Technology visionaries have always used nature and science as a backdrop for the way the Information Age has evolved and Anthropologists have used technology analysis, and the lexicon ascribed to it, to describe culture as far back as the first member of our own genus, Homo habilis, the pioneer of the Homo line.
The great fossil discovered, in the seventies by Louis Leakey’s wife to be exact, in Olduvai Gorge, a 50 km long and 100m deep canyon on the Serengeti plain of northern Tanzania, and buried alongside crude stone tools, was labeled, “The toolmaker.” H. habilis was found as far back as 2.3 million years ago and as recent as a million or so years ago. He lived alongside other human-like creatures, but, far as they can tell, “the handyman” was the only one who altered the environment to suit his desires. His stone core flakes were crude yet probative; understanding the evolution of modern behavior is important for understanding which choices to make.
Look deeper at the ancestors of H.habilis and you don’t see much change until around 45,000 years ago. So from 2.5 million years ago until 45,000 years ago, not much changes in the technologies of early man, but spectacular changes begin to appear in material culture at this point and these were first displayed in the technologies used by Upper Stone-aged people.
In addition to brand new stone tools capable of bringing Wooly mammoths to their demise, musical instruments, art and burial adornments first appeared and we may owe it all to that shift in those technologies, though we may never know who really was responsible or how it all happened.
The QWERTY Factor
Since then, technology has suffered setbacks and leaps forward for reasons we still can’t identify. From the adoption of the QWERTY key board, around 150 years ago, adopted because it forced the typist to slow down thus preventing the typewriter “keys” from sticking, not because it was the most productive or the best choice, we learned that the decision-making process for choosing technology was not what we should expect.
Today, the decision-making process for choosing many technologies is still based on reasons not entirely obvious, or helpful, to those who buy them. One such area for exploration here is the advent of CRM software and the concomitant applications that surround it. For the last 25 years, we have seen various software models for helping business track sales and communicate with the prospects in their database. For the most part, these applications were proprietary and demanded a maintenance and support agreement which added to the vendor’s bottom line.
Here at the Tek-Tips community, we want to explore the path towards productivity and the entrepreneurial spirit of the Internet. If communities are to continue to excel and compete in the global market, they must adopt processes that lead to those achievements. Are the solutions of a top-down or a bottom-up approach superior or is it time we admitted we need to prescribe a balanced approach that embraces collaboration and keeps the playing fields level so our most productive sector of the economy, the small business, can be flexible and not be hit with paying for the sins of the cave men who got us into this mess?
We want visionaries who are willing to develop the dialog necessary to shift the paradigm away from bad decision making processes and towards the excitement that we all experienced in 1998 when the world seemed truly ready to connect.