THE BLOG

Why Real, Innovative Technology Is Pull, Not Push

09/27/2013 03:44 pm ET | Updated Nov 27, 2013
  • Gil Laroya Award-winning Silicon Valley product designer

Technology can be seen as the result of innovation combined with advances in materials and processes. After all, the smartphone could not have happened without the development of small, really fast processors, along with touchscreen interfaces, intuitive interfaces, and wireless algorithms. But like any product that is driven by the average consumer, technology has succumbed to the greed of corporations, who see their markets as digital dollar signs instead of opportunities to benefit mankind.

On the surface, tech manufacturers advertise themselves as purveyors of devices that make your life easier and more fun, but the reality is that they would rather shove new devices into your face and see what sticks, versus creating truly beneficial devices that answer real-world needs. It's the "shove" in push technology that kills real innovation, and floods the market with me-too products.

When the personal computer was first born, society struggled with how and why this new-fangled contraption was beneficial. Seen as a glorified calculator, the PC droned for years and years as a beige box with a big TV screen sitting on it. It wasn't until innovators and inventors took the PC and began inventing new ways to use it. The operating system and user interface industries made the PC a reality for everyday consumers. You could now use your PC for useful things, versus playing Pong.

The internet was also a new, but not-ready-for-consumers technology. The ability for computers to be interconnected meant that researchers worldwide could share information. But it took innovators and inventors to take the internet medium, and turn it into something that consumers could use as easily as a TV remote. Companies like Yahoo and AOL brought the internet to the mainstream. Grandma could now get online.

What is evident in every instance is that technology was created and invented as a way to enable ease of use for end users. As technology was developed, we as users were pulled into using these technologies to allow us to do more, to have fun, and ultimately to connect with each other. But as we look at the technology market today, we find ourselves deluged with various devices and programs, which are at best hit-or-miss, along with a plethora of me-too products trying to ride the coattails of their larger rivals.

Technology at its roots began as an invention; an innovation meant to enable users to do more or answer a need. Companies like Apple, Samsung, and others should avoid the habit of using end users as guinea pigs. If you make a good product, users will flock to you in droves. Why flood the market with okay products, when you can make a great product that will flood your sales department with new orders?

The message is that great technology pulls users in, and that end users are getting tired of mundane technology being pushed into their collective face.

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