Let technology marinate

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Why you should let tech ripen and avoid being an early adopter

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. November 4, 2014

When new technology is released to the public there is often a party of people who approach it with absolute frenzy. The mystique of new technology is certainly alluring, since innovation is seen as a remarkable achievement. However, it’s that mystique that should leave consumers wary of new technology, be it the latest app, smartwatch, tablet, smartphone, or other new tech.

You should always embrace new technology, but it’s not necessarily important to wait in line for days outside the Apple Store. We’re living in a time where we are governed by tech. We use it for work, we use it for entertainment, and yes, we use it for pretty much everything else imaginable. But what we should know is that technology will move us, it’ll teach us to adopt it as it grows. We shouldn’t go out our way for it and we should stop treating it like a false messiah.

There is no reason to get a product as soon as it hits the shelves, aside from having the small claim to fame as being the guy with the latest gadget. For many of those people the way of thinking is: you shouldn’t wait because technology moves at such a fast pace that if you don’t get this newest item now, it’ll be old news when the next new release is out. Although I understand that sentiment, I cannot condone it.

Getting new technology for the sake of having new technology will only lead to disappointment. Why? It’s because a product or a service generally takes a certain amount of time in order for it to hit critical mass. No doubt the faster you join something the more experienced you’ll be once it becomes popular, but you’ll also be a guinea pig for the first few quarters as the producers and designers determine its true functionality.

New products have complications in a few categories. 1) New devices, products, and even services will have compatibility problems. 2) As a beta tester for a new technology, you’ll be exposed to defective tools with bugs and glitchy software. 3) New products will naturally be more expensive and their value will depreciate as soon as you purchase them, making them poor investments with little resale value.

Although marketers are always looking for early adopters for their products, we should understand that owning premature technology might in fact be a frustrating experience. Remember how choked you were every time Facebook updated its layout without your permission? With that in mind, enjoy the technology you have for a little longer, and allow gadgets to depreciate and new technology to appreciate.

Don’t fall victim to the hype. As life changing as technology is, it takes a community to adopt it, not just an individual. So wait.

It doesn’t matter what your name is

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How not to behave when you forget someone’s name

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. October 28, 2014

A large portion of my job involves networking, performing cold calls, attending events, and introducing myself to strangers. Naturally, names and faces will scramble in my brain and leave me uttering, “Nice to meet you,” or “Hey, big guy!” or “You look familiar,” more than once. I’m not immune to misremembering names, few are; however, when I do forget, I like to believe that I know how to behave properly, not make a big deal about it, and simply move on and have a genuine conversation.

Too often I’ll be approached by someone who I have met numerous times with no inclination of who I am. Of course I feel a bit insulted, being so forgettable and all. But that is not what bothers me. What bothers me is that some egotistical people will deem me so unimportant that they will just quickly brush me aside. Instead of talking to me or even addressing me, they just saunter off feeling more recognizable. As I watch these people disappear into the mass of humanity, I know that we’ll meet again, but the scenario will not change. They’ll say hi, do a few memory reps to remember when we last interacted, get exhausted, and mosey on.

If you cannot remember people’s name after an initial introduction, it’s because you weren’t able to associate something memorable with them. Ask for their name again, then inquire about something unique, not just work, school, or interests, but what plans they have for the near future or what projects they are working on. You must dig deeper than the forgettable surface questions. Show that you’re not a self-centred prick, and give a shit about someone who took the brain space to remember your name. Then when you meet them again, you can ask how their life went with a checkpoint to start from.

I get it—sometimes names just slip your mind or hang at the tip of your tongue. Don’t make a big deal out of it. However, nobody looks good when they forget someone, especially after multiple introductions. At some point, you better get it right or you’ll just look silly, and depending on the person, you might also appear offensive.

My name is Elliot, an uncommon name to say the least. There is something about it that causes people to substitute it with another male name that begins with the letter E. I’ve been called Eric, Ed, Emilio, Ethan, Eli, and maybe a few more that I too have forgotten. It’s understandable—many people have names that sound different. Some people even have names that come from another culture or have a distinctive spelling. What annoys me is when someone says, “Oh whatever, it doesn’t matter what your name is.” Fuck you! Not only is that disrespectful, but it’s also confusing.

Every name represents a human being, every human being is as important as the last regardless of their social class, seniority, personality, or overall attractiveness. And it doesn’t matter what your traits are either; if you can’t remember someone, you’ll always appear a little snobbier.