How to keep pace with technology change

Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Feel behind with the fast pace of innovation and new technology? There is only ONE way you will keep up.

You probably don’t consider yourself as an outright technophobe. But you might be feeling behind the curve on the blistering fast pace of technology, and its impact on our lives.

Technophobia is a genuine fear or dislike of technology, complex devices or computers. Often associated with ‘old people’, technophobes shun new fangled gadgets in favor of the known. But we don’t need to be technophobes to feel that their are technological changes that are passing us by.

This may be because of time. It takes time invested to learn new technologies, and move away from the current technologies we depend on.

But it’s probably because of fear, excused as a lack of time. Fear of the unknown. But also fear of the investment we believe we have to make to become competent in new technology. And there is the issue.

We may even fear the feeling of dependence on technology that we don’t understand – so we become a slave to it.

These fears are perfectly natural, and commonplace. Tech manufacturers attempt to offset these fears by telling us that we should fear not being at the party. That our lives will be at a disadvantage without their technology. It’s why hype sells.

I remember back in the mid-nineties when Microsoft released Windows 95. I was a member of the product support team at the time. There was a story going around that a gentleman phoned into support to ask what he should do with the Windows 95 disc he had just purchased, after seeing the commercials that he really needs the software. When asked if he had put the disc in his computer, he responded with “What computer?” This guys fear of not having the new Operating System was so strong, he made a purchase without understanding why!

Overcoming the fear

OK so I am not suggesting that you haven’t upgraded your smartphone to the latest is because you tremble at the thought of it. But if you’re still reading, you probably are feeling some trepidation at what it will mean to you.

I get that. And I feel the same.

My ‘fear’ is of the unknown – what will this new device do to my daily life? I depend on my current phone to live and work – what if I can’t use it anymore?

My fear, and yours, is understandable. We don’t want the important aspects of our lives negatively impacted, just because the latest version is available.

But soon enough, after several updates, we become behind the curve and the technology promises so much that we’re not taking advantage of. There are lots of resources on consumer goods (e.g. we can draw upon. Eventually, we have to overcome the fear and get with the program.

The only way we can do this is to take the leap.

We’ve got to jump in and embrace the technology. Now, our ‘safety net’ is that we can go back to what we know. But that doesn’t mean we should step forward weakly. Jumping into the technology requires a commitment to make it work, so the safety net is there only for the most dire circumstance.

A structured way of jumping in

I recommend that we properly road-test the new technology. That means we have a structured ‘test plan’. So before you flick it on and begin using it haphazardly, create a list of desirable outcomes. The two stages of this are:

  1. Test that I can do what I do today – so I am no worse off. This will prove that I don’t need to use my safety net
  2. Test the new features – to justify my investment

For example, I update my iPhone from my 5s to the 6s – I’ll want to:

  • Make a call
  • Send a text message
  • Send an email and read email messages
  • Use the browser
  • Connect to wifi
  • Use my important apps
  • Connect to chargers and peripherals
  • Take photos and videos

Then I will:

  • Test the new usability features
  • Test the new security features
  • Test the new battery life

At each stage in my tests, my confidence increases. I have less to fear and be wary about. I don’t need to do all the above in one go – it could be much less nerve-racking if you were to take each stage as it comes.

Only when I have overcome my fear should I ‘play’ with the device and discover new benefits I hadn’t even thought about.

The same approach applies to any new tech: TVs, games consoles, laptops, hifi systems.

Borrow, if you’re still nervous

Still scared of making the investment? Then consider borrowing an upgraded device if you can. (This is why manufacturers of lower-end products let you try new devices, risk free)

When you depend on something, knowledge is comfort

One big contributor to fear of tech is depending on it, but not understanding it. This is a viscous circle – how can we understand something if we don’t use it? The circle can be virtuous the other way. Understand something a little, and we will be more comfortable in depending on it.

What do YOU fear?

Do you fear new tech upgrades? Please share your story by leaving a comment below, or start a discussion in one of my forums.

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