Monday, 7 May 2012

Get with the times or get left behind....

This may seem a bit random, but one thing that really bugs me is how new technology seems hell bent on leaving behind the people who are the very reason for our existence.

I'm a techie & I too am guilty of poking fun at my parents for just not "getting it" even if done with the most love possible ... It's something that's been done for generations regardless of the industry.

But really, if technology is so damned smart why can't it be designed to be easy & user-friendly?
Well the answer is it can be & in my world it will be. I would estimate that a good 40% or more of my time is spent helping non-techies adapt to a world that would leave them behind without a moments thought. Sink or swim seems to be the general attitude of many people leading the tech world.

Interestingly, a similar attitude also seems to be dished out to the print media industry. "Get with the times or get left behind" is the pretty clear message.

Perhaps it's my Libra traits driving me, but I believe there is a lot more opportunity to create a balance. We can move forward with technology & all the wonderful opportunities it creates but we can also do it in a way that helps the whole rather than serves the elite.

According to Roy H. Williams our society is about half way through a pendulum swing towards a zenith of "we" which will peak in 2023. If that's the case then perhaps we should be focusing just a little bit more on how to help our parents & grandparents survive this technological transition. If we're so smart how's about we find a way to "include" rather than "exclude" the very people who made our existence possible?

Sure everyone has the right to "figure it out" but it wouldn't hurt if we made it a little bit easier for them. Hell I know executives who are pushing "technology" or "digital" who don't even know how to use the very tools they are preaching about. Is it their fault? Perhaps a little bit. But at the end of the day it's the creators who have the ability & the responsibility to make new technology a tool that can be used by everyone.

And that is a huge portion of my mission!

Another interesting side note on Roy's pendulum theory is that the leaders in much of technology come from the time frame when the "me" cycle would have driven their most impressionable years. So it's really not that surprising that technology has taken on something of a selfish persona. However, the time has come for us to address this.

To the youth of technology & of the "me" era I say "get with the times or get left behind"... The next ten years are going to be about "we" not "me. And in the "we" era, no one likes a selfish brat.


Sent from my BlackBerry :)

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Deeper media issues than the symptoms present

There are a lot of problems with media in general today whether you’re looking at it from the perspective of the downward spiral of print media, the shift to digital challenges, the decline in the quality of journalism in general, the lack of sustainable revenue models online, the list goes on.  

But at the end of the day these problems are all just symptoms, much like a fever is a symptom of a bigger problem.  Unfortunately, we live in a society that tends to have knee jerk reactions to symptoms and our first course of action is almost always to treat the symptom first – we take Tylenol or a cold and flu remedy to deal with the fever and runny nose before we ask the question “Why do I have a fever?”  But if you treat the fever for too long without addressing the real problem, the real problem will continue to worsen and in extreme cases can even turn fatal.

The current state of media is no different.  Print media came down with a fever and industry leaders around the globe immediately jumped in as healers to treat the symptom, but no one ever really managed to get to the core of the problem.  Unfortunately, treating a symptom will almost always provide a false sense of security, or well-being, as some improvement will take place.  However, the core problem is still festering below the masked symptoms and as things worsen the finger pointing starts. Executives get blamed for complacency and a lack of action being the cause of the provided remedies not working. Management gets blamed for remedies not producing sufficient results. The industry as a whole gets blamed and criticized when setbacks occur.   

But pointing the finger at executives or management over the current state of print media is like blaming a family physician when known medicines don’t work on a new and unknown epidemic.  It’s not to say that they are blameless, but it is to say that they are not likely to have the remedy or even necessarily know how to find the remedy.  The thing they are most guilty of is not finding the right questions to ask and the right people to ask.  But when all is said and done, placing blame in any direction isn’t productive and won’t solve anything. The important thing now is for everyone involved to be open minded enough to accept the real problem and embrace the solution.

One of the symptoms for the print media ailment is the movement of readers and advertisers from print to digital, causing a decline in revenues, so leaders pushed for print to transition to digital – mostly using the same techniques that were used in print.  But since losing readers and advertisers to digital was only a symptom, the techniques of treating that symptom have been superficial in their results, leaving the core problem unchecked.  Because of this, additional symptoms have developed to the point that everyone is now scrambling to deal with an onslaught of symptoms while underneath it all the core problem is slowly turning the situation fatal.  

The real unfortunate part is that the core problem isn’t actually as difficult or complex or challenging as one would assume and could have been a relatively easy fix – but that type of assessment rarely becomes apparent until hindsight sets in.  Furthermore, by taking this symptom treating approach we have ended up creating a secondary infection.

I know the question that burns at your mind is "So what is the core problem and the secondary infection?"  You may actually already know the answer and are merely curious whether or not I in-fact know it.  Well as much as that may be the case, I'm afraid I'm not quite ready to take that level of detail public - not yet. 

We need to align with some Investors and associate partners first - but I assure you, something big is coming - hopefully sooner rather later!