The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

New Is Always Resisted …


3 letters that can inspire all manner of emotions in people.

When it is associated with something you already like, you tend to be happy … excited even.

However, when it is associated with a fundamental change to what you already know and/or do … then the general response is skepticism or outright distain.

I recently did a presentation to a client of ours about the need to do 3 fundamental things when looking to push into new territories.

1. Remember society knows what they want, they just don’t know how to articulate it.*

2. Make your UX as intuitive as possible so people can move from the present day to modernity without feeling insecure.

3. Prepare to ride waves of criticism.

There were two big reasons I wanted to remind my client of this.

One is that I recently read an interview with a tech journalist who said his biggest challenge was not to review brand new technology as if it was fully developed technology. He has to remember his view should be about potential, not realisation.

The second was this …

Interesting eh?

I don’t know when that article was written.

To be honest, I’m not even sure that article is real … but given the name of the ‘journalist’, the visual design and sarcastic ‘riddle of email’ that is placed at the bottom of the piece, it does seem the sort of shit The Sun newspaper would have peddled.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate how mad ‘the internet’ and ’email’ must have sounded back then – mainly because I was living through it – however, instead of having the distain of The Sun, I distinctly remember how excited I was about what I was hearing.

Maybe that was because of my age.

Maybe that was because of my love of gadget tech.

Maybe that was because I was seeing science-fiction becoming reality.

Whatever the reason, it served as an important reminder to me to listen before I dismiss.

Of course, there’s lots of new things that turn out to be a pile of shite … and sometimes that is because they are literally, a pile of shite … however societies skepticism to ‘new’ plays a huge role in whether things take off or not [acknowledging there’s a whole host of other elements] which is why the next time someone offers up something that challenges your tradition, think about what they’re trying to solve before you judge how they’re doing it … and who knows, maybe adland can be part of something new rather than packaging up someone else’s new.

* I say this because people constantly quote Henry Ford’s “If I asked people what they wanted, they’d say a faster horse” … and yet, if they had said that, it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to work out what they’re saying is they want to get from point A to point B faster than the current modes of transport available to them. In other words, they were giving big clues to what they wanted without even realising it.

19 Comments so far
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i know you only got 2% in your maths exam but Google tells us TBL is 61, the article says he’s 35. Can you hazard a guess at when the article could have been written? You may use your calculator.

And I disagree with a couple of your points – when you say UX you mean UI and I’m not convinced that society knows what it wants. Knowing they like something when it’s presented to them is a very different thing.

Comment by John

i know you want this blog shit to be over so what does that make me, nostrafuckingdamus? but youre right on campbells maths ability. fucking shite.

Comment by andy@cynic

Yes it’s UI not UX but your point about society liking something when it’s presented to them is totally a different thing to what Rob is saying. You are stating the obvious where Rob is saying with the right questions and understanding, society can supply seeds of ideas that enable the future to be created. I agree with him.

Comment by Pete

Sounds like prompted recall to me. But I take the point.

Comment by John

That depends if the recall is prior to the innovation or after.

Comment by Pete

Now you’re trying to confuse me.

Comment by John

if its from the sun, it can be real and still be a load of lying bollocks.

auntie george is going to wet his fucking panties over this. sad bastard.

Comment by andy@cynic

Google tells me it is from The Sun. But not from the paper – it’s from a book of spoof headlines they put out to celebrate the millennium.

Comment by John

So as Robert indicated in his post then.

Comment by George

Exactly so.

Comment by John

Is it a spoof if you can believe that’s what they really could have said? Discuss.

Comment by DH

I am kind of gutted it wasn’t the real headline. But as Dave said, the fact I could imagine it was means I see this less as a spoof and more the first version of the article that eventually did make it to the paper. The Sun was The Onion before The Onion. [And The Sport]

Comment by Rob

In terms of brand voice, it appears The Sun have got that nailed.

Comment by George

Oh and I think I’m right in saying it’s been established that Henry Ford never said that. It’s post rationalisation and that’s hardly surprising given the point you make about it.

Comment by John

I think it’s post rationalization when entrepreneurs say society doesn’t know what they want when they rarely ask them or are incredibly literal with interpreting their response. The clues are always there but it takes an open mind to spot them and then a clever mind to do something with them. I am firmly of the belief Jobs, Ford etc knew this but their ego ensured they kept their mouth shut to reinforce their position.

Comment by George

That’s an interesting slant on it. Worth looking into. Both certainly espoused posiitvity and looking forward not back.

Comment by John

Funny because I’ve heard emphatic commentary on both sides – he did say it and he didn’t. But regardless, my point still remains … society does know what they want, they just don’t know how to articulate it or create it.

That’s actually a good thing, because when you ask them to be more specific in terms of what they are looking for [ie: a focus group] they go from creator to destroyer.

Comment by Rob

Who cares if it’s real, bad hair nerd let pornhub happen.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Only comment that counts from Billy.

Comment by DH

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