I am running, or at least starting, a technology business. Which means I’m trying to stay abreast of the technological ‘news’, if you can call it that.
These last weeks, highly respected tweeters have chastised Apple for their ‘terrible’ new maps. The iPhone 5 has received record orders/sales and shares have increased over $700 a bite. Samsung has lost a patent case.
What a load of useless, superfluous crap.
You’ve all already got a small device that sits in your pocket enables you hear the voice of someone on the other side of the globe. (The reception in my house in Kenya is better than it is in San Francisco). It can take photos, play thousands of hours of music and connect to the web. That’s absolutely AMAZING. I’m writing this on an iPad a mile in the sky, traveling at ~500 miles an hour. Hold the headlines.
Yet we’re so concerned with the next thing that we don’t for a second appreciate what we have.
Who gives a shit if the maps aren’t quite as good, or if it’s a bit thinner, or that it could, hypothetically, connect to 4G if they can be bothered to get that working too?
If anything we should all connect less.
I have, for my sins in the eyes of these commentators, an iPhone 1, still gong strong. With NO internet on it. That means unlike 90% of the population I am unable to fill every spare 10 seconds with an email or a tweet. I prefer it that way. It gives me rare moments to think, to look, to BE.
How many of these latest things… the apps, the games, the new features, actually make a shred of difference to our lives? Is much of it actually negative?
When do we say, “I’ve enough?”.
Dont get me wrong. Phones, connectivity and innovation DO good.
I’d argue that mobile phones have done more for sub-saharan African development than decades of well-meaning aid.
At 3Desk, I’d like to help build (when we’ve cracked the UK/US market) technology that helps people in the massive informal labour economies of the developing world find work more quickly and easily. We’d like to make the global labour market more liquid.
That would be important, and fun.
Yet my good friend and old business partner Al Harris reminded people this week that whilst the largest Arctic melt EVER recorded was occurring the BBC, even, was far more concerned with a Princesses’s nipples. Nipples, for fuck sake… who cares, like smartphones, weve all got them. I’d suspect yours work just fine.
The news, technology news especially, seems only concerned with whats new (I guess the clue is in the name) and not what’s important. We desperately need to filter and ignore the pieces of information that use up our valuable attention.
Even the ‘important’ news. Syria. The Presedential Election. Japan and China. How much of it is actually useful to you and me in our daily lives? I’m not suggesting it’s not life-changing, critical, for those involved. But for the home-counties-kitchen-table-banging white male who’s never been to any of these countries – wouldn’t it be better to pay more attention to their wives, their children, their local community and their own lives?
The Internet is a wonderful thing, helping cultures understand each other and transparency. But where do we stop?
Let’s focus on technology that makes a positive difference. Ignore superfluous news, even if it has the lure of scandal or celebrity.
Try to ignore the marketeers pull. Don’t be a consumer, of news or goods without understanding the cost to your life and the drag on your time and your attention.
Spend less time online and more time doing amazing things with the people you love.
Be present. Switch off in order to tune in.
Remind yourself that for all the camping outside of technology stores, the products don’t even and probably will never ever come close to the wonder of the human eye, the brain, the nervous system, the rustle of the wind through the trees, or a real apple.