Would someone in Pompeii use a cell phone?

Have you asked yourself how do I keep up with technology and new media when it is moving so fast? Just yesterday it was all about Myspace, then YouTube, then Facebook, then Twitter…

Soon the IPad is going to released and then you will see copycat devices follow slowly…

A secret I use to keep focused on the technology that I should follow comes down to always asking myself one question (or watch video below):

Does it Solve a Basic Need?

Does this technology solve a basic human want or need that goes back thousands of years? I thoroughly enjoy history. I remember that on a recent trip to Pompeii one thing that struck me was how we haven’t changed in all those years since that volcanic eruption. It might sound odd but I do ask myself sometimes if I can see someone from ancient Rome using technology we have today.

Think about most of the technologies that are successful, the cellphone and social networks are great examples. They solve the basic human need for communication. Our needs to be more connected and group ourselves. I bet you could take someone from ancient Rome and give them a cell phone, and once explained they would love it.

There is another thing I do that I think helps keep the focus. I try to bring down the new technology to one person and create a mental picture of it’s use. Take something that Google has released recently for local search…

Is it in stock locally? From Google.

In stock nearby? check the blue dot. Essentially what this service (platform) does is tell you whether or not something is in stock at a local retailer. So if you happen to be looking for the latest version of Rock Bank you can tell whether or not Best Buy has it in stock or it is in short demand. If not then expand your search. While not a new concept the platform and implementation is. It pulls from all retailers and is GEO focused. This is a platform any local business can take advantage of, two steps you should take are here and here.

How Would One Person Use This?

Let’s take someone looking for a book. They are out at their favorite coffee shop and when talking on the phone with a friend they were recommended to read a great book. So on the way home she wants to pick up this book. So she does a search. She’ll find Barnes and Noble, Borders and maybe a local book shop (if one still exists). Not only will she be able to see if it is in stock but whether or not it has “limited availability”.

Or another example of a guy fixing his car. He does a search for an part for his car and see’s that one local store has it in stock. This saves him a phone call or even a trip to multiple stores. Or what if it pulled in a database at the local junk yard?

The great thing about this platform is it isn’t just available to the big brands. If your a local retailer you can plug into this system, see here.

Does This Pass The Check?

I believe the technology I mentioned above passes the check. It solves the basic need of saving time and getting what we really want. Also I believe that if you used this type of service once you would be more likely to use it again and again. Take Ebay, this is another service that once you experienced you most likely came back for more. It solves the basic need of a trust of commerce between two individuals.

This is the key to keeping up with technology.

  • First, bring the technology down to it’s core use, make it as simple as possible. (example above, search local retailers for stuff I want right now)
  • Second, does it solve a basic need? Yes, I hate wasting time and would like to know how I can get my stuff now.

Now the next phase might be to deliver my stuff now, but that technology has not been developed quite yet.