Love It Hate It

We all have people with whom we have a love-hate relationship.

"No Mom, I can't explain this any more cl...

(Photo credit: colorblindPICASO)

Maybe that starts with our parents as we’re becoming adults or maybe it’s with that dear friend who constantly drives you nuts.  We extend this sort of relationship to inanimate objects as well; technology specifically.  I want to ramble on about people and tech for a second but I think you’ll find that it has implications for your business as well.

A question for you to begin.  If you left your cell phone at home and discovered you had done so, would you be willing to turn around and go get it or could you get through the day without it?  A survey by the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future and Bovitz, Inc. found that nearly one‐third of respondents said if they left home without their mobile device, they would return for it no matter how much time was needed to get it.  Only 23% said they’d never go back.  Technology has become indispensable in most of our lives.  We love it.  Turns out we hate it too.

Those same folks did another survey and found that

  • Thirty-one percent said technology has made it harder to separate their work and personal lives.
  • Twenty-six percent said they are stressed because technology has made them always on call for work.
  • Twenty-five percent report they struggle to figure out new technology.
  • Twenty-one percent said being accessible through a mobile device has made their lives more stressful.
  • Twenty percent said they frequently resent having to work at home because of what technology makes possible.
  • Sixteen percent said their personal lives have suffered because of technology in their work lives

Yet we’d go back for the phone.  It’s become an addiction of sorts although there are a lot of positives too.  People are able to do more in less time with their technology.  We have more time for family and friends because technology enables us to do work from anywhere.  The broader point is this.

If we can provide a product that offers benefits which far exceed the potential downsides, we’re going to be in it for the long haul.  One could argue that many pharmaceuticals stay on the market for exactly that reason despite a laundry list of nasty side effects.  Smoking is vanishing for the same reason – the downsides far outweighs the positives.  I don’t think the device manufacturers have figured that out yet.  A Harris Poll found that more people find technology too distracting than in prior surveys and fewer say they find it has improved the overall quality of their lives.  Fewer think technology enhances their social lives and the proportion who say it has improved their relationships with their family decreased.  Maybe they need to rethink marketing?

It’s ok to engage in a love-hate relationship with your customer provided, of course, that your product becomes as indispensable to their lives as mobile devices have.  How are you going to make that happen?


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