He advocates that companies develop Digital Nervous Systems which are nothing but ways of using computers to maximize the flow of information.

To start of with, the central theme of the book is very focussed. Although the examples are generic and the concept embodies a wide range of corporate and other real life functions, the targeted readers are a specific narrow group of people. Bill Gates had clearly intended this book for CEOs and organizational leaders. Even so, although Gates feels otherwise, there is a lot of technical specification in the book, and for the reader to fully comprehend the effectiveness of the written material, we feel that he/she must be tech-savvy to an extent.

One of the many advantages for effectively reading this book is the fact that Bill Gates uses a lot of practical and real-life examples of situations in his own company (Microsoft) and other major corporations, where the use of a DNS had immensely contributed to the growth and development of the company.

Bill Gates, in his book clearly vests interest in the Information Age and helps the reader realise what is in store for businesses the world over, in the coming years. Although written in 1999, the book establishes truths that have been chanced upon and many, yet to uncovered. This is in relevance to that fact that the ideology of businesses has changed more in the last 10 years, than the last 50 years. Therefore, it is clear that this book was intended to determine what the future would hold for us and how we ought to prepare for it. In respect to this, this book inspires people to get the best out of technology, enabling companies to respond faster to customers, adapt to changes easily and prosper in the digital economy.

In today’s world, the concepts of business and technology are inextricably woven together. But the benefit of technology isn’t always used to it’s maximum potential. Business @ The Speed Of Thought identifies this link between business and technology and offers to show how digital processes can dramatically improve results. A useful analogy is that an organization is like a living organism. If functions best when it can rely on a nervous system that will deliver information instantaneously to the parts that need it.

A 500 page book about how to use information to one’s advantage might call for some dry reading, and although it is not entirely captivating, the book does muster some interest in the reader because of the colourful examples and the detailed tours into Microsoft and other major corporations where Gates unveils Digital Nervous Systems, from the simplest to the most sophisticated.

The concept behind this book might be commonplace and there may have been many other writers with a similar mindset, but one of the main reasons for the success of this book (best-seller) is the author. Bill Gates infuses his integrity, brilliance and passion for computers masterfully in this book and that reflects on the mindset of the reader. Although Business @ The Speed Of Thought might not be his best book, it certainly has made an impression on people and the way information is utilized in an organization.

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