The day small business changed

Today is a big day in small business computing history: it's the 27th anniversary of the introduction of the IBM 5150 -- the IBM PC.

I couldn't let today go by without noting that it's the anniversary of one of the great innovations for small business. It was 27 years ago today that IBM introduced the 5150 -- the IBM PC. The PC allowed small businesses to keep records and communicate (initially via the magic of 9-pin dot-matrix printers) with customers and suppliers more efficiently than before. Now, of course, it's tough to imagine competing as a small business without a computer, and developments like virtualization are bringing enterprise-class applications and capabilities to smaller and smaller businesses.

There might be technology developments that have had a greater impact on small business than that of computers -- paper and the telephone come to mind -- but it's impossible to deny that, for most of us, computers have made business possible in ways that were almost unthinkable 30 years ago. With any luck at all, I have another 25 years of small business activity left -- it will be fun to see the changes to come.