There is an old show I loved called Kung Fu, starring David Carradine. In it he plays a Shaolin monk named Caine. He flees China a wanted man to wander America’ old west, and along the way puts the hurt on bad guys picking on the weak.
In one of the flashbacks to his childhood, he sees a somewhat disheveled man collecting shards of broken pottery. He turns to his blind master and asks, “Is he a confused one?” To which his master replies, “Not to understand a man’s purpose does not make HIM confused.”
His master sends him to follow this man, Lee-You, and he discovers that the man is an artist and the pieces of broken pottery are being used to create a beautiful statue.
This is a really important lesson for us in technology. We have a tendency to disparage people’s work and products, but often we are the ones who lack the vision to see what they are doing. Sometimes, it is the ones that are hardest to understand that offer the most radical transformation.
When Amazon first started selling books on the Internet, everyone said it wouldn’t work, that people didn’t want to buy something they hadn’t held in their hands. They wouldn’t trust buying something from an unknown vendor. When their stock kept rising, everyone thought it was a fluke.
Then when Amazon announced S3, it seemed like the most ridiculous thing. Then cloud was never going to take off, you get my point.
I remember when Pure storage came out. I remember being around a bunch of engineers who kept saying why would anyone buy Pure, nobody wants all flash, etc. Now they are the Gartner Magic Quadrant leader in the space.
I recently had a conversation with a colleague about a new technology that is hitting the market. They have been drawing top talent, top VCs, but their path is hard to see. I believe they are anticipating the hybrid cloud market to flip. Where in many organizations on-prem is primary and cloud is secondary, their product would thrive when cloud is primary and on-prem is secondary.
My point is, just because you don’t understand a company’s value proposition, it does not make them confused. The more disruptive the technology, often times, the more foreign the idea will seem.
The same is true with millennials. I hear people complaining about them constantly, but I feel they are likewise misunderstood. They are more comfortable with change. They seem infrastructure as a utility, and cloud is at the center of that.
I think it is important to remember that they are slowly inheriting the world, and they are now the innovators and the early adopter visionaries in companies.
They communicate in different ways. Social media is a much richer conversation and relationship for them. To see the impact they have had on our world, look at the impact of influencer marketing. Consider how much you use YouTube and other social media platforms to educate yourself and to help you make decisions.
Change is the only constant, to stay relevant one needs to embrace this change. I am going to try to enjoy the change and all it brings.
Motion Sickness glasses:
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