Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Collaboration

The Consumerization of Popcorn… and IT

May 21, 2012 at 6:58 am PST

Technology continues to change not only the tools we use, but the language we use to describe it. Wikipedia describes consumerization as:

…an increasingly accepted term used to describe the growing tendency for new information technology to emerge first in the consumer market and then spread into business and government organizations.

Consumerization absolutely affects technology, but confining the definition to information technology too narrowly defines it. The etymology pins the emergence of the term itself as early as 2001, which is a long time in dog years and at least a half century in technology. But the concept goes back far before Y2K. I could delve into Eli Whitney’s cotton gin, but I’ll stick to less distant history.

Before we get to IT, consider the impact of consumerization on time and choice.

Consumerization & Time
In some ways, our experiences with consumer technology have changed the very speed at which we live our lives. We don’t make time for things the way we used to. We want them now.

It’s the popcorn. OK, it’s the microwave oven. Food is both a human necessity and great motivator. The microwave changed our concept of time and convenience. We haven’t abandoned traditional cooking, but how often do you compare the conventional-oven directions to those for the microwave and think, “I want this to take 45 minutes, 3 minutes just isn’t long enough to wait”?

Popcorn showcases the evolution of our concept of time. Once upon a time, popcorn preparation was at least a 12.4-minute process, start to finish, including the ceremonial melting of butter and cleanup. Plus it required mastering the technique of keeping the pan in constant movement, carefully timing removal to optimize the number of kernels popped.

The mid-1970s arrival specialized popcorn appliances and Jiffy Pop brought popcorn faster and required less clean-up time, while largely eliminating the need for technique. Satisfaction came more quickly and with reduced effort.

And then came the microwave oven and magical little flat packages that fluffed up with aromatic salty goodness in three minutes. Clean up consisted of wiping the buttery stuff off your hands and tossing the bag in the trash. Instant gratification. Near zero effort. Our concept of time? Changed forever.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Digital Britain: The Rise of the Intrapreneur

April 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm PST

Today, the term Entrepreneur is used freely by a lot people, typically to describe someone who has started their own business or launched multiple new ventures.   Since being a part of the Shoreditch tech scene, I’m now starting to understand the unique characteristics of people that can best be described as “entrepreneurial” — and then letting my mind wander back into my own life experiences.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , ,

Does Enterprise IT need a M&A Strategy?

In the past I’ve written about the classic challenge within Enterprise IT, and specifically within the Data Center, that 70-80% of the resources are allocated to “legacy” activities. This obviously leaves very little time to work on new technology-centric innovations to drive the business. Or to put a different way, “IT only does innovation on Friday”.

The McKinsey Quarterly recently had an interesting article about reshaping IT management, where they introduce the concepts “Factory IT” and “Enabling IT”. The premise being that the focus of the Factory IT (70% of the activities) groups should be about cost-reduction, scale, standardization and simplification. The Enabling IT (30%, hopefully growing) should be focused on innovative ways to enable the business to grow. And the management of those groups doesn’t necessarily have to the same, since they’d have different objectives. Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , ,