People before business. Business before technology. Technology making people’s lives better.

We credit Thomas Edison for creating the light bulb; you know, we cannot buy the type his team created anymore because they are outdated. Or perhaps we cite the invention of the wheel as moving humanity forward, but the wheel is no longer the wheel the inventor created either. Not all of it is changing; along the journey, some things stay the same through the changes.

What do we need to learn from this? We need to learn to step back from the day-to-day present-minded reality and look at where things in our lives have changed, have changed, or are about to change. As we look at that change, we also know it is important to understand which things are not changing. The mix of those two perspectives helps us adjust our goals, target milestones, and daily focus.

What is Modern

If you asked me this yesterday, my answer is usually the same; last week, again, it is likely the same. Now if you say a month, we might need to check but no urgent changes. If a whole year passes, especially in technology, then modern is definitely in question.

It is a modern concept that the definition of what is modern can change within a single year. It is not just the speed of change in what is available but our skill in adopting change that is accelerating.

Not Modern

Sometimes change isn’t change at all. Someone may do the same thing as someone else with a different word attached. Socially in tech, we are so accustomed to hearing about change, and we are both skeptical and optimistic. Each of us has developed a mental filter to choose if something is significant to us. Common ways to get a ‘new thing’ to go viral is the impression that something is going viral and stories.

Does something that has a nice story make it new? No, but at times adoption may be the significant factor. One technology that is fundamentally the same lacked adoption, and the new stories and viral growth say it is a good time to pivot. This inspires people using the older parallel technology to get agitated because nothing has changed from their perspective. Actually, one thing changed that is significant, and they already cited what that is. The big change is adoption.

Adoption matters in tech. Few pieces of tech are future sustainable without continued support and work. Adoption may create community contributions, and it may create commercial support. Without contributions or support, adopting technology actually puts our projects at risk. So, modern without adoption is promising but not yet a step forward.

When we went to the moon, did the rover use liquid fuel? Perhaps it used fuel like the Lunar Lander? Was there a jet engine strapped to the rover? No, it was an electric car with four electric motors and battery power. The electric car is not a new thing. Someone made a movie called, What Happened to the Electric Car? It was left on the moon, LOL.

Fun aside, the electric vehicles that we have today are something old that was adapted. Perhaps the most significant change that has made people willing to consider changing isn’t considering a climate crisis; it is the availability of recharging on out-of-town trips and how far we can drive on a single charge.

Mostly Temporary, Little Changed

So, on a list of all the features of an electric car, at the point adoption surged, what changed? There are groundbreaking changes that happen, but most changes are getting the mix right. We keep getting closer and closer, but close isn’t right until it is right.

Likewise, once we figure out the win, the technology game changes, and we move from figuring out the mix to positioning ourselves in the market. It is like the difference between a startup and a business that understands it’s business model.

Figuring Out the Mix

The mix moves forward with creative inventions. At the same time, it may stagnate with creative inventions. How do we figure out what inventions to focus on? The best typical answer is hidden behind the answer of what happens in the market. The market is actually a reflection of what happens for the users of our products and services.

One of the inspirations I found along this line was the concept, he that would be greatest among you, let him be the servant of all. Personal greatness, IMO, is best served by knowing how people need and want to be served. It is not egocentric. It is others centric. The more we understand the needs and wants of others, the more clarity we have in knowing where to focus our creative energy. This shortens the path to finding the right mix.

Seeing Change as It Happens

If we watch new technology, we don’t watch it daily. It is good to look up more than yearly, but the frequency will depend on your industry. Sometimes change is adopted very rapidly, but usually, there is time. What we need to avoid in businesses impacted by technology, basically all business today, is an eye for change that changes the experience of the end user’s needs and wants.

Some people are anxious about change; others are reluctant to change. Getting the timing right is not a thin line. It also should be done better than the way the industry let go of Internet Explorer. Change can be painful at times, but in that case, it prevented the right mix and sustainability in ways that were bad for needs and wants.

Find someone who is good at predicting the adoption of technology. This could be a software engineer, systems administrator, or perhaps an architect. They need to be visionary with proven perception more than the most skilled at execution in this case. The one more skilled at execution will, of course, be valuable for implementing the vision.

How Will You Influence Your Technology Today?