Business in the Cloud

In his excellent book, Big Switch – Rewiring the World, From Edison to Google, Nicholas Carr refers to the Internet and the contemporary use of technology as the World Wide Computer. He arrives at this definition because today, using something as simple as a cell phone – or even a hand held entertainment device like an iPod – you can connect to the Internet and use shared computing resources that even a decade ago were unavailable and 2 decades ago virtually unimaginable.

Today, the catch phrase for this phenomenon is computing in the cloud. Cloud computing combines computation power, software, data access and storage, as well as the technologies that combine them, into an accessible and usable resource. The user doesn’t need to know what the underlying technology is, or even where it’s located. The only thing that matters is that once you are connected to the World Wide Computer, you are good to go.

In case you haven’t noticed, computing in the cloud has completely altered business on the earth. Big companies are completely rethinking and re-engineering their internal computer systems, the technologies they use, and how everything is deployed. Just as when businesses moved away from generating their own electricity and connected to the common electrical grid back in the 1800′s, companies today are moving away from internal data centers and connecting to the World Wide Computer. In both cases, the reasons are the same though – cost savings realized from an economy of scale.

The biggest benefit to doing business in the cloud is realized by small businesses, and today, home based micro businesses. Don’t think though that the term micro business in any way limits the kind of income that the business can produce. Today it’s not at all uncommon for a solo, home based entrepreneur – the true definition of a micro business – to generate millions of dollars a year in income.

There could be no better time for this to be happening. After taking gut shot after gut shot as the economy faltered, staggered and then faltered again (it’s still going on) people, particularly baby boomers, are anxious about their futures. They are seeking to augment their income and solidify their retirement funds before they are forced to retire. Figuring that they still have plenty of years left to work, they are leveraging their considerable skills and experience and starting their own, independent income streams.

It’s really quite remarkable, when you think about it. Even the smallest, most undercapitalized enterprise has direct access to everything needed to get started. You can set up a programmed business opportunity online. All the software a small business needs can be found online. Ditto for any professional assistance that the business needs – legal, accounting, marketing, management, even production and distribution – can all be set up and deployed using the World Wide Computer.

Back when the baby boomer’s parents were getting ready to retire, the number of solo entrepreneurs who struck out on their own was small. Starting any kind of small business in the fifties and sixties took a fair amount of capital, not to mention lots of time, energy and commitment as well. Not so anymore. The World Wide Computer is turned on and ready to go. There is no better time to start a business in the cloud than there is right now.