Am I Following a Tech Turkey or a Tech Trend?
As Thanksgiving bears down upon us it seems like as good a time as any to take a look at technology turkeys and what they can teach us.
Much like a traditional Thanksgiving Day feast, every year tech turkeys come with all of the fixings and there's always plenty of leftovers. So pull up a chair and get ready to dig through a veritable cornucopia of techno-nostalgia.
Tech turkeys can be immature ideas that caught on because of marketing momentum or exceptional technology that didn't because of perception. More often than not, the greatest tech turkeys come from the top leaders in the industry. Let's start with the current powerhouse that everyone is following these days...Apple. Not so long ago they launched a fantastic device guaranteed to change the face of mobile computing...unfortunately it wasn't a 2010 iPad, it was technology gem called the Newton! It had none of the convenience of a computer and notoriously buggy handwriting recognition to boot. Ultimately, it became more of a testament to geekiness and patience than true utility.
You think to yourself, "Well that's fine...Apple wasn't what it is today way back then." How very true - so let's go take a peek at Microsoft, the persistent Goliath of technology. Just before XP dominated as the desktop du jour, we all got to ring in the new millennium with possibly the worst operating system ever inflicted on end users...Windows ME.
The occasional misstep is bound to happen, even from the top leaders and innovators in the tech space. Just because technology is established doesn't necessarily mean that good companies can take it to the next level without blunders...just take a look at RIM who has given us this year's tech turkey - the Playbook.
Both the turkeys and the trends have spanned the decades - how did you make sure you were the kid with the cool Transformers collection versus the guy still trying to explain what the Go-bots were? How did you avoid going all-in with one of these?
The recipe for tech gadget success includes a little common sense, a dash of awareness, and some separation of facts and myths. Early adopters have a way of whipping the world into a frenzy of anticipation, but make sure to ask yourself the all-important question, "What is this technology doing for me?" Always bear in mind that smart guys are just as susceptible to the hype as normal people and are often just as wrong because of their technolust. Finally, realize that the best technology doesn't make for long-term survival...just look at betamax.
So this holiday season you can eat all the tech you want, but try to stay away from the digital equivalent of your friend's-neighbor's-uncle's squirrel casserole. Sure, it might be interesting and innovative, but something in your gut will tell you it's wrong. However, even if you do pick up an occasional tech turkey, it's often the leftovers that give us that twinge of nostalgia for the past and guides us in the right direction for the future.