TechMedia: Latest Trends in Online Communications

On Monday, September 11, TechMedia kicked off the year with its first speaker presentation on the “Latest Trends in Online Communication”. Brad Garlinghouse, MBA class of 1997, was greeted by a packed room filled with TechMedia members, eager RC’s, and even a handful of Exec Ed students. Brad engaged the audience in a lively discussion regarding the many forms of communications we each employ and how a future of convergence and open platforms can make all of our lives easier. Audience members enjoyed Brad’s colorful presentation and also managed to surprise Brad with some interesting insights as well.

A member of section A class of 1997, Brad Garlinghouse felt right at home in Aldrich 8, his former section room. Brad, former CEO of Dialpad, joined Yahoo! in 2003 when Yahoo! acquired Dialpad. Brad now serves as the Senior Vice President of Communications, Community & Front Doors and is responsible for familiar products such as the Yahoo! home page, Yahoo! Mail, MyYahoo!, Yahoo! Messenger, Yahoo! 360 and Yahoo! Photos.

Brad polled the audience for a sense for communication trends among HBS students. The results were a bit surprising to Brad. Practically no one owns a fixed line at home, and everyone uses their mobile phone as their primary phone. Just about everyone has a Skype account and use it for calls. Very few students have Facebook accounts, but some use Friendster, Orkut, and LinkedIn. Brad then told a story of how the railroad companies declined because they believed they were in the railroad business and failed to recognize that they were actually in the transportation business. Communication trends are changing. Email companies, phone companies, cell phone companies, instant messaging companies and VoIP companies all need to recognize that they are in the communications business or they will become obsolete one day. Brad envisions a future where open standards will allow fixed phones, cell phones, blackberry, Skype, etc to interoperate seamlessly and provider users with greater flexibility.

Brad’s slides can be downloaded from TechMedia’s iSite at //

TechMedia is HBS’s premier student club serving students with interests in the technology and media industries. Throughout the year, TechMedia serves its members by organizing speaker events, mixer events with sister business school, and networking events with industry professionals. TechMedia also sponsors the annual Cyberposium, our world-renown MBA technology conference. Learn more about TechMedia and Cyberposium at the club fair on September 19th and 20th.