I do have an active interest in technology, especially technology that promises to bring better lives to people most in need of it all around the world. Unfortunately, I don't think that I have focused enough lately on the right technology for the right reasons. Consumer technology is great, and often exciting. But it's also seductive - and I don't mean that in the most complementary of ways.
How many product launches have we endured that get people panting for some new gizmo that will be worth less than a half-decent dinner in two years' time? How much clamoring for our attention has flooded noise amplifiers in social media channels to convince us that some company's products are worth our attention in ways completely out of proportion to their real worth? Consumer tech has created an endless cycle of alluring but temporary solutions, only to be replaced by the next one. It's like an online Oreo cookie binge - or worse.
Some of these solutions actually solve real-world problems in a fresh way, and I am glad to focus on those as needed and to do some important industry analysis. But rapidly disposable technology is being produced by people in factories who are themselves being treated as rapidly disposable commodities. And the earth itself is being literally rearranged and torn apart in search of rare metals and other commodities on a massive scale, sometimes to solve real problems, but all to often simply to feed people's vanity and novelty addictions.
This cannot last. Or, more to the point, if it does last, we won't. Seven billion people on this planet will be turning into ten billion people before you can shake a stick, and here we are counting pixel density on mobile phone screens, an exercise that means largely nothing except that people will become even more self-indulgent about their use of time getting absorbed in stuff that does nothing to improve the world or their lives.
I criticise myself first and foremost in this. I should know better. And I have known better. I am trying to focus my life on doing better in many important ways, and for me doing better now means turning over my tech posts to support the people who need it most. I think of the kids in my mission village in central Ghana, for whom a tech toy means a stick with a couple of tiny hand-carved wooden wheels. Our toys mean little to them.
I am glad for the tech that helps me and others serve people like my friends in Awomberew and to carry the message of their lives to the world. But is that tech designed to help them on a day to day basis? If projects like could ever come to fruition, perhaps. But mostly people funding projects for these villages, including Google, ask one simple question: show us how this can scale into a billion-dollar business in less than five years. It's a legitimate business question, to be sure, but the better question would be: show me how this can help two billion people have a better life in five years.
So I look forward to enjoying your posts on Google+, and I look forward to providing a more focused and valuable stream in the days and years ahead. I know that there are good people in the tech press, and I enjoy the work of many honest, hard-working journalists and commentators. But enough of mindless, soulless bling-chasing. I have been betraying my core values, and it's time to face up to that in a much bigger way.
Hopefully you enjoy the gentle shift in focus that I intend to provide. Be well, be whole, be at peace always.
- Marathon Pipe Line LLCGraphic Interace Developer, 2014 - present
- Anderson Robertson MarketingDirector of Digital Marketing, 2009 - 2014
- The Courier
- Allegra Printing
- Cooper Tire and Rubber Company
- Tiffin UniversityDirector of Admissions Operations, 2008 - 2009
- Bowling Green State University
- Tiffin University
- Owens Community College
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