Change is Inevitable

Google Glass

Glass is finding its way to developers and others and the reaction has been, well, predictable. I’ve been watching with great interest over the past few weeks as the naysayers seem to have gone overboard trying to bash +Project Glass every chance they can. I’ve seen articles on Wired, CNN, Venturebeat, Businessinsider and on blogs, etc., all stating how terrible Glass is. Oh NO, geeky white dudes are wearing Glass! This will never work! Nobody Likes Google Glass Oh no, I will punch someone in the face if they try talk to me with them on — all sorts of gibberish. It’s these kinds of comments, however, that are stoking the privacy fears around Glass, no matter how unfounded they are.

There’s nothing like change to bring out the absolute haters. It seems like every time something comes out that represents change, people freak out.

It’s not enough to say, “this thing is not for me.” People like to go absolutely overboard, talking about how horrible some new thing is for everybody ELSE.

I mean seriously? Are we so closed-minded that we have to bash, mock and make sensationalist headlines about everything that doesn’t fit in our tiny worldview? I’m not saying that Glass is the ultimate thing, or is perfect. Whether Glass becomes commonplace in the current or different design, or generate the framework for new realms of technology, I see great promise in them. I do think that +Google is doing something worthwhile here. I do expect that, it will take some time for our generation to adapt to them. Who could drive the first car in a perfect way? Or fly the first airplane? Heck! Humans are not perfect! We need to adapt and learn to live with innovation, mocking it will only make you look narrow-minded. Instead, roll up the sleeves and contribute towards a solution that will improve it. Remember,

It’s not about the technology, but what you can do with it.

As a follower of numerous tech sites, I have been thunderstruck at all the negativity. I don’t understand why people are so cynical about Glass. Personally, I think the concept is a great thing to explore. Being in IT for so long, I really respect what Google does. They push technology further, create quality, and care about what technology can do. I’m not cynical enough to believe that all of the developers at Google are just in it for fame and money. I think they’re nerds who have put a ton of effort into developing their skills, and are pushing the boundaries of how we use technology. As someone, who has devoted years of life to becoming great at technology, I still only aspire to push the limits and quality of technology the way Google does. They do get it wrong sometimes, they do advertise through it, and they are doing it to make money, but they’re still doing inspiring things. The criticisms that keep popping up as of late — that it’s a waste of Google’s time, that it’s too nerdy/dorky — are a depressing affront to a group that’s actually trying to do something new. We demand innovation, then mock an attempt at something novel, even when that attempt has been clearly labeled as an experiment since day one.

It’s also odd to see a product that was greeted with so much hype an year ago endure the love-hate cycle so quickly – even though there are only a few thousand units in the wild. The backlash seems to go beyond the usual insidery tech circles.

All of this, of course, comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of Glass’s capabilities and the fact that few who write about it have even tried it definitely adds to this. Glass, is essentially a wearable web browser with Google Now that can also take videos and images. Nothing you photograph is immediately uploaded anywhere. You have to explicitly share photos or videos with a friend or an app. Processing, for the most part, happens in the cloud, not on the device. Glass can’t record everything around you. The video feature, by default, takes 10-second videos and you have to actually press a button on the device if you want to extend this time. The battery, however, would die pretty quickly if you just let it record everything as you walk down the street.

While pondering through this situation, I was quickly reminded of all the negative comments when the Android/iPhone came out. The same people, who said why do I need a good camera on my phone, I have a point and shoot camera, now say why do I need Glass, I have a great camera on my phone. I wonder if they even hear what they are saying?
So many more were so “doom and gloom” on these. Now, of course, everybody loves Android and the whole generation of other smartphones that followed.

Firefox: When I started using Firefox back in it’s early days of 2005, everyone known to me in IT, kept saying who needs all these tabs, why change browser when IE works, why install third party software when IE is already there on OS and what not. Now, with Google Chrome/Firefox everyone is using tabbed browsers full of tabs and doesn’t even give a shit about IE.

Palm Treo: revolutionized the way we do everything. For the most part, it has in many ways. I remember handing my device to people who couldn’t wait to take it for a spin. They spent about five minutes tapping around and then handed it back, saying things like “Oh, well I guess that’s cool.” But do you use this device as a regular phone?” You guys make applications for these phones? “Why would you ever need a phone to surf the web?” “Why would you pay so much for a phone?” They laughed at me for using those huge devices back in 2005 — even though using those devices has been one of the most fun things I’ve ever done. Getting to explore the Emerging technology and talking about it’s early days was a blast! It’s where I first realized how great it was to be in Emerging Tech.

+Google+: The same naysayers took umbrage with Google+. Despite being named as the second largest social network, these naysayers hated Google+ when it came out. Too many articles were written about Google+ being a ghost town. Guy Kawasaki, Robert Scoble and Trey Ratcliff have millions of followers on Google+. That sure is an awful lot of ghosts if you ask me.

I’m having the best time on Google+. I’ve come across some of the most talented and interesting people in the world, that I may not have ever met, and it’s the best designed social network I’ve ever been a part of. I hopped on Google+ right away while so many of my friends refused to join. Those same friends now complain about how everybody else has more followers than they do.

Another instance, back in 2006, when I started using my first Motorola Bluetooth Headset. So many of my friends kept saying how weird/dorky that made me look. Now everyone boasts one, everywhere.

What’s With All The Hate?

So what is it about Glass, Android, Chrome/Firefox, Palm Treo, Google+, bluetooth headsets, that scare people so much? What is it that brings out the naysayers and haters?

It’s simple: most people hate and fear change. Most people hope the world around them never changes and turns into something else. They are afraid that change will take their job, their income, or somehow hurt them. A lot of these people are also damn lazy. They groan about having to learn a new thing or technology. They worry about being left behind. So it’s easier for them to bash whatever is new and interesting and jump on the anti-change bandwagon.

Another confusion is that when new things are introduced, people don’t know how to react, so they do what they know. There’s either delirious glee or there’s immediate doom and gloom. The fact is that nobody knows what the future of Glass looks like. Not even Google. This is the very reason why the device was seeded with developers first. Their applications will be what makes the product interesting or not.

There will be killer app(s) for Glass. I have no idea what it will be. But, you’re going to see some great types of applications pop up for Glass, ones that we’ve never imagined. Until these apps start being built, we’re stuck with people trying to predict how it will completely bomb and never see store shelves at all. It’s a time that we went through once before, with the iPhone/Android. We’re just going to have to wait.

Also with Glass, the broader points are being missed. What will Glass do for developers who are looking to stretch their brains, and talents, on a platform that could be on the face of consumers in the next year or so? It’s too early to tell, of course. I do think it represents an interesting new tool to use for POV photography and I’m excited about trying it out myself. I think it’s dumb though to see articles that try to paint them as dorky/geeky/creepy by scared people trying to talk the rest of the world out of them. These are just more of the same old complainers who hate every new thing that comes along.

It’s always odd to see people come out so vociferously against things that represent true and significant groundbreaking change and potential.

Being a true geek is not about seeking fashion approval of the popular people. The fact that so many so-called “geeks” in these “tech” sites are so overly concerned with looking cool is depressing, that is not what a geek is about. It is about being different and being authentic to yourself, and sometimes that meant risking social status.

If Glass isn’t useful or doesn’t solve a problem for you, don’t use it. But if you won’t use something that would improve/delight you, just for fear of how others would perceive you, then you’re not a pioneer or a disruptor, you’re a sheep.

Change is inevitable and not something to be afraid off. Don’t let the naysayers tell you otherwise. The next time somebody brings up some new idea, check yourself. Instead of immediately starting to bash it, resist that urge and keep an open mind. Every so often you just might be surprised that how some change, literally changed your life.

All great changes are preceded by chaos. +Deepak Chopra

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