Any practitioner of eastern philosophy can tell you that one of the central tenets to their way of life is being present, existing moment to moment, living in the ‘Now’.
For some people though, it is less about living in the moment and more about living for that next shiny tech gadget, that world-changing innovation. It’s something we’ll call, ‘Living in the New’ – because, yes – it’s THAT prevalent. And this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) offers some prime examples.
That Shiny CES
CES demonstrates that there will never be shortage of shiny new things to chase after. Whether or not they should be chased after, well, that’s a completely different question.
Some of the devices featured this year may end up having a solid place in our technological future, but some designers might have benefitted from a bit more time to think their ideas through. A thorough vetting process can mean the difference between Best in Show and Miss Congeniality.
But thanks to early adopters’ devotion to having the newest thing, even the goofiest of devices will get snapped up by someone (I’m looking at you, Belty). This phenomenon of early adoption isn’t so much about loving the device, as it is the fear of missing out on the next Big Thing.
Early adopters are awesome – make no mistake. We need those pioneers willing to try out big clunky contraptions or we wouldn’t have movies on our TVs – or even TV! But all of us are early adopters of one sort or another. Everyone wants a piece of the future.
But when one “lives in the new,” they often end up with something that looks really cool and fun in the short-term, but is really nothing more than a fancy paperweight.
It’s All A Gamble
Being an early adopter is also analogous to being a gambler. There is no way of knowing if the widget you just bought is going to be the next DVR or the next Apple Pippin. I imagine those 10,000 poor souls in the U.S. who bought the Pippin are still cursing every dollar spent (then again, probably a collector item by now, go figure.)
Chasing technology can lead to some amazing places. Innovations in how we transmit data, view images or track our own health.
So Maybe They Have The Right Idea
Now for the catch: Early adopters do drive innovation. They’re the most vocal user group. They’re the ones who find bugs, catch glitches and in general police the quality of the product they invested in. If all of those folks who stand in line the night before the new iPhone goes on sale stopped doing so, would there be the same push to change and innovate? Likely not.
Those that ‘Live in the New’ provide valuable perspective and help chart out what the future will look like. And fortunately, it won’t look like the Apple Pippin.
Do you Live In The New – or how do feel about those that do?