That Is Just Dumb!

Have you ever said that after experiencing something for the first time? Normally tech related, right? Well yesterday I found out that I was not alone in this and that even thought leaders can make incorrect assumptions about a new idea. I’m attending Platform Conference, a conference on developing a ‘platform’ for your business, product, or personal brand. It is being hosted by Michael Hyatt, author of the book “Platform: Get Noticed In A Noisy World”. Last night I found out that we had something in common. We both started out thinking Twitter was ‘dumb’. Read on.


Michael admitted that when he first heard of this thing called Twitter he really did not know much about it, could not see the application for it, and labeled it ‘dumb’ in a conversation. Very quickly after he revisited the application and, realizing the potential, changed his thoughts on its practicality. Today he used Twitter as an integral part of his platform and has many blog posts on how to better use the technology.

I recall several years ago having a very similar conversation with a visitor to the Cayman Islands from the American Rental Association. We were at dinner and the topic of Twitter came up. He noted that he could not think of a reason to use it for his business. I did not think that unreasonable. In fact I agreed wholeheartedly with him and labeled it, as Michael Hyatt did, as ‘dumb’.

I drove home that night somewhat disappointed with myself for what I was already thinking was a terrible answer. I Googled something like, ‘why would I use Twitter for business?’. I really do plain English searches like that. I was amazed at what I found. Needless to say I immediately revised my position, started learning more about Twitter, and sent an email that night to my dinner companion and sought to direct him to a better answer than the one I had given earlier in the evening.

Why do we do this? Why do we write off new things so easily? Are we all innately Luddites? Perhaps. It could also be the fear of the unknown. Often, I think, it is just a comfort in the things we have grown used to that causes a resistance to change.

Winston Churchill said, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” For people in the blogging world, indeed, for any entrepreneur, we must investigate new technologies and become familiar with them. Not all of them take root but we are doing ourselves a disservice if we react to our lack of knowledge with something as simple as ‘that’s dumb’.

My current point of learning. Instagram. I have had an Instagram account for over a year now. For the life of me I could not figure out what to do with it. This week my wife and I stayed with dear friends in Franklin, TN, prior to me starting the Platform Conference. In a home with five kids, all five – from 5 years old to 14 – were on Instagram. It dawned on me that my two kids were also on Instagram, and that updates by all these kids on their Facebook pages had slowed over the last few months to a trickle. That is an inflection point folks. Investors like Warren Buffet look for signs like these, trends that point to the social acceptance of a product. I think I am late to the scene on this one, but I am glad I did not react with ‘that’s dumb’ and initially write it off publicly as I had done with Twitter.

Take a moment to learn a bit about Instagram. If you have kids, you will find them there. You will find me too. Learning. Follow me on davidkirkaldy

What has been your experience with technology or tools that you initially wrote off as ‘dumb’ and later came to accept or depend on. I would love you to share in the conversation with a comment.

I live in the Cayman Islands and I'm married to Christina. We have two incredible children, Ryan, attending Northeastern University in Boston, MA, and Taylor, attending Trinity College School, in Port Hope, Ontario, Canada. I own several businesses in Cayman. My list of 'pasts' include past chairman of the Cayman Islands Special Economic Zone Authority, past president of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, and past president of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce.

Please note: I moderate comments and reserve the right to delete or edit those that are offensive or off-topic.

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5 thoughts on “That Is Just Dumb!

  1. Very astute observation. The point we always seem to get to is “How can I use this?” rather than what are they using it for? Until we are directly effected on some level we tend to have little interest. I too blew off Twitter as nonsense and a pain or waste of time.
    When I realized I would need Twitter as “leg” in my business social media platform I got interested and Tweet everyday. Twitter helps you grow better perhaps than any other form of social media. Thanks David for making me think about this. Great visiting with you @Platform13. Hope to meet up again sometime. God Bless you. By the way TOUT is my next challenge. 15 second video pod casts or something of that sort. We shall see how that goes???

  2. Interesting and thought provoking. I met up with two peers of mine from University last week for a drink. We had a discussion where I said that I could see kids using tablets or similar much more in the next 5 years. One said that he wanted his children to have a childhood and wouldn’t be letting them use computers at home and the other quoted the research that said that children who exclusively used ipads had problematic spatial awareness.

    My flabber has rarely been so gasted.

    Apopros Tom’s point, it’s been interesting being in the UK recently. You can get an iphone 5 or Samsung Galaxy for GBP90 plus GBP30 a month with unlimited data plans. No surprise that I have only seen one BB (albeit my one friend noted above has a Nokia 3210………) and you can get a BB from Tesco on Pay As You Go (prepaid) for GBP15.

    The wife is now addicted to Instagram. Loves playing with it, but she shares on Facebook as most people we don’t know use it exclusively.

    My thoughts that are “That is just dumb” is Google Plus. Still think that!

    • Thanks, Matt for your feedback. Sometimes the tools you use frequently become habit and that comfort can limit the ability to discover new innovative tools. Verdict is out on Google Plus, though, I admit.

  3. Love it, David. I feel I’m at that point with G+.. not sure if I’m getting it. However, have recently decided to put a little time into engaging with it as it hasn’t gone away yet (unlike Google Wave and some other Googleplex initiatives).

    In general I am open to new technology, but I tend not to be “bleeding” edge, more cutting edge.

    interesting to see more on Instagram, though of course in Cayman there is a large degree of inertia as regards people sticking to Blackberries. For example, 23 swimmers and 14 parents going to JA for a swim meet tomorrow. They will be almost exclusively using BBM to communicate. Several of us (including the swim coach!) don’t have BBs, but there were varying degrees of resistance to WhatsApp etc.

    May we live in interesting times :)