A New York Times article dated March 1, 1901 shocks us with the news that “Farmers in the country adjacent to Chicago are taking up the automobile fad”!
Just what we needed… another fad! Everyone knows that cars will never catch on with
the general public!
Same as FM radio, color TV, personal computers, cellular technology, satellite radio, the internet, social networking, flat screens, and online media…
Yup, all just fads. That is, until they became “must-have’s” that transformed our very lives and businesses. Until they made fortunes for their inventors, and gave incredible tools to the rest
of us who are looking to make our own mark in the world.
When opening my first small business in the mid 80’s, I decided to replace one ‘fad’ product with another. I would get rid of my “electric” typewriter and buy my first computer. You see, I had heard that this desktop wizard could give me “word processing” capabilities, as well as a way to do some basic spreadsheets. The possibilities seemed endless.
It was a thing of beauty; dual floppies, a two-color monitor (orange characters on a black screen!), and NO hard drive. Now please understand, it wasn’t so advanced that it didn’t need a hard drive… it was just so technologically challenged that it didn’t have one!!!
Backing it up was a three and a half hour process every Friday on sixty-seven floppy disks.
Then it happened. I met the owner of a local computer firm who unveiled yet another ‘fad’ that
I fell for: the Kaypro PC/286i. Tom said it would do everything that I needed it to do, and more.
Now, here’s the truly unbelievable part… it had… are you sitting down… A 30 MB HARD DRIVE!
“OMG!” I said. “How BIG is that?!”
You know what’s coming, but I’ll say it anyway because it’s true. He told me, “Well, Steve, let’s put it this way… you’ll never need another computer!”
Ol’ Tom was half right. It did do everything I needed at the time; that little Kaypro took a load off my shoulders every day, for which I am still thankful when I think of it.
And while Tom was off just slightly with the “never need another computer” remark, the technology was certainly not a fad.
The same can be said for new and emerging technologies today. Many business leaders and marketing professionals are already using new tools like online media and social networks to connect with and engage their customers, to listen to their markets, and transform their products, services, and processes.
Many others will lag behind, paying the price with lost market share. And who will they lose it to?
Well, since you’re the one reading this… my hope is that it will be… you.
Engage your customers and your market, before your competitors do.