Technology is moving at a torrent pace, affecting just about everything
in our daily lives at home, at work and at play. As the world becomes
increasingly high-tech, consumers have a corresponding need for "high-touch." I
first learned about this concept as one of ten "megatrends" in the 1982 book of
the same name by futurist John Naisbitt. This megatrend still holds true today,
nearly 30 years later, as evidenced by several business leaders I had the
chance to meet at the recent thinkAbout conference on the "experience economy."
You may not know who Robert Stephens is, but you've definitely heard of
the company he founded, Geek Squad. He successfully differentiated his computer
repair business, sold it to electronics retailer Best Buy and stayed on to
serve as Best Buy's chief technology officer. In an incredible lecture that
spanned from Willy Wonka to ramen noodles, the world's most famous geek shared
that "technology should be viewed as tools, as a means to an experiential end."
Indeed, he sees technology as becoming increasingly "human" in its look, feel
and impact on our lives (yes, that new iPad I got for my birthday spends a lot
of time by my side).
A second guest, Build-a-Bear founder and CEO Maxine Clark, described how
difficult it was for her to obtain funding for her concept in the mid-1990s.
She was consistently peppered with the question, "Why would someone want to pay
to make a stuffed animal?" Adults thought it wouldn't work, but kids couldn't
wait. Thirteen years and 400 stores later, those of us whose kids have been to
one of these stores understand the magic of that experience. Indeed, one of
Maxine's motivations was to help create greater "touch" in a world where kids'
lives are increasingly computer- and video game-based.
With high-tech becoming increasingly human, it's time that we also start
making high-touch more "technical" by taking it more seriously in the approach
we have with customers.
I can't help thinking more about this polarity between high-tech and
high-touch, and it's going to be a key theme across a series of talks I will be
giving in Chicago at the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting over the
next week. If you are one of the readers who will be going, I hope you will be
able to participate at one of the following venues:
- Redefining Value in Today's Economy at CareCredit Speed Session 10/16
1:30 p.m. Booth # 4431
- "A Vision for Your Future" by Carl Zeiss Meditec 10/16 6:00 p.m. River
East Arts Center
- "How EMR Fits into a Premium Practice" by Quickview Medical 10/18
11:00 a.m. Booth # 3567
Want more experience? Go to www.premiumeyesite.com.
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