Pioneers of Promise
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Betting on the Future
By Dale Keiger
About 20 years ago, Michael Bloomberg (Eng '64) watched bond traders as they thumbed through bound volumes of charts and statistics, looking for data. If they needed analysis, they did the calculations by pencil and paper. And it occurred to Bloomberg that computers would be better at that sort of thing. Out of such ideas are billion-dollar enterprises born.
Bloomberg has taken his idea and built it into a business communications empire, Bloomberg Limited Partners, that encompasses television, radio, a news service, a press that publishes business books, and the magazine Bloomberg Personal Finance. And there's The Bloomberg, as the data terminal at the heart of his business is known. The Bloomberg provides rapid data, news, and analysis to securities traders.
Its inventor is now a billionaire, an exceedingly generous donor to Johns Hopkins, and chairman of the Hopkins board of trustees. His job still requires him to think about the future. "I'm a believer that technology is going to make people more efficient," he says, "and in a world where people are more efficient you want more people, not fewer. There's a misunderstanding that technology is replacing people. I view it exactly the reverse. The competition for labor is greater than ever before, and that's because people are getting more productive and companies are hiring more of them. At Bloomberg we are emphasizing everything that's people intensive. We want more contact with our customers rather than less."
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