Progress for the sake of progress

This is a great article on the outlook Silicon Valley companies often have. It seems like they are making progress for the sake of progress sometime. I like how well they point how how these companies have left their core constituency behind (Apple's headphone jack fiasco... etc.)

The tech industry often operates under the belief that the world's ails can be cured or at the very least sanitized with just the right kind of tech, from inconsequential things (can't find a date? Just swipe) to matters of convenience (a drone will deliver that for you) to the literal difference between life and death (don't worry, big data will help you live to 120). These are all human problems. And yet 2016 was the year tech seemed to forget about the humans: the way we work, what makes us tick, and that we're all, actually, fragile and complex beings.

I think that sometimes companies get too ahead of themselves trying to be the next best thing, or beat a competitor to a market segment, that they forget who their audience is. This article points out some great examples Samsung, Tesla, Apple, GoPro... etc.

What are your thoughts monkeys, do you miss your headphone jack?

In 2016, the tech industry forgot about people Oh, the humanity

Comments (20)

Dec 31, 2016

Progress makes life more simple, but what you do with that time savings is what matters. Improvement in and of itself doesn't necessarily move the needle. From a business perspective it creates demand which drives sales and profits. But it isn't a life improvement.

Reality is life is simple. Personal happiness, security, a sense of meaning. That's what makes us better. Tech can only assist in this process.

Best Response
Jan 13, 2017

Please define "happiness". The reason that capitalism works so wonderfully because it will always come up with the next best thing to make you "happy" even if the consumers themselves don't know what is their "personal happiness".

"Advertising is based on one thing, happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It's freedom from fear. It's a billboard on the side of the road that screams reassurance that whatever you are doing is okay. You are okay." - Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

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Jan 13, 2017

If you think something makes you happy, then who cares what the guy next to you thinks. Maybe it's material or maybe it is love, but I think the debates we have on WSO about the true meaning of happiness are all kind of BS.

...

Jan 13, 2017

I found this alternative view pretty compelling, and you know what a fan of side hustles I am...

https://medium.com/sandpapersuit/side-hustle-as-a-...

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Jan 13, 2017

For the general audience who doesn't have access or Urban or Webster dictionary, below is what "hustle" means, as mentioned in @Eddie Braverman 's post.

According to the interwebs and as verified by view counts on all the social media front, this gentlemen, Gary V, is the self proclaimed "King" of hustle.

When asked what's his three words of inspiration (setup btw) he was compelled to forget all the grammar he learned in K-12, because he is a school basher, and said, "You're gonna die." English language proper, as translated by Webster, is "you are going to die" which is five not three words. Math also wasn't his favorite subject and lack of education is his motto but not hustle for which he is King.

HUSTLE:

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Jan 13, 2017

Good article. I get their premise though. Like a lot of ppl are using the sharing economy to keep their life afloat. What's nice, IMO, about this is the ability to utilize dead assets (apartments, cars, whatever). Also, this flexibility allows ppl more freedom and the opportunity to do other things.

For me, multiple income streams provides a sense of security in an insecure world. People romanticize the past too much in the fact that yes, there might have been jib security for a brief window of time for low level employees, but the work life has always been volatile for entrepreneurs and those running companies.

The article misses the point that people don't have to Uber or Airbnb. They can always look for a better paying job if they just want to flat 40 and chill. But these gigs provide Optionality which has a value all by itself.

Jan 13, 2017

Ha you may be getting more philosophical than OP intended, but agreed. If progress means "more time to waste browsing FB", then that's only progress for Mark Zuckerberg.

Jan 1, 2017

I was really hoping this was going to be about politics

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Jan 1, 2017

I can toatally see how you would think that given 2016 and the title.

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Jan 13, 2017

This is something much more thought provoking and helpful. Came to a better understanding.

Jan 13, 2017

What exactly is the problem with technological progress for the sake of progress?

Jan 13, 2017

Some folks might not be old enough to appreciate this comment but...

So you don't get things like these year over year from your favorite American car dealership:

FordSaturn

Jan 13, 2017

One of the above car manufactures is now defunct. The other started to innovate (take their designs that works in Australia and Europe) and is fairing better now.

This isn't too bad:
focus

But I personally own one of these and like this better:
sti

Jan 13, 2017

What exactly is the problem with technological progress for the sake of progress?

Because there is no point to it, the word progress becomes a facade. It makes no impactful change, it does not improve anything, it's anti-consumer.

Oh... and when it blows up in your pocket, thats not progress.

Jan 13, 2017

Yeah but nothing makes you look doper and more professional than sharing articles about Silicon Valley start ups or Big Data on LinkedIn.

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Jan 13, 2017

Exactly. everybody wants to be hip, cool, innovative, "disruptive" and another hundred catch word ... but how many would be capable of spending 10+ years in a basement trying to figure out the REAL next big thing? the next significant leap forward in humanity? Bet its easier (and better to the P&L) to just slap a new tech fad disguised as progress (looking at you Apple AirPod).

Hope we see true progress in the next years, at least for consumers (in the other hand, I've been reading that academic research is thriving).

Enjoyed thoroughly this post. I'd SB if I could.

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Jan 13, 2017

jesus christ why are people still complaining about headphone jacks

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Jan 14, 2017
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