Chasing the technology rabbit

Greyhounds racingA few months back we decided to try out Amazon Prime just to test out alternatives to Netflix. What we didn’t expect to have and now depend on is the value of getting our shopping done online, without walking through aisles of things we don’t need, and getting the merchandise the next day (most of the time). Amazon Prime has turned our shopping expectations upside down and made any other options seem archaic, slow and most of all, inconvenient.

How quickly we adapt. The way Amazon Prime has reset our expectations is no different than many other changes that technology brings that at first seem odd or fanciful, but quickly become something we wouldn’t do without. Kids today are amazed that we ever found each other before cell phones. I interact with people across the world on a daily basis, a far cry from the exchange of letters form my East German and Polish pen pals in my French high school days. It’s hard to believe we were ever there.

Chasing the expectations

The challenge is in keeping up with the changing expectations of our family, friends, customers and coworkers. Our family expects us to keep up with the communication techniques used by the majority of the family, whether that’s Facebook or email. Our customers expect us to be able to service their needs through traditional and, increasingly, non-traditional means like Twitter or other social media. Our coworkers don’t want to hear that we’re not on LinkedIn or keeping up with the majority’s use of enterprise social media. Keeping up with accelerating technology changes is an expectation.

The downside of not keeping up is missing out on the nephew’s birthday photos, appearing out of touch to your customers, and being bypassed by the coworkers who no longer share information on the corporate portal. The future is being created every day and is unevenly distributed. I, for one, choose to lean in and adapt as quickly as I can. The alternative is to let the future pass us by and miss out on the amazing conveniences that change the world and keep us in the conversations that are most relevant and interesting.

Maybe its my competitive spirit, but I have to chase the technology rabbit. I have to be somewhere in the head of the pack when it comes to adapting to change. The view is just so much better.

Changing the expectation

The companies that change our world are the ones that change our expectations, like Amazon did with Prime, like Netflix did with streaming movies, and like Apple did with the iPod. If I’m not in the front of the pack when it comes to technology, how can I expect to change the expectations? I find it hard to understand the people who don’t feel the need to stay with the pack and understand what’s possible by having their hands on it early.

How do you feel about keeping up with change?

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Categories: Innovation

Author:Jeanne Roué-Taylor

I'm fascinated by disruptive technology and its impact on our world. I manage sales operations for an excellent startup with a unique team of highly experienced data scientists.

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6 Comments on “Chasing the technology rabbit”

  1. April 28, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

    Love this story! Everyone acknowledges that technology changes quicker than it ever has before, yet the hardest thing to do today is change someone’s mind. Technology is evolving, but it baffles me when people tread water and refuse to keep up with what is better. I recently started using Amazon Prime as well, and found that I was buying things just because I could get them so quickly. You’re absolutely right. The convenience of having practically every store at my disposal, while sitting in my living room, and have my items delivered the next day has completely transformed my shopping experience. It’s not just change for the sake of change. Technology gets faster and better virtually every other day, so eventually you will be forced to keep up. Why not just stay with the pack from the beginning?

  2. April 29, 2013 at 6:14 am #

    “Transformed my shopping experience.”

    I’ve heard this a number of times from people who’ve started using Prime. The annual fee that we pay for this privilege is a pittance to us, especially when we consdier how much it changes our behavior.

    Here’s a perfect example: a dome light burned out in my car. I went to the local auto parts chain store to find that while they had the right physical size, it was the wrong wattage – which leads to melted dome lamp lenses. Since they’re one of the only auto supply shops near me, and I knew that they had the same inventory, I didnt even bother checking the other stores. I went directly to Amazon. It was there that I found for only a little bit more money a complete interior light replacement kit, custom assembled for my vehicle, and available to ship to my door by tomorrow.

    Talk about transformed shopping experience: before Prime, my shopping experience was limited to driving around town, looking for the right bulb, ultimately ordering it through a retail channel or the dealer because it wasn’t in stock. Now: it takes a few minutes of searching and a day of waiting.

    All that time I previously spent moving around town searching for the right product – its now dedicated to doing something fun, or perhaps even working, increasing my productivity.

    Old school retailers that treat each store as a carbon copy of the next are doing their customers a disservice. What if instead of stocking the same products in all stores in a locality, they diversified the inventory in a regional area, stocked a bunch of the long-tail parts, and offered next-day free delivery?

    • April 29, 2013 at 6:18 am #

      Thanks, John, for the comment. Jeanne is now an Amazon-ordering maven and we use far less gas.

      • April 29, 2013 at 6:33 am #

        I didnt even get started on the chasing the rabbit theme here.

        It’s overall a really exciting time to be alive, because of reasons outlined in her post, my comment, and others. For me it’s this: never before in human history has information been so freely available. We can get recipes from around the world without leaving our kitchens, for example. Even 20 years ago, we would have had to go to the library or book store, or called a friend who could recite a recipe to us. A completely different experience than we have today.

        I think all of this chasing the rabbit is good, but it’s a limited time thing. We’re like teenagers with a driver’s license and the keys to dad’s Olds – we’re exploring everywhere and everything, even if it doesn’t make sense. But that’s okay – we’re all trailblazers here, and the paths we’re still wearing in our digital lifestyle roads will probably be here for our kids to trod.

        So – chase that rabbit everyone. Find the best tools. Natural selection will determine which ones see long term use – and I do think we’ll eventually achieve stasis on this front.

  3. April 29, 2013 at 6:36 am #

    Jeanne, I think you really outlined a great personal litmus test for the readers.

    Being someone that gets labeled a “technophile” all the time, I guess others see me as someone who always uses the latest technology for the thrill of it. There are some things I try just because the look cool or fun, but for the most part I’ve lived by a pretty simple rule in this area (starting with my first PC).

    I don’t upgrade or adopt a technology unless I can clearly see how it will make my life easier. That’s when I pull the trigger.

    The best example I have of this rule actually playing out was the release of the first iPhone. I was using a Palm Treo because it had a Windows-based operating system and integrated seamlessly with my work email, calendar, etc. When the iPhone came out, it was what I’d call a great entertainment phone (music, movies, pictures, etc.), but was pretty bad when it came to integrating with what I needed for work. My wife was in line the first day. I waited a couple of years until Apple licensed Activesync and was able to seamlessly meet my work requirements. I let everyone else test it out, and once I got the word it worked, I was all over it. Media, entertainment, work, travel, etc. all in one spot made my life easier. Carrying my Treo for work and another device for entertainment didn’t make my life easier, so I didn’t bite.

    That’s how I look at most things. Are they cool? Sure. Will they really make my life easier or better? If so, call me an adopter.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Customers want an experience retailers aren’t delivering | Successful Workplace - April 30, 2013

    […] Second, brick and mortar is alive and well, at least for some things. There’s just something about picking up an item and looking it over as a way to gauge quality, features, value and finalize the decision. From our own experience, the first time choosing an item is usually in a store but then follow on purchases are done online for convenience and price (and more and more often for us, on Amazon). […]

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