Technology is accelerating at lightning speed but its impact on small business, one of the world’s largest drivers of revenue and a huge contributor to every nation’s GDP, is rarely discussed.

2015_SEP_ALL_TECHNOLOGY - 6 things small business owners need to know in tech this week

1.The Apple Car is coming in 2019

There have been so many rumors floating around that Apple has been developing a car and now it looks like they’ve been confirmed. The Wall Street Journal this week reported Apple is planning to triple the number of people working on the “committed project” which isn’t expected to be fully autonomous.

Apple redesigned the phone, imagine what it could do to cars. It would likely be fully connected and could change the way we think about cars, transforming them from a means of transport to a whole new work or play environment. It could also eliminate some of the offline time you have when you’re in transit which means you can use your time more efficiently.

2. Salesforce showed it’s still a startup at heart, even though it’s now a US$50 billion company.

After another huge Dreamforce last week, analysts are sharing commentary about the 16-year-old enterprise software company. One of the more interesting comments came from Gartner analyst Michael Maoz, who told Business Insider: “Salesforce is demonstrating that it is starting to grow up, but still has the spunk of youth.”

As a company matures, the culture and internal business dynamics change. Many start to see revenue growth and innovation slow. Salesforce is proving this doesn’t always have to be the case. Despite its size, Salesforce has continued to fail fast, action feedback, watch costs and place a ton of value in rolling out cloud-based tech.

Even though many small businesses will never grow to Salesforce’s size – many don’t want to – they’re all principles which can be implemented in a company of any size and help them improve productivity so you can get out from under your business.

3.Sheryl Sandberg on small business

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has opened up on Inc. about her passion for small business. She’s currently leading a campaign to convince small businesses that Facebook is a platform they can use to promote their companies.

More than 45 million small businesses have Facebook pages, two million are active advertisers and one million have experimented with video. Small businesses are a major source of economic growth and job creation, Sandberg said.

“If you look at the job creation numbers in the United States, you look at them in Europe, the majority of job creation happens through small business. And people don’t fully understand that or appreciate it in a world where economic growth is so important and job growth is so important. Just personally, my family immigrated here. My grandfather had a paint store. It’s what put my mom through college. Small business is part of my family history.”

You can read the full interview here.

4. Atlassian’s add-on marketplace passed $100 million in sales

Australian growth company Atlassian announced its add-on marketplace – which includes about 1,800 apps that plug into its collaboration software – has reached $100 million in sales over the past three years.

Journalist Heather Clancy pointed out, in an article on Fortune, that you can tell a lot about a tech company’s influence by how many startups are trying to jump on for the ride.

She’s totally right. Xero operates on a similar ethos: One business can’t be everything to everyone, so by offering add-ons, a customer benefits from more choice and a better user experience. It also helps other startups secure more customers.

5. In-flight Wi-Fi is spreading

Next year, Europeans will get in-flight Wi-Fi on short-haul flights. The US has had the service for a while now but it has been limited to just a few European routes. It means you won’t have to be offline while you travel and small business owners, like you, can stay on top of their operations while they’re a few miles up.

In Australia, a number of business travellers have asked local airlines not to offer the service as they want downtime and like to use the time to unplug.

6.Finland just made coding compulsory in schools

Tech execs the world over have been crusading to improve digital literacy in schools.

Finland has become one of the first countries to make coding compulsory for school children between 7 and 16 years-of-age.

Improving the next generation’s STEM skills is critical to ensure developed economies can continue to compete and innovate in the digital world. For small businesses it means the next generation of employees (or owners) will be well versed in the language of the Internet and how to operate in an increasingly connected world.

Alexandra Heber Xero

Xero is beautiful, easy to use online accounting software for small businesses and their advisors. Xero provides business owners with real-time visibility of their financial position in a way that’s simple, smart and secure.
Xero has over 400,000 customers in more than 180 countries around the world and is listed on the NZX and ASX. Xero was ranked #1 by Forbes − World's Most Innovative Growth Companies 2014.