Why I joined the technology industry


Right around the July 2011, I was completing my role leading the branding and communications function throughout one of the longest-drawn merger exercises in the history of Malaysia’s financial services industry. While it was truly one of the most fulfilling, enjoyable experiences in my career at that point, I felt it was time to move on to something new.

I considered one of two options – I was either going to explore Islamic finance or technology banking. Even though the industry was still in its nascent stage, Islamic finance held great fascination for me because the financial principles on which it was based were particularly noteworthy against the backdrop of the worldwide financial crisis exacerbated by the US sub-prime crisis. Technology banking, on the other hand, was something I believed had huge potential as banking customers moved from traditional brick-and-mortar bank branch to click-and-mobile “banking everywhere” experiences.

It was during this time that I got the call to consider working for Microsoft  as its communications lead.

One of the main questions I was asked, which I remember till today, was, “You’re from banking and finance, why do you want to join the technology industry?”

This was one of those questions I could genuinely answer with wide-eyed wonder and enthusiasm.

I honestly believe that, with technology, I’m participating in an industry that sees tomorrow, today.

Maybe I’m still a n00b, but I am in utter awe and wonder when I consider how the computing power of the phone in my pocket had to be housed in a room a mere XX years ago.

I stand amazed when I consider how my children today will have absolutely no concept of analog phones, dial-up modems, etc. Not only that, their practically intuitive grasp of touch-screen interfaces has created an entirely different paradigm and worldview today.

I’m constantly amazed with cloud computing – and the ability to work anywhere anytime and on any device. In fact, I’m writing this thought-piece on Microsoft OneNote (apologies, this is the only product plug in this article – but it’s meant to illustrate a point), which syncs across my phone, tablet and PC. To me, it’s like magic: I just typed this sentence on my PC. This sentence on my phone. Now this sentence on my tablet! (Yes, I really just did that purposely).

As a marketing and communications professional, I’m constantly amazed at the changes brought about by technology. Even as some businesses are only now getting the hang of incorporating social and digital insights into their strategy and operations, we are already looking at Big Data, discovering the best  ways to glean actionable insight from varied, voluminous and high-velocity data sources. Think: how can marketers aggregate the brand perceptions of consumers from multiple social network feeds, forum responses and even mobile data all at once, in real time?

For the long time veterans of the IT industry, I know it’s easy to be jaded.

Nevertheless, there’s never been a more interesting time to be in technology. With the consumerization of IT well under way, technology has been removed from the domain of geeky experts and into the hands of everyday users. It’s so fundamental to our lives today that it’s practically invisible – we take for granted the kind of revolutionary thinking that took us from “a PC on every desk in every home” to solving the world’s greatest problems through technology today.

What a ride!

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