Anthony J. Pennings, PhD

WRITINGS ON DIGITAL STRATEGIES, ICT ECONOMICS, AND GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS

Lotus 1-2-3 – A Star is Born

It was during the November of 1982 on the giant floor of the Comdex show in Las Vegas that Lotus 1-2-3 would first make its mark. While VisiCalc for the Apple II had shown both the viability of digital spreadsheets and the new “microcomputers,” Lotus 1-2-3 showed that spreadsheets would become indispensable for modern organizations […]

Digital Spreadsheets – The Time-Space Power of Accounting, Part 1

The digital spreadsheet was designed as an electronic document in which data was arranged in the rows and columns of a matrix and could be manipulated and used in calculations. It combined listing, tabling, and other formulaic calculations to create a new imaginative technology that transformed modern finance and the management of organizations. While the spreadsheet handles various types of information, accounting information is some of the most effective and its power is accelerated by an organization’s information technology.

Digital Spreadsheets – Part 5 – Ease and Epistemology

To pick up the story, I started this analysis of the spreadsheet looking at the emergence of Lotus 1-2-3 within the context of the 1980s. This included the importance of the personal computer and the Reagan Revolution – characterized the by the commercialization of Cold War technologies and the globalization and increasing financialization of individual […]

Lotus Spreadsheets – Part 5 – Numeracy and the Power of Zero

Previously, I explored the electronic spreadsheet as a meaning-making application that was central to the financial explosion of the 1980s and its economic aftershocks. Spreadsheets framed and produced information and meaning consequential to monetary and organizational practices as they became part of the daily routines of information workers. In my last post, I explored the […]

Lotus Spreadsheets – Part 4 – Symbols and Lists as Administrative Technologies

Spreadsheets like Lotus 1-2-3 were designed to facilitate organizational coordination and activity by setting up relationships between symbolic and material resources. Using a grid structure, spreadsheets achieve their efficacy by combining the following components: symbolic representation; lists; tables; cells and; formulas. In this post I will examine how the first two components, symbolic representations and […]

Thirty-Five Activities Media Degrees Should Anticipate in Digital Work Environments

I have been working on some projects looking at curriculum that combine media and business. Below is a list of activities that are prevalent in work environments organized around digital technologies. 1) Managing creative work and digital innovation 2) Assessing digital threats and opportunities 3) Understanding global media and cultural trends 4) Marketing content and […]

Steven Levy’s “A Spreadsheet Way of Knowledge”

I have been developing a number of posts on the digital spreadsheet as a meaning-making technology. They have had a major impact on organizations and forming what I call spreadsheet capitalism; the particular way organizations have been enabled by this technology since the late 1970s. Spreadsheets have become central to the information practices, including accounting […]

Lotus Spreadsheets – Part 3 – Identifying the Components of a Transformative Tool

I begin a formal analysis of the spreadsheet by identifying some of its component parts, a type of Cartesian reductionism, but with the intent of showing also how they all work together to create a powerful organizational and productivity tool. Spreadsheets combine a number of technologically enhanced cognition features to create, manipulate and visualize diagrammatic rationalities. In other words, spreadsheets not only appraise aspects of reality, but are constitutive technologies that can shape perceptions and empower control over the lived experiences of people and the resources that support them.

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  • About Me

    Professor and Associate Chair at State University of New York (SUNY) Korea. Recently taught at Hannam University in Daejeon, South Korea. Moved to Austin, Texas in August 2012 to join the Digital Media Management program at St. Edwards University. Spent the previous decade on the faculty at New York University teaching and researching information systems, media economics, and strategic communications.

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    anthony.pennings@gmail.com
    anthony.pennings@sunykorea.ac.kr

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    The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of my employers, past or present.