Great Software Gives Power to the People

“Power to the People”

Rich Barton, founder of Expedia and Zillow, has always sought to put more power in users’ hands.

We have him to thank for the revolutionary way we now plan our travel: independently. He describes the frustration he felt in the early days of the Internet, when travel agents had access to databases that regular citizens, travelers, were not privy to.

“It was giving consumers access to information and databases that they knew existed because they either saw or heard professionals over the phone clacking away on a keyboard accessing that information. I remember I wanted to jump through the phone and look at the screen myself, turn it towards me and just take control. And I knew that I would spend more time and do a better job searching than this person who was doing something on my behalf, and who really didn’t know my preferences but was just trying to approximate them.”

So he did what he’s consistently done ever since: disrupted the market and brought about a revolution in the travel industry.

The 1990s Web

Barton uses software to give power to peopleWhen Barton was creating Expedia, it was early in the days of the web, when there was a lot of theorizing about how people would interact with it, how it would change industries and empower people. Fast forward fifteen years and we know the answers, we’ve seen the impact.

The travel industry was just the beginning.

Even something like Zillow, or something as fundamentally “online” as Amazon — a retailer that would simply not exist at all without the internet — these businesses have revolutionized how regular real estates and retailers do their business. Access to information on prices, companies, reviews of others, and powerful mapping capabilities, to name a few, have given “the power” to the people. (Us.)

This is the underlying phenomenon driving Izenda too. We want to empower more users to be able to create reports, design dashboards, and use their business data, in ways that were previously locked away with the IT department. It’s the same “Power to the People” idea. You don’t have to be dependent on developers to create new reports for you, waiting on others to do what you could easily do yourself, if you just had the right tools. That’s what Expedia solved for travel. That’s what Izenda solves for business intelligence.

The information and the tools that used to live behind closed doors is all out in the open. The web has changed the way all of us think about productivity, and how much one person can do on their own, without the help of a report developer or a travel agent. It’s a continuous revolution in business methods. Are you using it to its fullest extent?

What revolutions have taken place in your industry? What are you doing about it? Post your insights below!