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.