Product evolution: adding new functionalities…

Gaia-MatrixMany thanks to Neil Postman for his “Five Things We Need to Know About Technological Change” (talk delivered in Denver, Colorado – March 28, 1998)

First thing: “All technological change is a trade-off: technology giveth and technology taketh away.”

When you add a new functionality to your product, at the same time you unquestionably deprive your users of something – even if you don’t realise it… …and, as a matter of fact, this has consequences.

Second thing: “The advantages and disadvantages of new technologies are never distributed evenly among the population. This means that every new technology benefits some and harms others.”

When you add a new functionality to your product, how many users will be happy and grateful? …and how many will be angry? Remember, not all users are the same: some pay for your product, some don’t, some pay a lot…

Third thing: “Every technology has a prejudice: it predisposes us to favor and value certain perspectives and accomplishments.”

When you add a new functionality to your product, you influence how users will use your product as a whole (…long-standing functionalities included…).

Fourth thing: “The consequences of technological change are always vast, often unpredictable and largely irreversible.”

…especially ‘irreversible’: after adding a new functionality to your product, you can’t easily kill it and say: “We were just kidding, fooorget it…!”

Fifth thing: “The capacity of technology for good or evil rests entirely on human awareness of what it does for us and to us.”

When you add a new functionality to your product, explain it well, very well

Andy Cavalliniandy.cavallini@gaia-matrix.com

Gaia-Matrix

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