Muhammad Yunus on Simplifying Technology

muhammad_yunus.03.jpgSometimes its hard for me to step back and think of a simple world in which technology would play a big part.
I think the Apple Ipod is simple – but I bought it for someone for a gift and it’s gathering dust in their drawer.
I think Facebook is easy to use – but many small businesses still don’t have decent web sites.
Putting videos on Youtube is fairly easy, but why is it that more small businesses aren’t using digital cameras in their business?

I could go on.
Muhammad Yunus, of micro-credit fame, is a smart man. He speaks to Fortune about technology and its role for developing countries.
He thinks computers are useful but wishes there was an even simpler tool. So someone in a developing country could just say, for example, I have 100 rugs, please help me find a buyer. Sounds like a job for Google.

In developed countries we have a whole network of people and organizers to help us – SCORE, SBA, SBDCs and local chambers and professional associations. However, in developing countries much of the free (and even paid) advice that we have and often don’t use, is not available to these businesses.
Maybe you say, well if we gave everyone their own computer they could access these resources on their own. It’s not quite simple to “Google” and find someone who can buy your 100 rugs. And then buy 100 more next month. it takes a lot more than simply searching on Google. However, I’m sure technology could be leveraged more to connect micro and global buys and sellers.
Maybe using a cell phone would be a good start. You Twitter to a global marketplace network, what you have and a short description. Buyers in the marketplace can contact you via SMS to get more details and make final arrangements. The entire transaction can be safe and secure and handled via a central market place.
Technology is critical and this article helps me reflect that in developing countries our fellow small businesses still need a lot of help in using technology as a tool to grow their business.