Jul 24, 2012

Innovate Without Mercy


Source: Bloomberg

I had been in the market for a portable computer, and in fact I was ready to order 11-inch Macbook Air on July 21. It was small, light, fast, aesthetic, yet robust — a perfect laptop. It seemed like a no-brainer to make a decision.

I so excitedly went jogging in the morning with a plan to get a new beautiful laptop after the workout. On the road, an image of iPad popped up in mind. Given the good amount of time spent on it, I was familiar with most features. iPad would, I thought, be more portable and mostly do the same jobs. But, I knew it would be more productive to work on the laptop and I could make great use of the full-fledged computer. Consequently, there seemed to be no point in dismissing the ‘perfect’ laptop...

Exercise is always good for our mind. I got an epiphany without hitting my head. ‘Perfect, so I will take.’ This logic should have been opposite. ‘Perfect, so I won’t take.’ I had been around computers for a long time with reasonable understanding of what they were. Besides, Mac and others seemed to have reached the pinnacle in its category — laptop. So, why did I need to have more intimate time with little expectation of new insight?

In general, it’s just natural to go with the status quo — conservatism or inertia is after all the human nature. However, if someone wishes to somehow succeed, they must get out of the comfortable zone. True innovations have no respect for the status quo. Nevertheless, I should admit here that I’m not a very innovative person nor big risk-taker in most cases. But, with regard to technology, I believe its potentials to change the world in many ways and want to be a useful advocate.

As a result, I decided to take iPad because tablet computer is the field where one of tech & human boundaries has been pushed. I should far more deeply understand not just superficial features but meanings and potentials. There might be fundamental differences in human cognition between manipulating data with a mouse and “touching bits” with fingers. We might be slightly closer to raw computation so as to assimilate its massive capability. I’m looking forward to seeing what we’ve got, where we’re heading, and what the future will look like.

Although this story itself is, of course, a small little decision on the purchase of an iPad, same questions are everywhere in life. So, I’ve got to be used to self-disruption and prepared for much tougher calls awaiting me. Plus, as we age it’s more difficult to be disruptive, I reminded myself on the birthday. Be pliable, at least.

Having said that, it’s certain I’ll miss the laptop whenever I see someone using it while I’m taking out a bluetooth keyboard to write an essay on the iPad. Because that laptop is perfect. Hmm... sounds like breaking up with a nice girlfriend for some reason. It is indeed the same decision, isn’t it? We can’t have it all...

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