So Instagram (Facebook Inc.) comes out with this new feature of photos/videos that disappear within 24 hours. As in Snapchat, that is. Paul’s immediate reaction: why would I ever want to post something that disappears? This is a natural reaction of a perfectionist. Every photo or video that he produces is a small piece of art which only ends up on social media if Paul thinks it’s beautiful or at least interesting enough. Why would he want it to be erased. I am not a perfectionist. I love quick and dirty, good enough and low-hanging fruits. And my purpose of posting something on social media is to share an immediate thought or sight. It is some kind of therapy of putting it down and sharing, like in this blog. And as I do it in quick and dirty manner my posts do not necessarily end up future-proof.
In other words, I do see value in disappearing media, as many others on Snapchat. And naturally Instagram needed to fill the gap and implemented it. The small feature is just a piece of software and cannot be protected by patents. Still, lots of debates took place. “How could they just copy something that Snapchat has been developing for so long!”, they said in Swedish media. No, I do not think they have been developing it for so long. I do not think they’ve been brainstorming for months to come up with the feature. Somebody just came up with it, built a community and got the feature copied into another community – it’s evolution.
- Digitalization is the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business.
- Digitization is the process of changing from analog to digital form.
I am a big fan of automation as it enables reassignment of human effort to more creative tasks. Machines however become increasingly intelligent and creative as well – now they can write music, books, poems and scientific articles. As my kids grow older and I help them navigate their educational efforts, I cannot stop wondering about the highest-impact educational path in the changing job landscape. High-quality original content such as music, books and artwork has always been highly valued. Delivery methods, however, change radically. As guys from Markscheider Kunst said, “everything in this world changes, apart from musicians’ desire to create new albums”. One has however to be very talented to devote his/her life to creation of original content. “At some point in life I realised that I didn’t have talent, but I had good taste, and good taste could also be sold”, – a phrase from one of my favourite comedies, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which I like a lot. Those who have good taste wrt original content and learn how to sell it, have good chances not to be disrupted by industrial transformation.
Then there are of course other human needs that will not go anywhere, such as food, health, housing and communication. The end-product will always maintain its value for the consumers, but creation and delivery methods are changing. Science and technology around life-cycle management, all the way from creation to decommissioning, will constantly evolve. Those who love technology should navigate wisely, look out for novel developments and combinations of those, and make sure to become experts in more than one area – so-called T-shaped, or π-shaped engineers – to increase the chances of staying relevant. And with the increasing digitalisation of industries and propagation of IoT and machine intelligence into safety-critical applications such as health and transportation, the consequences of being hacked reach the new level, making safety and security a safe bet when choosing one of the legs of you T- or π-shape.
It’s easier for us, geeks, to capture thoughts. “You ask me if I keep a notebook to record my great ideas. I’ve only ever had one.” Albert Einstein.
It does not take long to change people’s behaviour. Couple of years ago it became illegal to smoke inside bars and restaurants in Sweden, and smoking outside is quite often uncomfortable due to the Swedish weather. As a result of this inconvenience I barely see any smokers any more. Similarly, making it slightly more difficult to use old technology, companies like Apple can easily steer us away from cables, file systems, locally stored files, and bought content, towards wireless, cloud and rented content.