Most of us try to be diligent students of our craft, absorbing every tidbit of information available to improve margins, effectively market products, and service customers.
There was a time when it was simpler to do so. One could read the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and several trade pubs covering the latest trends in one’s particular SIC code. Too, if one attended conferences and workshops, consulting with colleagues, vendors, legends, mentors, and even competitors, one could feel confident about doing what was necessary to win business. Staying current was manageable.
Then, in the early 90s, the asteroid hit and the web fandango began to weave its magic, spawning seemingly endless opportunity. It was dazzling. The dinosaurs ran for cover, entrepreneurs entrepreneured, but staying current became problematic particularly for those of us running businesses. And those who could speak the Martian of technology leveraged it well, insisting theirs was the NEW REALITY. We were rapt.
The New Reality had a pretty interesting run through the 90s, although it rarely passed the litmus test for common sense. Some sensed all was not quite right in Oz when the technos started screaming about a Y2K tech collapse. Even though it never materialized, something else sho nuff did: the Dot Com crash of 2000.
For a time, after e-mail emerged, things actually started to make some sense. In ‘98 when “do no evil” Google hit the scene along with its dullard cousin, Yahoo, the press went hysterical and another rapture settled on us. Then blogs, e-newsletters, and consumer generated content followed, sweeping the land like an invasion of locusts.
The point of no return hit when social media exploded like acne on a pubescent teenager ala Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter; web video phenoms YouTube and Hulu; and then mobile texting and iPhone apps. And, here we are, still trying to find the currency in staying current.
If you’re sleepless in Seattle, I’m breathless in the New Reality.
As we speak, businesses are chasing around like headless chickens trying to figure out how to Tweet to customers who don’t care, create an app that no one will use, and feed a Facebook page no one wants to be a fan of. The progressives are testing 2D barcodes to see if customers will take a picture of a barcode on their cell phone qualifying them for a virtual discount or product promotion. Don’t hold your breath on that one.
Where does it land? When does technology grow up from an amorphous changeling, re-spinning itself iteration after iteration, requiring business to hop from one trend to another? Don’t get me wrong, some things work. Who can deny that Facebook has a half billion users? But so does toilet paper.
I love Churchill’s quote, “when in hell keep walking.” So, we ride the pony through this quagmire of ever mutating platforms looking for indications of a pay-off or not. As it plays out, my guess is there will be little of the former and plenty of the latter.
From the technosphere, I remain, currently yours.