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A Disorienting Experience
on March 7, 2012
Reading _The New Technology Elite_ leads to one overriding impression: the pace of technology change is unprecedented. We all know this, generally, but most of us really don't realize the extent to which this is true.
Vinnie's fast-paced writing style matches his subject matter. Just one example: in Chapter 15, he discusses how quickly GPS technology evolved from in-auto dashboard systems, to standalone GPS devices, to smartphone apps--in less than a decade. He then launches into a discussion about technologies that are being embedded in home appliances, enabling them to connect to smartphones, tablets, and other devices and how this is leading to Samsung--a consumer electronics company--to take market share away from appliance market leaders, such as Whirlpool and Kenmore. He then jumps to an analysis of how difficult it is to forecast demand for new products such as Amazon's Kindle, or Nintendo's Wii.
If you have attention-deficit disorder, Vinnie's book is for you. He piles on examples one after another, barely giving time to take a breath. For the rest of us, it is disorienting. But it serves a purpose: to give the reader overwhelming evidence of the magnitude and pace of the changes taking place in all industries.
Although his book is on new technologies, Vinnie's research style is definitely old school. Today too many so-called industry analysts take the lazy way, getting nearly all of their information from vendor briefings and press releases, writing analysis that regurgitates vendor PR talking points, and rarely speaking directly to customers. As a result, they have no original insight.
Vinnie's way requires more work, but it's more rewarding: Do your homework, pick up the phone, talk to those at the center of the action, and learn something new.
Then, take a position. Those who engage with Vinnie on Twitter or in blog comments know that he doesn't hedge his views. From time to time, I get into debates with him. Although I don't always agree with him, I respect that he doesn't arrive at a position lightly, and that his opinions are research-based. He doesn't shoot from the hip. (At the same time, though, I do see an evolution of his thinking in the final version of the book, as compared to some of his earlier blog posts on the same subjects.)
So, there's much to learn from _The New Technology Elite_. Moreover, there's a lot to learn in imitating the author's example.