#16: Lute Atieh: Business and Technology – How It’s Changing the World We’re Living In
27 October 2016
00:00 00:00 CC Download
“We are going to have a society where everything is going to be on demand and there will be no workdays and workweeks. Everything is going to be on demand all the time.”
From today’s episode, you’ll learn:

Today's guest

Lute Atieh

Lute Atieh is the Chief Operating Officer, Vice President of the Board at the American Business & Technology University and a pilot.

Lute has an educational and vocational background in business and technology and is seeking a Juris Doctor at Abraham Lincoln University. His passion for education and technology drives him in his daily pursuits is to use technological advancements to bring quality, convenient and debt-free, affordable education to students seeking skills training and educational advancement.

Podcast transcript

Hi all, welcome to Business Sidekick, a podcast where me and my guests are exploring the e-commerce universum, trying to bring value to our listeners and help them survive in an online jungle.

My today’s guest is Lute Atieh, Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of the Board at American Business & Technology University. We’re talking about how the technology is changing the world we’re living. Is our future going to be bright and beautiful, or is it going to be doom and gloom?


Hello Lute I am happy to have you here in my broadcast. Thanks for accepting my invitation.

No problem, thanks for having me.

Alright so can you please tell our listeners something about yourself?

Well, I work in education but as incredibly boring as that sounds I do have some fairly exciting hobbies. I am actually a pilot I enjoy flying small planes. For being a tech geek I enjoy a fair amount of outdoor activities and I really do like to spend and enjoy my time outside. But equally I enjoy being on the computer, so it is a battle.

Why didn’t you tell me about the pilot thing? Wow!

It is something I have been working on for 10 years and I finally got serious last year. I decided to finish my license and to take the exam and to my surprise I actually passed the first time.

Yeah, to your surprise, don’t be so shy, congratulations! Alright so let’s talk a bit on how the technology is changing the world. Because the funny thing about technology is that the world isn’t changing century to century anymore, or even decade to decade. It is changing year to year right?

Right, I couldn’t agree more. If we look at technology just look at education for example. I am interested in technology and how it changes different industries most of my half is education. But if we talk about the last 10 years in training and education, the majority of that change has happened probably in the last 5 or 6 years.

The amount of time it takes now to absorb the information is getting shorter and shorter!

The kids growing up with this, I am old enough to remember not having smart devices or even a cell phone. I remember that dad having a bag phone when I was 12 and I thought this was like the Jetsons so.

Now I see kids in my family, cousins, my little brothers, they are growing up with an iPhone in their hands before they can properly speak. The learning curve is going to be so much less if the technology or company do not improve what they are doing. They will not be able to keep up on the demand of the kids growing up without the technology.

From the educational perspective, how do you find the kids checking their mobiles all the time? Do you think it is beneficial for them?

We’re fortunate that the majority of students are working adults, but even that your late 20, 30 and 40 year olds are almost as bad with being attached to the phone. Since we do deliver education online, you know in your home the distractions is greater and sometimes you use your mobile phone to engage with your instructor.

I think those people who can properly balance the addiction if you will, for me being an addict myself I really cannot stay away from electronics…

I’m guilty as well!

Yeah, who isn’t? But I think the once that can balance it will be the most successful in life.

But you have to have respect for the fact that technology will take over your life and will leave you feeling confused more often if you don’t control it. Use it as an tool and not allow it to distract you whether it is at school or in your work relationships or at home. It is not a decision that you make it is a battle everyday to make sure you have put it aside to focus on getting things done.

Which is why I think the older generation is still dominating the majority business of technology. Because they were around before and they understand how to make it a command in accommodation rather than to be a focal point.

And if we are talking about technology, I read that the first time in our history, the biggest companies in the world are high-tech companies. Like Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft or Facebook and if you are not following the technology your company may go bankrupt do you think so?

I would agree! I think in almost all cases at least in our lifetime, companies that fail to make the change or at least to acknowledge the fact that a good number of customers and consumers are going to demand something more technology appealing to them.

I just read an article about Garment recently and in the last 3,4 or 5 years or something, their handheld GPS systems basically felt of the face of the earth. They lost a billion and a half dollars in revenue because of the iPhone.

But what did Garment do?

They could have packed up and went away, from doing the old held hand gps but then they got into fitness technology work. The met the needs of their consumers for wearable technology, which was science fiction 10 years ago.

So companies like Garment, reinvented themselves to accommodate the new generation of users, after serving and older population of window mount GPS after last 10-15 years. That is a great example of a company saying: “OK, listen, GPS is not what it used to be, it is free on the iPhone and Android phones now. So where do we go and what do we do? Unless company do that transition, you need to make the change or you’ll cease to exist.

I think that maybe startups are so successful because they are flexible. I used to work in a company, like 10 years ago and they had old school PC’s we couldn’t even manage to do anything on Excel and it was a really difficult from them to shift from the old school business to a new one.

And there was a couple of 100 people working there it was a mess and the revenue went down every year and they couldn’t figure out why. It sounds like a con if you do not follow the technology you might be out of business maybe we can talk about the benefits of the technology in a business?

I would agree. There are issues that can survive without it but then the predator is going to out perform you with the technology. Some business owners are more technology savvy and they can appreciate and expect technology to come to their business to help them, to become more sufficient and more accessible.

Those are the two biggest usage and then there is the business owners that is scared and do not want to adapt and is afraid of the change. Those are the one that end up going away and if you can adopt the technology to fund your business. For business owners I can speak a little bit about this because it is a family institution that we run.

My father being the founder and me being much younger half his age so it was a very painful experience to take risks for him. I was fortunate that my father was a computer programmer so he is not your typical business owner. He is still scared of new technologies things that he is not very comfortable with. I didn’t fight the challenge that many had to fight with their bosses or founders, embracing technology.

Everyone has challenges with technology and when it comes to the new age of internet marketing or even internet based support where people like us do not want to be on the phone. I like to get away with it where I can have chat support because I do not want to sit on the phone. I would rather just wait for the chat to pop up with my answer so.

Sounds like we’re typical Millennials!

For our university and founder the biggest struggle for him is to accept that customer service is no longer going to be phone based. That is the biggest concern for the consumer actually and it was also the biggest struggle what is interesting because most of our students prefer text are response only.

I hear recently from my friend that her grandmother thinks that if you are sitting in front of a computer you are not working at all. She couldn’t imagine that someone could work on that little thing!

So the benefits of the technology is that it’s very fast and you earn a lot of time. What are other benefits?

Well, let’s talk about chat for a second, especially how allowing that type of communication that improves the customer satisfaction for example. So I think in our business let’s talk 10 years ago when we were shipping books and CDs as well, instead of using online materials. In the past, a student would make a phone call, leave a voicemail when somebody would call back or send an email.

And then they would take 24 hours or the next business day to respond and that was acceptable. But the amount of human resources that takes is unbelievable. So now it is fast forward to today. I am a particular customer or student and I am doing my homework 11:30, Sunday night.

Because I had a busy weekend or I locked myself out of my account or whatever the issue is. The companies are able to recognize more revenue and higher customer satisfaction by making the tools available to customers whenever they have access to it.

The 8 to 5 doesn’t really exist anymore yes the shifts is 8 to 5 but the majority companies at least the ones I dealt with is running 24-hour operations it is not 24 hour extended business hours. Because one of the other things that drives me nuts personally is when I need to go somewhere and it closes at 5.

I do not remember the last time I got off from work at 5 but I also couldn’t get in by 9:30 let's say. So people will demand that things can be more accommodating and that is where businesses can fill that gap. I used to bank at the traditional bank before I went online and the bank closed at 5 o’clock. On Fridays, it was like 3:30 pm. I just think to myself how on earth are you going to survive.

So I have to leave work early to deposit a cheque so the banks got with it and now it online banking and e-cheq deposits. That is another great example that got better over the times and use the technology to help them.

Everything is about effectiveness and about optimization, and we build faster computers to faster and I was wondering if there is a limit somewhere? Where are we heading to?

That is a good question. Personally, I embrace technology to save time so that I can use that time for something personal.

And what I am doing is being more efficient, I am trying to accomplish more in a sufficient time so that I can accomplish more. It is a disease that I will not now what will happen if someone gets to the breaking point. I can tell that the more I embrace technology, the more relaxed I seem to be, because I feel like there is a structure in place.

There is some sort of efficiency and it is because of a struggle and I will try to make more time for hobbies and my family. Just to disconnect, ironically I use technology as much as I can so that I can try to disconnect. That is a reason why I became a pilot - it's the only thing that I can do that actually distracts me from all things work and technology related.

Because I am using a different part of my brain and I walk away feeling mentally reset and relaxed. I can feel myself sometimes building in this critical mass where I think: how much work can you cramp into a day and still be sufficient. So I suppose this is why vacations exist right.

Yeah I read that half of Americans do not take it, so...

I can tell you from personal experience that our company cashes out more leave than what people use. And it is not a good thing people need to take more breaks.

Yes, that is true and I read that before 2050 the computer will be as efficient as the human brain. Have you ever asked yourself what are we doing and why we are doing it?

You know the tech side of me wants to believe that it is true and I still think that there is a lot of emotional and intelligence that goes into doing something successful. And I do not think that technology has come into that way that it can successful handle relationships like humans can. And that is why the companies who still have a human element to their business are the ones that is successful.

I see and understand the question of where we are heading some terminator style world...

Hopefully not!

Where we're like pets... I try to ask myself questions like that but it gives me a headache, so I just move on.

When I was thinking about the artificial intelligence and I've asked myself if it's possible that one day AI will be more effective than people are. And I had one response that - machines won't have emotions. They won't be able to work the same way we do. But speaking about artificial intelligence, many people are afraid of the technological unemployment, do you think that that it will happen?

I think so and I can see it to we teach technology and business courses and a lot what we teach and what we see is basically automation making things more efficient. It is a reduction of the need of a lot of human labor between robots and software.

There is a lot of things that makes businesses more efficient and I do think that it is going to be challenging for the economy and employees especially if you know they are under-skilled employees. Like manufacturing, it might of have 10 people on 50 feet and now it is robots and one supervisor.

So we should be afraid?

Yes, I think so I think it is a healthy fear you should keep on learning and if something is chasing you like technology and automation then you should probably learn that so that you are on the right side of the how it is going to play out. You need to be on the side how is running these things and not just on the side of turning a wrench or whatever that is.

Even though people are in that areas they need to know the technology. To add by this I think small and home based businesses it is coming back because a part of the society is wanting to get to the personal connection so we are heading back to that direction.

The older generation will prefer at some time to deal with personal human relations than robots.

And speaking of terminators, is it dangerous to rely on the technology so much?

Absolutely, but not right now. There is enough manual processes that process and would not fall apart when we lose a good variety of our technology. As I mentioned with the kids that are 4 or 6 years right now if something happens in their life when they are adults they can be helpless.

I have more millennium friends that don’t know how to fry an egg properly they just don’t learn and do not know how to cook. I learned to cook when I was growing up because there wasn’t gaming consoles in the house and we had one computer between the whole family. It went 4 thousand dollars so we couldn’t touch it without supervision. So a few generations from now they are going to be completely useful with the technology.

But we still have preppers, right?

Yeah, we have preppers!

So the humanity will survive! Alright, here's my final question! Do you observe any final trends in business technology, where do you think we will be in 10 or 20 years?

It is a good question I feel bad that we pick on millennium so much but we created this monster. But the demand is pushing the businesses to respond to that and in 10 years time, I cannot imagine that there will be such a thing as business hours.

We are going to have a society that everything is going to be on demand and there will not be this workday and workweek. Everything is going to be on demand all the time it could be good but also bad it sets unrealistic expectations for things that cannot be on demand all of the time.

I see the family dynamic being impacted by that spouse everything is catered to you and now you have to go home and have a real conversation with a human being and you have to give and get a little and that is where things will break down. The relationships is easier online and in person I am great full that I am not in that generation.

If it is not terminators that is going to end us it is going to be us not knowing to have one on one relationships and not talking through a device. There was this movie Surro-something and she locks her in her home and there is beautiful robots walking around outside...

Yes, I've seen this movie, it was really bad!

Yeah, that is 20 to 30 years from now that is what I see!

Oh my that is terrible! Thank you so much for this info it was really fun, thanks!

No, problem take care.

That’s all for today, and as always - thanks for listening!

Stay tuned, as in two weeks I’m going to publish the new episode of Business Sidekick with another interesting guest, so subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or SoundCloud.

Live long and prosper!

#Business Psychology #Marketing


Do you like our podcast? You might also like our product.
Give LiveChat a go during a free, 14‑day trial.

Start free trial

Start free LiveChat trial!

Not convinced yet? Take the product tour!