Breaking down "The Tech Industry"
I’m not sure who it was, but somewhere along the way someone coined the phrase “The Tech Industry” and the rest of us started using it. What exactly IS this newly created industry that this linguistic innovator spoke of? What is this monolith that is now dominating all of our minds and think pieces and economic discussions?
Don’t get me wrong - technology has forever changed the economic landscape, and yes it has created jobs and businesses that no one could have dreamed of even 20 years ago. But that does NOT make it a unified industry. Technology is, has always been, and always will be, a tool. Sure, we’ve come along way since the first hammer and nail, but the principal of creating something that can do the work for you - do the work you physically can’t do yourself - that hasn’t changed.
So, now that we have dispelled the myth of The Tech Industry, what are we left with? We are left with an explosion of new tools flooding the market at an astonishing rate. And yes, that can be daunting. Many of us, technologists included, find ourselves in a state of analysis paralysis. What if I choose the wrong tool? What it the tool I create doesn’t measure up against all the other ones being created alongside it? On both sides of this problem, both consumers and creators are feeling the anxiety that comes with so many options in such a short time frame.
Luckily, the cure is not something new we need to invent. To solve this problem and get everybody moving again, all we need to do is get back to the basics and consider the problem in front of us. It isn’t about measuring up or doing what everyone else is doing - it is about thoughtfully considering and assessing their world, and making choices from there. Scientists and creators naturally question the world around them - and so do savvy consumers. And yet, with the behemoth of The Tech Industry breathing down our necks, we find ourselves meekly falling into line with whatever is The Next Big Thing. All we need to do to counteract this instinct is to hearken back to our deepest one - the one that created that hammer and nail to begin with.
The thing that gets everyone so excited and intimidated by The Tech Industry is its power. We have seen how quickly a single idea can revolutionize the world. But when we stop seeing it as this giant moving the world in a certain direction, and start seeing it for what it is, we realize it need not paralyze us. The tech industry is nothing more than thousands and millions of ideators and innovators asking themselves again and again “What would happen if we did it this way?” The only thing that has has changed is the speed at which those thousands and millions of ideas and decisions make their impact.
Looking at it this way, the real risk is in NOT asking those questions and pushing forward. If we don’t, we risk mediocrity and complacency if we wait for The Tech Industry to tell us where to point next.
Yes, it is important to follow the bouncing ball - to see where the trends and money are going. But we can never lose sight of the ultimate goal of technology, which is to solve a problem. When the paralysis hits, that’s the place to start.