Go Beyond Broadband To Build Truly Strong Business Relationships

When was the last time you spoke in-depth with a business partner about their kids, or their latest vacation? Troy Carter of Atom Factory and Padmashree Warrior of Cisco Systems believe we’re becoming increasingly disconnected, and it’s impacting how we perform at work.

It’s no surprise that technology has drastically changed the way we do business. But are all the changes positive?


Troy Carter, CEO and Founder of entertainment management company Atom Factory, and Padmashree Warrior, Chief Technology and Strategy Officer of Cisco Systems, think that the advent of increasingly impersonal technology has not only revolutionized the daily routine, but is negatively affecting relationships in the office.

Carter, who started as a young entrepreneur before the age of cellphones and video conference calls at Bad Boy Entertainment, says that business has become too tech-dependent, at the expense of the face-to-face interactions, it once required. That shift has become increasingly apparent as a new generation of entrepreneurs enter the business world.

“With a lot of the younger executives that come through, the relationships are almost transactional,” he says. “Being able to spend that time–knowing about their kids, knowing about their spouse, and knowing where they vacation–a lot of those personal things, I think it adds value to the business relationship.”

Warrior expresses a similar sentiment. “The ability and skill set to form relationships and build on relationships is so important in the world of business that its often overlooked,” she says.

Warrior stressed the importance of maintaining unplugged relationships.

“It’s also important to meet people face to face and have that connection,” she says.


The best meetings, after all, often take place not just in person–but out in the open air. So what’s the easiest way to restore fading relationships, and strengthen them in the future? Find a balance between both worlds, and be intentional in your use of technology.

“I try to marry my online relationships with people with meaningful offline relationships,” Carter says. “It’s still good to pick up the phone and call somebody, or go over to someone’s house to see them in person.”

About the author

Former Editorial Assistant Miles Kohrman helped run Fast Company's homepage and completed miscellaneous tasks around the newsroom. He is a 2013 graduate of The New School.