- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover; First Edition edition (June 22, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1591841321
- ISBN-13: 978-1591841326
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 23 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #698,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Change Function: Why Some Technologies Take Off and Others Crash and Burn First Edition Edition
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The Amazon Book Review
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"Build it and they will come." Only for Kevin Costner, according to Pip Coburn, former Global Technology Strategist for investment house UBS. Dubbing all consumers "earthlings," Coburn reasons that most people will not adopt a new technology until the perceived benefits outweigh the perceived pain of trying to learn something new. Coburn has taken years of research notes and created a series of case studies about individual technologies to prove his theories of failure. Using quotes from Aristotle to Einstein, plus dozens from columnists of now defunct technology magazines, Coburn makes some interesting points about technologies that consumers, oops, sorry, "earthlings" care about, such as Internet phones, HDTV, and the iPod. But most readers will not know what an ASP is (application service provider) much less why they should care. Alpha chips, early interactive TV, picture phones from the 1960s, tablet PCs, and companies like Iridium and Webvan were probably of significant interest to Coburn's investors back in the day, but they do little now to engage any earthling's interest in why these technologies failed. Gail Whitcomb
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I was reading the book on a plane on my way home from a business trip, and it helped me understand the second layer of resistance I was up against. I have a sustainable architecture firm, and couldn't understand why my clients and contractors were so reluctant to jump on the green bandwagon when the numbers showed a clear financial advantage. I knew it was tough to convince them of initial cost vs life cycle cost because Americans aren't used to that type of thinking. I also knew that humans resist change, but I couldn't figure out why a small group WERE open to change. This book helped me to understand that principal, and I spent the next hour brainstorming in my notebook on human nature basics and how to either make the green leap either easier or more appealing and/or rewarding.
Thank you, Mr. Coburn.
People won't use technology that's hard to use? Profound. People only learn a new way to drive to work when the old route is under construction? Brilliant. Coburn goes way out on a limb to predict what technology will succeed...are you ready? Flat screen technology and Blackberries (mobile enterprise email). The man is a psychic.
On top of the lack of anything remotely fresh in this book, reading The Change Function is a bit like reading a version of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations; except the people being quoted are not familiar to you...unless you are one of Pip's blog friends, who receive endless attributions throughout the book.
Please save your time and money. Re-read Telecosm (Gilder) with an eye for how so many actual predictions (not like Coburn's Monday-morning QB stlye) were wrong.
BTW - I predict hybrid cars will be big in the future.
The key concept is USER CRISIS. The whole point of the book is this -- if we don't want or need something, it doesn't matter how little it costs and how well it works.
Numerous examples are provided which illustrate that the tech industry's infatuation with Moore's law (cost will decrease and performance will increase steadily until consumers *eventually* will make the purchase) and Grove's law (success can be achieved by creating 10x improvements to technical capabilities) continues to misdirect billions of dollars.
The book illustrates how the tech community continues to believe that any cool technology will be adopted by the masses if it's costs come down enough. In other words, the majority of consumers will purchase ANYTHING if it costs little and does neat things.
Most recent customer reviews
Interesting theory and well written book.Read more
A unique and refreshing view of change; and it is penned by a former technology securities analyst. Who would have thought it?Read more