So lame it just might work

Screenshot from Saturday Night Live

How the stupidest technology can catch on

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. Feb. 24, 2015

This is not a criticism of any individual or organization, but rather the designs that come from an embarrassing collective demand. I’m talking about technology such as the selfie stick. You know, the elongated pole that people use to take pictures of themselves. Honestly I don’t mind it, the same way I don’t mind someone wearing a fanny pack, or socks and sandals. We can all do whatever we want; however, I’m surprised that technology has gone from innovative to awkward.

I’m as comfortable implementing hashtags into my social media posts as I am making cold calls on the phone. There is just something about the action that I still can’t buy into. For lack of a better phrase, when I do use hashtags to further my social media reach, I feel like I’m trying too hard. I feel like I’m trying to show off in an audition, I feel like I’m trying to get the pretty girl to look at me, I feel like I’m knotting a bow tie for a business-casual kind of party. I feel lame.

I know I shouldn’t because it is just technology, and hell everyone is doing it. In fact, some might say I’m stupid for not using selfie sticks to take my pictures and hashtagging my photos #SelfieStick on Instagram. Even that sentence caused me to cringe a bit.

For a while, I watched as some “fortunate” individuals walked around town with Google Glass on their face. They did whatever they did, smiling and explaining what they were doing while they were doing it, and it was all fun and merriment. However, one day Google Glass’s popularity plummeted and now I rarely see it around. Perhaps it was because those who were wearing it were deemed “Glassholes” and that led to problematic interactions. Like Bluetooth earpieces, you cannot look cool wearing it while walking down the street because you just don’t need it. You look stupid, arrogant, and lazy.

Technology, tools, and metadata tags are useful in situations where they are actually necessary. In my mind, there needs to be a purpose for something to be “cool.” It’s not cool hashtagging every word in your Twitter post, even if it’s done ironically, because that post will ultimately affect nobody.

However, if you are expressing your opinion, offering insight, or promoting something of value, then hashtags are great because you give someone who is searching #Cupcakes a place for them to find cupcakes, recipes for cupcakes, or your opinion on a brand of cupcakes. If you are driving a car, Bluetooth is wonderful. If you want to get a group picture without excluding someone, selfie sticks are the grand solution. And if you have other friends with Google Glass, it would be awesome to interact through that wearable platform. However, people are using technology for reasons that are beyond me, and that is why so many of us consider them lame.

Mosaic Manufacturing Innovates 3D Printing by Combining Multiple Materials

By now we have all seen a commercial 3D printer in action, spitting out filaments layer by layer until it replicates a predetermined design.

The technology is stunning, but conventional usage of 3D printers has been limiting for two specific reasons: technology and design. Sure, we can all use more trinkets, knick-knacks and miniature models, but there must be a way to add value to the printers. Perhaps one day we’ll have 3D printer sets in our home, an appliance placed beside the microwave, blender and television.

Kingston, Ontario-based, Mosaic Manufacturing is not a company that builds 3D printers but a company that is making 3D printers better, more practical and with a greater purpose. By introducing multi-material and multi-colour filaments into the printing process, Mosaic is able to create working products such as a flashlight.

“[The flashlight] is very much a proof of concept,” said Chris Labelle, co-founder and COO of Mosaic Manufacturing. “At the end of the day, it is not that usable. But what it represents is the potential in all those machines.”

For the time being, electric devices require certain parts and assembly. The capacity to add several materials into the 3D printing process will enable the industry to print goods in a cost-saving manner. Imagine a world where we can print a remote control when we lose it.

The old solution, should you want to print a multi-colour or multi-material product, is to have two printer heads performing different tasks (example: one would distribute the colour red and the other one would distribute blue). The problem with this process is that—like a hot glue gun—when you stop using it, the material will ooze and drip.

“The two main things you need for a circuit are an insulator and a conductor, and if you think about all the printers on the market, the vast majority—80-90%­–of them only have one printer head. So they can’t print an insulator and a conductor.” Labelle continues, “If you drip conductor filament and you complete the circuit, you’ll have a short circuit. Your part just doesn’t work.”

The Mosaic Manufacturing solution takes materials with different properties and combines it into a single filament so that it extrudes from a single printer. Using Mosaic’s unique software, the program is able to analyze the design model and determine what material is needed in what order.

“Multi-colour and multi-material is huge when you start thinking about how limited the range of item you can print in this world,” said Labelle. “It’s probably 0.1%. We want that to be one day 100%. Materials with different properties is the first step in a world where we can just download a file and print something, instead of ordering it from”

The number of use cases for 3D printer will depend on the person using it, but as the technology and design outlets improve, we may find it to be the convenient and feasible solution. A kilogram of filament is currently priced at approximately $35. With a kilogram, you can print a lot of things (example: a phone case may cost you $20-$30, if you print it, it’ll cost you 50 cents).

“You have a hammer, you can hammer nails,” said Labelle. “You have a printer, you can make anything. People will find uses for it.”

When I was young versus kids these days: Technology for romance

Opinions_technology romance

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. Feb. 3, 2015

Technology has always played an integral role in the way people communicate their affections, lusts, and desires. From the age of innocence and the composition of handwritten letters to the modern age of Tinder, PlentyOfFish, and Snapchat, we have always found ways to showcase ourselves in the most attractive manner. But times have changed our behaviour; online relationships are not what they once were.

When I was young MSN Messenger was at its prime, ICQ was nearing extinction, and personalized HTML websites, such as Nexopia, were starting to make an impression on youths. Technology was giving us hormone-overloaded kids new opportunities to flirt and establish relationships digitally. Gone were the days of calling a girl’s home, having her father pick up, and then awkwardly inquiring after her. I was a part of the first ever generation to enter high school with a cellphone—albeit my plan was limited to emergencies. Either way, we were living in a new age. Socializing occurred in classrooms and hallways, but it also took place after school, online.

During that time, the Internet was a way to present our persona, but more often than not, our vulnerabilities. Kids were marketing themselves in all the worst possible ways. We showed off our interest and begged for approval, but more often than not our efforts went ignored. The Internet became another playing field for popularity where only few can excel. Keep in mind that this is before the time of Facebook, and although connections with friends are common, as high school students, opportunities to expand our networks were limited and the risk of talking to strangers was high.

Kids these days have more communication choices than friends to talk with and the Internet infrastructure is now incredibly advanced. Apparently, with the right algorithm, you can fill out some questions and have a computer find a mate for you. Such technology is a little eerie to me. Although we don’t understand how it works, we are no longer afraid of it. Internet dating is no longer taboo—it’s big business. But that’s an adult service and I’m talking about the children. Won’t somebody think of the children!

With the improvement of technology, high school students are rejoicing in the convenience, but are also suffering from the danger. Cyber bullying and permanent blemishes such as nude images have taken the lives of numerous young people, and will continue to cause casualties. In my day, kids were limited to the word of mouth. Now, relationships and defamation are at the tips of your fingers.

When I was young I was a part of a popularity contest; the worst thing that could happen was indifference. Now, the effects can last a lifetime. Tech companies that focus on communication for a younger demographic need to find a solution, a means to regulate without interfering. But then again, growing up is all about making mistakes. Figure it out or log off.

We Day Vancouver Empowers Youth To Make Next Technological Leap in Global Activism

Posted by Elliot Chan on Oct 24, 2014
Originally published on Techvibes Media.

Jennifer Lopez, Selena Gomez, Orlando Bloom, Nick Jonas, Macklemore And Ryan Lewis Come Together At We Day Vancouver To Inspire Young People To Change The World
On October 22, Rogers Arena filled up early in the morning like many classrooms across British Columbia would. However, instead of the familiar math, science, and English lectures, the attendees—made up by a majority of elementary, middle and high school students—were empowered to dream bigger, achieve greater and shout loader.

Needless to say, We Day was not an average Wednesday.

This year’s event was built upon the concept of empowerment, framed around four different aspects: economics, technological, social and educational. With speeches and presentations from educators and celebrities within the popular youth periphery, the event made me wonder what impacts it would have had on me if I was 12 years younger, feeling the limitless power of my potential.

Although I sometimes carry the been-there-done-that attitude during events catered to the younger generation, I cannot help noticing the engagement between the youth and the technology they know and use oh so well. Smartphone cameras lit up the stadium the same way lighters were once held during a soft rock ballad. Live tweets from the audience created a whole other channel to share inspiring messages. And the addition of virtual engagement to earn points for a charitable cause speaks volume to the innovation of philanthropy.

Technology supports activism like a ladder supports a builder. In a global community, we need to reach higher and farther in order to make an effective change; and tech innovations and the leaders behind them are paving the way, allowing us to accomplish more when we do lend a hand. And We Day and their organizers at Free the Children have proven to be exceptional leaders in that regard.

During the event I was fortunate enough to be seated next to Lee Taal, CEO and founder of Chatter High, a gamified application that encourages high school students to participate in activities that educated them in real life decisions including, post-secondary choices, career opportunities, etc. The points earned through Chatter High can then be transferred into prizes or be donated to a charity through Free the Children.

“I think inside of us there is a desire to do good things,” said Taal, as We Day got underway. “[Students] don’t want to waste time and We Day gives them something to believe in. They know this organization.”

According to Locket, the average person checks their phone 110 times a day. Why? The speakers at We Day believe that “we check our phones so much because we are looking for something that inspire us.” There is a demand out there and technology can effectively fill that void.

For every download of the We Day We365 app, Telus will donate $5 to We Day and partnering educational programs. The application offers community challenges, track volunteer hours, acts a social media platform and reward achievements.

The events from We Day Vancouver will be broadcast on November 11 on MTV and on November 22 on CTV.

Let technology marinate

9_early adopter

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.

How Making, Recording, and Measuring Decisions as a Team Can Change Your Company

Nothing says teamwork better than a group of people aligned in the decision making process. While some workplaces are guided by the “executive decisions” of the boss, that leadership practice might not necessary be the best approach in advocating change, nurturing involvement and learning from prior mistakes (i.e. bad decisions).

Steven Forth, CEO and director of Nugg, an application that enable workplace team members to focus, decide, track and align ideas, believes that decisions should not be made in a vacuum, and that the full decision-making cycle begins and ends with proper communication.

Forth wrote: “Some would say research, and research is sometimes needed, but the best decisions are made as part of conversations.”

Intuitive decisions should not feel random

The decision making cycle includes five key steps: surface, discuss, decide, execute, and review; all of which plays into a long-term goal. It’s true that not all decisions are of equal value; some are undoubtedly more serious than others. With that being said, the process of making decisions should not feel random, even though gut feelings, deadlines and stress may play a role.

“Emotions are critical to making intuitive decisions. ‘It feels right’ is a valid reason to make a decision,” wrote Forth. “But you still need to think through what the outcomes will be. Nugg let’s you mark any update or comment as a decision and then you or another person on your team can unfold that decision in more detail.”

Designate time to perform and review

By establishing a workplace culture that track, measure and review decisions after time have passed, allows team members to stay alert and execute appropriately in the future. Setting deadlines may seem like a stress magnifier, but that is not necessarily true. Implementing deadlines can sharpen intuitive decision-making, dampen procrastination and offer a more focused timeframe for exploration.

“Review date and getting explicit about expected and actual outcomes is so important,” Forth wrote. “And in most cases the first review should be relatively soon, within three months at the very longest. If you expect an outcome and are not getting it you need to review the decision.”

Don’t let good ideas and bad results get lost in the clutter

It’s not surprising that most people would want to quickly dismiss a bad decision from the past, wipe it from their mind and start anew. But that mentality will lead to history repeating itself. Don’t simply brush bad results under the desk, because they’ll likely reemerge in another form to waste time, effort and money.

On the flip side of the coin, good ideas are exchanged on the daily with zero trace. These ideas are often lost in an email thread, scattered amongst the shambles on your desk or simply placed in the back of your mind.

“Recording decisions and measuring the outcomes is critical today,” noted Gord Kukec, Member of the BCFerries Board of Directors, in a conversation with Nugg. “With so much happening it is easy for people to lose track of decisions and fail to check what actually results, but few teams do this in any systematic way. If you don’t record your decisions and measure the outcomes, you will never improve.”

Employ team members to participate in the decision-making process

Making decisions, especially on behalf of a whole company, is a scary venture. Ultimately, most long-term results are unpredictable.

That being the case, an individual may panic, second-guess or be guided by a bias intention. Even the most apt leaders will have trouble making those “executive decisions,” but the pressure shouldn’t fall solely on the boss—the supporting team should have equal responsibility to supply input and review previous cases, thus leading the best possible result, even if the decision was made in haste.

Top 10 Crazy Car Concepts That Almost Made It


Posted by  | July 08, 2014 |
Originally published in

Car concepts, like fashion, can be creative, innovative, evocative and occasionally a complete faux pas. You can take a look at some failed vehicles on our list of the ugliest cars ever produced, if you need proof of how bad some designs can be.

During auto shows, concept cars are presented to both the public and the industry. It is there that car companies and designers get a chance to measure the overall reaction of their imaginative prototypes. It’s unlikely that these ambitious and unique vehicles would become the next Bugatti Veyron, but it’s a chance for the manufacturers to show everyone what is possible.

While some concept cars actually make it onto the assembly line, others fade away, only to be found in the obscure history books. Here are 10 crazy car concepts that came, went and even foreshadowed the next generation of automobiles.

10. Toyota RV-2 (1972)

Toyota RV-2

The Toyota RV-2 was a four-person camper and standard station wagon all in one. Inspired by the Volkswagen camper bus of the ‘70s, Toyota was trying to appeal to outdoorsy hippies as well as drivers who just wanted a practical vehicle. The innovative, yet far from revolutionary, clamshell roof opened up, revealing a canvas tent that offered a sleeping arrangement that was more comfortable than most backseat at the time.

The emerald green concept car made its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1972 and received positive response from the public. However, it was not popular enough to be worthy of mass production on a wide market.

9. Honda Fuya-Jo (1999)

Honda Fuya-Jo

The Honda Fuya-Jo was built to be a “mobile sound studio,” even though it looks like an oversized purple toaster oven. Translated, Fuya-Jo means “Sleepless City” in Japanese, which make sense, because who can really sleep in this four-seater dance floor on wheels? Taking inspiration from modern clubbing culture, Honda has attempting to replicate the DJ’s mix table and offer a ride that simulates the nightlife experience.

Unfortunately, many feared that the Fuya-Jo might be sending a message that drinking and then driving to the after-party was all right, thus keeping it from the production line.

8. Dodge Kahuna (2003)

Dodge Kahuna

The Dodge Kahuna made some waves at the 2003 Detroit Auto Show, but has never really earned the approval of surfers, soccer moms or the free-spirited drivers who live along the coast. The six-passenger van, with its bulky cartoon-like exterior and its Stow N’ Go seating, was meant to take surfers and athletic types from the street to the beach with ease.

The polarizing impression that the Dodge Kahuna left on critics and the public sank the vehicle’s production potentials. You can even say that the van “wiped out.”

7. Aurora Safety Car (1957)

Aurora Safety Car

The Aurora Safety Car may just be the ugliest car ever conceived. The strange ameba design, with a smiley face grille and oblong windshield, is enough to disgust even he most tolerant drivers. The Safety Car was the first Experimental Safety Vehicle (ESV) to be manufactured.

But the story of Father Alfred A. Juliano, a Catholic priest and automobile manufacturer, was even more upsetting than the Aurora Safety Car’s appearance. Juliano funded the $30,000 prototype with some help from his congregation, but it ended up bankrupting him and the Aurora Motor Company.

However, the vehicle is now restored and can be seen in the Beaulieu Motor Museum in England.

6. Saab Aero-X (2006)

Saab Aero-X

The Saab Aero-X is the stunning and simplistic iCar that might have originated from Steve Jobs himself. The 180-degree canopy and fluid design gave the Aero-X the look of a fighter jet. Unlike the rest of Saab’s lineup, the Aero-X was simply not the direction the company wanted to gear towards. Yet, it was reassuring to know that the Swedish manufacturers were capable of making an elite vehicle that could reach 250 km/h.

5. Audi Avus (1991)

Audi Avus

The Audi Avus was ahead of its time in more than one way. The futuristic design with a 6.0-litre engine capable of producing 509 horsepower turned heads, but wasn’t able to change people’s mindset at the time. Few were convinced that Audi was capable of creating the super car, the Avus claimed to be.

The silver bullet that is the Avus was never meant for production since it was built mainly to prove that Audi was a powerhouse brand that towers above most car manufacturers. Today, the original Avus can be seen in the Audi Museum in Ingolstadt, Germany.

4. Lincoln Futura (1955)

Lincoln Futura

If the Lincoln Futura looks familiar, it’s because it was the Batmobile in the 1960’s television series. The clear-top bubble glass canopy is the defining feature of the UFO-like Futura. The concept car ended up bringing a lot of publicity for the company. Replicas were created for television and media appearances, and few were sold off for novelty sakes.

Although the Futura was a star at the time, it never saw production. However, it did serve as inspiration for other Lincoln vehicles such as the Premiere and Capri, which had a respectable run on the market.

3. Toyota EX-III (1969)

Toyota EX-III

The Toyota EX-III, modeled after the EX-I, is designed for the high-speed commute of tomorrow. Sadly, tomorrow has never really materialized for the EX-III, EX-I or any of the EXs afterwards. The flat body with semi-rear wheel covers, bumperless front, fish gills and tacky headlights remind us of all the design relics of yesteryears.

2. Mazda Furai (2007)

Mazda Furai

The Mazda Furai was the punk-rock speed demon that car lovers have dreamed of, but sadly, the vehicle’s legacy ended in a nightmarish fiery death. During a showcase at Top Gear’s road test in 2008, the Furai’s Batmobile fire-breathing exhaust caught fire with the engine bay. The whole vehicle was engulfed in flames, and in eight minutes, the beautiful concept was scorched. There was no resurrecting the Furai, as the horrible image had made sure of it. The resting place of the concept’s carcass is still unknown.

1. Ford Nucleon (1958)

Ford Nucleon

The Ford Nucleon, deemed the Atomic Car, was one of the most influential and iconic concept cars in history. Capable of running on nuclear power, the car was perhaps more of a mobile nuclear bomb than an energy saving initiative. Inspired by the functionality of nuclear submarines in the military, the vehicle was essentially an ironed-out red pickup truck. Still, you can imagine the chaos of a highway pileup or a congested urban accident, if all the vehicles involved were nuclear-powered, like this one was. Innovative, yes, but the Nucleon was just not meant for our rational world.

Vancouver’s Unravel Brings Businesses and Customers Together Through Apple’s iBeacon

Vancouver-based Unravel recognizes that in our content-heavy world, consumers are often bombarded with irrelevant content—content that has imminent expiration or is calling to an improbable action. These types of engagement are fruitless for the brands and businesses and are annoying for everyone.

The old paradigm is that it was up to the brand to attract and nurture the consumers by reaching as far and wide as possible, but Unravel is enabling the consumers to meet the content and data halfway.

By using iBeacon technology developed by Estimote, Unravel is creating a new avenue for companies to communicate with the public. People with the Unravel app on their smartphone can one day walk up to a restaurant and instantly see the menu or approach a movie poster and get the nearest theatre location and show time.

Unravel offers three different models of content upon their dashboard: Webpage link that will show up as a browser, image that will tell a story through mobile swipe and a simple message such as “Welcome!”

“A great thing about this is that when you leave a location, you don’t leave all that content behind,” says Amit Aujla, cofounder of Unravel. “All the content gets compiled into the [Unravel] feed, so if there was something that you were interested in that popped up on your phone, you can come back to it later.”

Once the individual “Beacons” are implemented in a given service location, it will be capable of functioning in three different zones: Immediate (one meter), intermediate (five meters) and very far (25 meters).

“The main one that will be used by businesses will be the Immediate Zone,” Daniel Khatkar, cofounder of Unravel, told Techvibes, “because when you start going into the larger range, the radius gets really big. If you are on the other side [of a business] you might not necessarily want to receive information there.”

Unravel is not only using the iBeacon to send messages and entice customers, there is a lot of big data that can come from such a little device. The iBeacon can measure temperature and evaluate the number of occupancies in one area for a length of time. All this data can be instrumental for companies such as transportation, retail and event hosting that are seeking optimal costumer services and internal performance.

Currently Unravel is preparing to host a series of scavenger hunts in collaboration with established businesses. Participants will get to experience the new technology first hand and have a chance to win gift cards and event tickets. The app will be available shortly on the App Store and the scavenger hunt is set to commence in August.

“With the scavenger hunt, we want to show people how the technology works,” said Khatkar. “It’s an opt-in technology, if they don’t want to use it, at least they will know the purpose of the technology and what it is.”

Unravel offers brands and advertisers a broad platform to inform, promote and keep in touch with consumers. The scavenger hunt is the initial step for Unravel to gain traction, but the potential seems promising for this young company as they continue to educate the newfound value of iBeacon.

“I want businesses to contact other businesses and say, ‘I want to advertise on your Beacon in your store,’” said Khatkar. “Or if I’m an advertiser and I want to contact Uber or a cab company and put a Beacon in there—based on the demographic—then I’ll have a target audience.”

Smartphones and dumb phobia

Sooner or later, you’ll have a smartphone

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. July 3, 2014

One in five people currently owns a smartphone on planet Earth. That is quite remarkable, since five years ago I was convinced that I might never get one. I personally didn’t want to be a slave to my phone. But once I felt the sleek design of the iPhone 4 and engaged with the user-friendly interface, I knew that I wasn’t going back. I’m not sure if I’ve gone to the dark side or not, but my life has gotten significantly easier with a smartphone in my life.

Embrace technology. Believe it or not, we’re already slaves to it. We rely on technology for every little thing in our lives, from making a cup of coffee to saving people from traumatic injuries. Technology is the hammer and nails that built our houses, as well as the app that tells us how to get to our friends’ houses. It’s true that hammers can be used maliciously just as the Internet can be, but as long as the number of good uses is greater than the number of bad, we can’t really argue with it.

As mobile devices and wearables get more advanced in our society, it’s important for us to utilize it and learn as much as we can. The sooner we know how to operate it, the better off we’ll be. Technology does not have to be an addiction. Technology can also be a good habit to help you live a better, healthier life.

Have you ever seen a child operate an iPad more proficiently than their parents or grandparents? It’s cute, but that bar is also being raised every day. Soon we’ll be the inept parents and grandparents, unable to update to the next version of iTunes on our Google Glass. We’ll be asking our kids and grandkids to help. While that might seem like the inevitable passing of the torch, I don’t believe our generation will suffer that fate if we continue to progressively learn and use new technology as it comes along.

Sure, it doesn’t make sense for software and Facebook to change every few months for no real immediate purpose, but we shouldn’t judge technological leaps upon their inception. While many designers, engineers, and manufacturers are still working out the kinks for wearables, such as smartwatches and Google Glass, we should be excited for these new innovations—disruptive as they are.

Everyone will have a smartphone one day, because it will become the standard as innovations continue to make strides. If you’ve been resistant to new technology for so long now, you probably won’t be convinced by me, but I’m just saying that the longer you go without it the more handicapped you’ll be should smartphones be imposed on you one day.

The Impact of Smartphones and Social Media on Our Ability to Make and Keep Plans

Initial planning or planning ahead means nothing anymore. Scheduling events and then adjusting them as the date approaches have always been common, but it has become so convenient that all the communication leading up to the big date does not even really matter. With a click of a button—without an excuse or a doctor’s note—we can bail thanks to the flexibility liberated by technology and the flakiness of the new generation.

My expectations, when I make plans, have changed significantly since I started using Facebook. I was a latecomer to the social networking platform; I was going through this phase where I didn’t want to “conform” with those simply interested in a new fad. Who knew at the time that Facebook would become such a significant part of my life?

What finally got me to sign up was the fact that I felt forgotten. People weren’t inviting me to events because I wasn’t on Facebook. I was left feeling rejected because it was such an inconvenience for others to pick up the phone and tell me the time and place of the event. My friends would be out having fun, while I would be alone, doing whatever I did before Facebook. It was high school all over again.

I gave in. I got Facebook and rejoice. I got invites again.

Flash forward seven years later, now I’m bombarded with invites monthly: My musician friends inviting me to their shows, my semi-close friends inviting me to their birthday parties and even Facebook itself is suggesting events for me to attend. The thrill of receiving an invitation is lost—it feels a bit like spam—and technology began to foster the flakiness of the new generation.

We now live in a world where “Yes” means “Maybe,” “Maybe” means “No” and “No” means “The Hell With You! I’m Way Too Important!” So how can we over come this problem? How do we get people out to our events without sounding like a party-Nazi?


Make Plans For Yourself First, Then Invite People

Just because other people are flaky doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time doing what you want.

Example: You really want to see a band. Well, buy your ticket to the concert first and then let your friends know. Odds are, seeing your commitment will convince them that the event is worth going to and therefore they will purchase their own ticket and meet you there. If not, well, this might just be a great opportunity to meet new people that share the same interest or you can sell your ticket for a fair price.


Flexibility Won’t Please Everybody, So Be Firm

No matter how many times you adjust the schedule, there will always be problems. You cannot please everybody and you’ll be doomed if you try. Give a few options that work for you, and if a few people are left stranded—so be it—there will be other events in the future.

The more you reschedule the more you’ll test people’s already limited patience and the less likely anybody will show up at all. Be firm!


Assign Responsibility So Attendees Feel Needed

Whether it’s with friends, families or colleagues, getting together for an event should be teamwork. You can instantly weed out the flakers from those who are reliable by assigning certain tasks to people.

Generally speaking, people like lending a hand, and they’re more likely to show up when they are feeling needed and their presence really matters.


Avoid Breaking Plans You’ve Made Yourself

Events are something people look forward to, so if you need to cancel for whatever reason, do so as soon as possible. The least you can do is allow your friends to salvage their day. But know that every time you cancel or bail on a plan you made yourself, you become less credible in the eyes of your guests.

They will see your flakiness and mirror it, and that might be the root of all the problems.