The world is changing, and it’s technology’s fault!
Having food delivered from any/every restaurant you want used to be the exclusive preserve of those lucky enough to be able to afford a butler and/or maid to go out and fetch it. Same day delivery of clothing purchases (whether online or otherwise) used to be a luxury. Telephones just used to make calls.
Yes, there is resistance, people bemoaning our current reliance on smartphones, romanticising the ‘good old days’, but it looks like it’s only going one way: towards a more digitised world.
As a consumer these changes are usually exciting; who wouldn’t want a self driving fridge? However in the working world there is much at stake. In business, choosing the right tech for your company can be a make or break decision.
The release of business to business (B2B) products aren’t neatly spaced out like new lines of toothpaste, slowly and incrementally pushing out changes so as to capitalise on the marketing hype around each iteration. They actually need to work better than the previous model or people lose faith/interest.
Solving big problems for businesses (if you can achieve it) is a way to potentially make millions, and some of the smartest and most ambitious people in the world are trying to make retirement money out of their innovations. The tech is smart, thus the decisions are hard.
Search ‘kitchen towel product review’ in Google and you will unearth a dizzying number of articles (119 million, FYI), among which are lists of comparative reviews with names such as Best Kitchen Towels in 2018, or The Best Kitchen Towels You Can Buy.
The modern world presents us with an absurd amount of choice. There is no way to do all of the research on anything. However we do owe it to ourselves to keep up, at least enough to be a functioning member of society. One day we will talk about email the way we currently do about the fax machine.
In business this means keeping up with (or ideally just ahead of) the changes in consumer behaviour that drive your industry. These changes are rapid, the margin for error low, and the punishment for falling even a little behind can be bankruptcy.
This time of accelerated change is a very recent phenomenon. We have had telephones since the late 1800s, and they performed exactly the same function for a hundred years until engineer Neil Papworth sent the first SMS on December 3rd, 1992. Since then mobile phones have become capable of anything a household computer can achieve, and the change is only becoming more rapid.
The idea that the solution to any problem, whether in the home or in the workplace, will remain the best solution for any great length of time needs to be forgotten, or at least treated with a sturdy salt rimmed dose of skepticism.
The world is striding ravenously forward and no amount of resistance is going to change this. You only have to look at the colossal financial success stories of the 21st century to see that embracing new and imaginative applications of technology at the right time is a great way to be successful.
Facebook, Apple, Amazon, these companies have all made staggering amounts of cash based on technologies that either didn’t exist 30 years ago, or existed in such a primitive and expensive form that they would not have been able to support their current business models in their current state.
If Apple wearables was a business in its own right it would rank as a fortune 400 company, that means they make $27B or more in annual revenue.
This rise of technology that only 20 years ago was the stuff of futurists’ dreams is truly staggering, and seems to heavily underscore the direction and speed of the world as it relates to the adoption of technology.
Anyone who plans to be successful in business (or perhaps even in life) into perpetuity needs to ask themselves where they fit in to this new way of being.