We live in a world where new tech is bring introduced all the time. How do you tell which ones are right for you to spend time learning about, adopting, and using? Here’s a simple list, and new tech pretty much has to check off 3 or more of these in order to have a shot at staying with us.
1. It Solves an Actual Problem
Lots of people invent lots of things that are neat. Like, it’s impressive they could make it work. But they’re not solving a problem. I’m looking at you, Samsung phone that watches me and pauses video when I look away. This was not a problem.
2. It Fits Our World
This is a tough one, because some truly revolutionary technologies can actually change our world. But when they don’t, they need to fit within our physical reality. Segway never “made it” primarily because it didn’t fit into our existing world. They got dangerous on crowded sidewalks, were a pain to lug up and down stairs (stair-climbing mode notwithstanding), and so on. They’re mostly a gee-whiz thing used for city tours, now. Ditto a lot of home automation attempts over the years – cool, but they didn’t fit the way we live, and only a few enthusiasts will change their lives to accommodate their tech.
3. It’s Derivative
We tend to think of technology as revolutionary, but the tech that has the best chance of sticking around tends to be stuff that builds on what we’re already familiar with. iPhones weren’t terribly revolutionary; they took an established thing – the smart phone – and added a big, capacitive touch screen and some smart software. They wound up being far more compelling that predecessor smartphones, and paved the way for the whole category to become dominant. Shocking, right?
4. It Captures Attention
Don Jones’ Rule of Commercial Technology: it’s About the Commercial, not the Technology. Technology needs to be on our minds, and become a part of our routines. So it’s got to appeal to us. Those Snapchat glasses were not appealing At All. Facebook, and what it promised in terms of connecting us to friends, was appealing. It doesn’t always matter if the technology lives up to the commercial in the first version; that’s what future versions are for.