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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.

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Collaboration: We Have the Technology

October 20, 2011 at 11:39 am PST

Collaboration has always been an important factor for successful businesses. Heck, it’s an important factor for successful relationships, conversations, parking-lot navigation. Wherever more than one person is involved in a process of any sort, collaboration is a must for that process to succeed.

Collaboration, plain and simple.

So (don’t tell my manager this…), it was initially a bit funny to me that we would have a “Collaboration architecture.”  I got the whole Data Center thing – a data center is and always has been a big ol’ box of technology. But to me, collaboration was always a human interaction, relationship, agreement to cooperate. Maybe it’s all of the organic vegetables and driving a hybrid that kept me resistant to considering collaboration as a technology architecture. Read More »

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