Earlier this year I suggested that there was a problem with the tools we use to measure economic productivity:
The way we capture formal productivity data hasn’t kept up with modern ways of doing business. As a result, I believe economists underestimate productivity increases.
I have since refined that conclusion: Productivity models don’t properly capture gains created by the application of new technology. Furthermore, without a revamp of Bureau of Labor Statistics’ productivity models, this distortion is going to become greater because of the latest iterations of mobile-technology apps. This is important because productivity is a crucial driver of economic growth, which by conventional measures hasn’t been very impressive since the financial crisis.
When studying any subject, the place to start is with facts and data. Consider the following technologies:
• Slack: Using an app such as Slack to communicate with an entire company, including task-specific groups, management teams and subgroups is a big productivity enhancer. Having the ability to securely share documents and messages as opposed to e-mailing multiple parties is a huge benefit to any business that handles confidential material. Oh, and it’s searchable and can be archived for future audits.
• Soundcloud: Imagine having a 90-minute conversation with an investment firm chief, or a Nobel prize winner or a top grad school professor, then being able to share that with as many people as you care to, who in turn can listen at the time of their choosing. We now take for granted that this is an ordinary thing, but it wasn’t possible without a full radio or television studio just a few years ago.