Don’t Let Technology Leave You Behind: The Pager Disaster

Don't get caught behind the technology curve

When I was a kid my parents bought my grandparents a VCR one year for the Holidays.  To the best of my recollection that VCR was used a total of 5 times; each of those times was when we would visit my grandparents and my dad would pop in a video we had recorded for my grandparents to watch, or if he wanted to “tape” the game he was watching to view again later when we took the Maxwell or TDK cassette home.

Now that I’m older I am witnessing this same lack of desire to adapt to new technology with my mom, who is great at so many things…except technology.  She still has a 7 year old flip phone and a DVD/VCR combo player – on which she only uses the VCR portion.

My point?  Technology can be scary and hard to adapt to, so at some point many people just say “No world, you go on, I’m comfortable right here.”

In the business world I’ve sometimes experienced this same phenomenon. Our industry, electronics, can be both intimidating and expensive and the temptation to hold out and see where the market is going is strong.  I mean, why add CAN or J1939 if my product has worked fine and sold well in the past without it?  My pedantic analogy is as follows:

Your late 1990’s pager repair shop manager just came to you with the big idea that you need to “get a website” but you say naw, we will just keep running ads in the Sunday paper like we always have.  It’s worked for us in the past.  Then in 2002 your newly evolved cell phone/leftover pagers not owned by doctors repair shop manager comes to you and says: “Look, every one of our competitors has a website, now is the time for us to get one.” You reply: “Naw, we are keeping up with them and almost nobody buys stuff on the AOL anyway.”  By 2003 you are sitting at home; because you don’t have your cell phone repair shop anymore and you’re saying to your friend on his newfangled state of the art “flip phone” that “Wow, this e-commerce thing came out of nowhere didn’t it.”

In another cheesy analogy; imagine your DeLorean just hit 88 MPH and you wound up in 2014 from the distant digital past (2005)  You come out locked in a warehouse with only a smart phone left on a work bench to communicate with.  Some people might pass on from advanced age before they ever figure out the screen lock pattern, or that it’s even a phone at all.  It’s got no dang dial buttons so how can it be a phone?

My long winded and overly obvious point is that waiting too long to get into the “electronics game” might make doing it later much harder, and potentially more costly, if you need to play catch up with the competition.