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“Long-term technologies don’t matter.” One of my clients told me about it when I gave him a presentation of a new product. I talked about the features and benefits of the product and mentioned “advanced technologies” or something like one of them. It was there that he made his statement. I later realized that he was right, at least in the context of how I used “technology” in my presentation. But I started to wonder if he could be right in other contexts.

What is technology?

Merriam-Webster defines this as:

1

a: The practical application of knowledge, particularly in a specific area: engineering 2

b: A skill provided by the practical application of knowledge

2

: A means of completing a task, especially using technical processes, methods, or knowledge.

3

: specialized aspects of a particular discipline

Wikipedia defines this as:

Technology (from greek τÎχνη, techne, “art, competence, hand cunning”; and -λογÎ ̄α, -logia) is the production, modification, use and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts. Systems and organizational methods to solve a problem, improve an existing problem solution, achieve a goal, address application input/output, or perform a specific function. It can also refer to a set of such tools, including machines, modifications, controls and procedures. Technology has a significant impact on the ability of humans and other animal species to control and adapt their natural environment. The term can be used in general or in specific areas: examples are construction technologies, medical technologies and information technology.

Two definitions revolve around the same: application and use.

Technology is a catalyst

Many people mistakenly believe that technology is the engine of innovation. But judging by the above definitions, this is clearly not the case. These are the opportunities that define innovation and the technologies that make innovation possible. Consider the classic “Build the Best Mousetrap” example, which is taught in most business schools.

Technology is a catalyst

Many people mistakenly believe that technology is the engine of innovation. But judging by the above definitions, this is clearly not the case. These are the opportunities that define innovation and the technologies that make innovation possible. Consider the classic “Build the Best Mousetrap” example, which is taught in most business schools. You may have the technology to create a better mousetrap, but if you don’t have a mouse or an old mousetrap works properly, there’s no way, and the technology to create a better mousetrap becomes useless. On the other hand, if you are clogged with mice, there is an opportunity to improve the product with your technology.

Another example that I know well is start-ups in the field of consumer electronics. I have been associated both with those who have succeeded and with those who have failed. Everyone had unique cutting-edge technology. The difference was in opportunity. Those who failed could not find opportunities to develop meaningful innovation using their technologies. To survive, these companies often had to transform into something completely different, and if they were lucky, they could profit from derivatives from their original technologies. Most often, the original technology fell into the landfill. Thus, technology is a catalyst whose ultimate value lies in improving our lives. To be relevant, it must be used to create innovation driven by opportunity.

Technology as a competitive advantage?

Many companies call technology one of their competitive advantages. Is that really true? In some cases, yes, but in most cases not.

Technology develops in two ways: evolutionary and revolutionary.

Revolutionary technology is a technology that opens up opportunities for new industries or solves problems that were previously impossible. Semiconductor technology is a good example of that. This not only spawned new industries and products, but also spawned other revolutionary technologies: transistor technology, integrated circuitry technology, microprocessor technology. They all provide many of the products and services we consume today. But is semiconductor technology a competitive advantage? When I look at the number of semiconductor companies that exist today (with new ones every day), I would say no.

Scalable technology is a technology that is built step by step on a revolutionary basic technology. But by nature, a gradual change is easier to reconcile or jump over. Take, for example, wireless cell phone technology. V introduced 4G products earlier than Company A, and while it may have a short-term advantage, the technological advantage disappeared when A released its 4G products. Thus, the technology may have been relevant in the short term, but has become irrelevant in the long run.

In today’s world, technology tends to quickly become a commodity, and the seeds of its own death are laid in a particular technology.

The relevance of technology

This article is written from the perspective of a potential end consumer. From a developer/design perspective it’s getting dark. The further the technology goes, the less relevant it becomes. For a developer, the technology may look like a product. Possible product, but still a product, and therefore very relevant. Bose uses patented signal processing technology to create products that meet a range of market requirements. That’s why technology and what makes it possible are important to them. Their customers are more concerned with sound, price, quality, etc., rather than how it is done, so the technologies used are much less relevant to them.

I recently participated in a discussion in Google’s new Motorola X phone. Many people in these messages criticized the phone for various reasons: price, locked loader, etc. What they didn’t understand was that it didn’t matter whether the manufacturer was using 1, 2, 4 or 8 cores if the phone had a set of features, features, a competitive price and a user experience (if not the best).

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