Technology Is Fashion
I have been an analyst in the technology industry for some time and I can tell you that the benchmark for an excellent analyst is the quality of the advice they give based on their ability to predict trends. During my tenure, my team didn’t often get it wrong. But let me share a secret- here’s one where we totally missed the ball.
A supplier-who is supposed to remain anonymous-informed us in the late 90s with the idea of developing a range of PCs for a mass audience with a special focus on the female population. The idea was to build PCs in different forms and focus marketing efforts on places like Cosmo instead of the usual PC magazines. We were asked to evaluate the Plan and, without the slightest hesitation, I replied that it was the silly idea I had ever heard – period. (This is the pace that only an analyst can bring to the table.) I remember saying something that No user will ever buy a PC because it comes in five delicious flavors. The seller forgot all about his plans, and our Analysis turned out to be accurate – until the arrival of Steve Jobs and the iMac. If I had to put a stake in the ground, then Technology has become fashionable.
It’s been so long since all PCs were created equal. Pc Pc. If you wanted a waiter, you turned the box to the side, if you wanted a workstation, you painted it black (or blue), and if it was mobile, you attached a handle at the top. Today, Technology is as much about Fashion and style as it is about advances and speeds. Companies like Apple praise not only the functionality of their systems, but also the finely grained leather covers available as accessories. Almost every gadget you can imagine today has been designed to emphasize form as well as function, which reminds me of the classic Maxim: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As we saw at the launch of Kin, the focus is not only on the functionality, but also on how this functionality is presented.
Why did Fashion appear, and in some covers Technology faded into the background? Firstly, since the advantages of Moore’s Law became less relevant for users, providers had to differentiate in every possible way. Secondly, the Margin for Accessories huge. Some iPhone covers contain many more brands than the iPhone itself. Thirdly, as in all markets, mature platforms tend to fragment. There’s a reason we have 500 toothpaste brands that all do the same thing, and there’s a reason you’ll see more targeted devices that focus on specific features or form factors to attract a specific audience.
I don’t think it’s a bad trend at all. My watch and my car were chosen for aesthetic reasons, so why not my phone, my desktop computer or my laptop? If more and more suppliers spent more time on the body design and characteristics of their devices, they would probably sell more of them.