Ask anyone to rattle off the top of their head the most impactful discoveries / inventions by humans and you will probably get the same top three answers: speech, fire, and the wheel. After all, human speech is what differentiates us the most from other animals, and one can easily argue that without tools like fire and the wheel, we could not have progressed much, if any.
However, past those primitive inventions, it becomes very hard to enumerate what got us to the advanced state we are in today where time and space seem to be at our beck and call.
What got us to today was a succession of scientific discoveries and the related methodologies that put those discoveries to work. The discoveries in of themselves were exceptional, but arguably what made them become the building blocks for the next set of discoveries and the catalyst for their pervasive use were two distinct methodologies: measurement and automation.
In the distance past, there were very little reason or ability to measure things. However, once man was able to measure, science took on a number of new dimensions. The more accurately we could measure, the more decisive the conclusions were, and in turn the more certainty and conviction we had in our scientific rules. Building upon those same rules helped us get to the next stage.
In the same fashion that languages have alphabets and those letters are the foundation rules for sounds, each scientific discovery that was accurately measured and “proven” became the stepping-stone and the foundation for the next set of discoveries. At that juncture, for any scientist, the core was a “given” that could be built upon, without starting from the beginning. In no time, measurements matured to the point that they were not just for tangible objects, but also for applied processes.
Once something could be measured, it had the potential to be standardized. Once there was a standard and constant way of doing a task, one could consistently follow the same process, and receive the same undeviating results. That simple fact led us to the discovery of automation.
With various sources of power (water, steam, electricity, etc.), automation took on a new turn, as it was no longer dependent on human or animal power. The manufacturing sector, especially textile and automotive, took power-based automation to scales that had never been seen before. However, while that was great for humanity, it also created a false impression for many that automation only belonged to manufacturing and product processes.
While the devout (including yours truly) believe that if there is a process, you can automate it, there are many doubters that say processes such as sales cannot possibly be automated. There are others that feel that automation is only for large organization and the smaller businesses cannot afford to automate their processes.
As a small business owner and a champion of small business causes, I can assure you that businesses, especially small ones, cannot survive without automation. Automation not only requires less manpower, it also reduces costly mistakes. Automation - Vitamin Automation, as I call it - is an essential ingredient to company growth and longevity.
With the advent of new technologies, especially the cloud, automation has become even easier. A number of companies provide affordable apps designed to automate your processes and improve your efficiency; apps that you can access and deploy with a click of a button.
Siamak Farah is founder and CEO at InfoStreet