Imagine a scale of "technology goodness" that runs from Preserve-Status-
Quo thru Exploit-Status-Quo thru Enhance-Status-Quo thru Variation-of-Status-
Quo thru Alternative-to-Status-Quo thru Disrupt-Status-Quo to Transform-Whole-

Now use that scale as a horizontal axis and add a vertical axis
labeled number-of-potential-customers. The result will be a inverted
bell curve with the maximum number of customers at Exploit-Status-Quo
and Disrupt-Status-Quo.

The first maxima results from the inherent conservatism of most people.
The second results when a tipping point is passed (all my friends have
IPhones, I must have one as well) and the masses do their lemming leap.

Add to the mix the kind of "ultra-liberal technological determinism,"
pervasive in silicon valley — if only we had matter converters
and holodecks we would live in an egalitarian non-racist world without
money or war — and you get technology companies asserting that they are
not only disruptive, but the foundation for a massive transformation of
everything evil into something that is good.

If a company can sell itself as 'disruptive' it enhances the probability
of the occurrence of a tipping point and the resulting massive customer
base. Unfortunately, few of these technologies will ever be a foundation
for any real transformation because tech is far from all that is
required to bring such about.

BTW — The sole reason that I am attracted to The Donald is my conviction
that he would be disruptive but have no control over the potential
transformation that might — emphasize might — result. (Also, I would be
satisfied with a disruption that enhanced the paralysis of government,
and slowed the liberal autocracy from complete and total assumption of
control over every aspect of life.)


On Mon, Oct 17, 2016, at 12:18 PM, Nick Thompson wrote:
> Dear Friammers,
> A close friend of mine has gone to work in marketing for a Startup
> Incubator in Another City.  I have been perusing the website and I
> notice frequent use of the word “disruptors”, as if disruption was a
> goal in itself.  This puzzles me.  I have always thought of technology
> as “enabling’ and have thought of its disruptive effects as a kind of
> collateral damage that needs to be mitigated.  Now I recognize that
> one of the properties of a really good technology company is the
> ability to respond quickly to disruption, and to provide solutions and
> open up opportunities for those whose lives are disrupted.  And I
> realize that if I owned a technology company, I might want to produce
> disruption in order that I might supply “enablors” to the disrupted.
> But isn’t it a case of industrial narcissism to MARKET oneself as a
> disruptor, a kind of “preaching to the choir”, rather than outreach to
> potential purchasers of one’s technology?  Or is my thinking “oh so
> 20th Century.”
> Nick
> Nicholas S. Thompson
> Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Biology
> Clark University
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> Meets Fridays 9a-11:30 at cafe at St. John's College
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