Published on: September 8, 2011
by Kevin Coupe
Content Guy’s Note: Below is a commentary on the same subject as the video piece, but it isn’t word-for-word the same. You can look at both, or either...it is up to you. I look forward to hearing from you.
Hi, I’m Kevin Coupe and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.
My kids might disagree with this, but I like to think that I have a capacity for personal growth. I have a lot of strong opinions, but I’m willing to change them if I’m proven wrong.
For example: the wristwatch.
It was on January 20, 2006, that I commented here on MNB about a story saying that “younger people are abandoning them because they are too low tech, limited and inconvenient. After all, for the most part, all they do is tell time…which isn’t nearly enough for a generation in love with its iPods.”
I wrote then:
“I have to admit that I don’t understand this. My teenaged sons don’t wear watches, though my 11-year-old daughter does. Which explains why she’s more on time for stuff.
“It doesn’t matter to me what other technologies may be available. I always have a watch on. Hell, I’ve been wearing for 25 years the same Seiko that my wife (then girlfriend) gave me in 1980. I like its dependability, its ubiquity. I worry about a generation of people that don’t wear watches.”
Things have changed since then.
I’ve conceded here in the past that I was wrong to worry about a generation that doesn’t wear wristwatches. After all, what matters is that they know what time it is when it matters, not how they find out what time it is. (Just as it only really matters that people continue to read books, not whether those books are published on paper.)
Interestingly, one of my son has started wearing a watch. We got him one for Christmas last year, and it is almost never off his wrist - he says it makes him feel like an adult, and at 22, that’s a good thing.
My daughter, on the other hand, not so much. Sometimes, but more as a fashion statement than as a timepiece.
I’m still wearing a watch my wife got me ... those she did get me a new one a couple of years ago. That old Seiko, however, is still ticking and I wear it frequently.
I started thinking about this the other day when I read a piece that the always interesting David Pogue wrote on the New York Times< website about a class he was teaching at the Columbia Business School called “Consumer Tech: What Makes a Hit a Hit — or a Flop a Flop.”
One of the things he did with his students was challenge them to create a wristwatch that was relevant to how they live their lives ... and he was fascinated by what they came up with. There were ideas like watches with built-in trackballs that allow you to navigate menus. Or watches that were flippable, with a timepiece on one side and a little computer screen on the other. Or watches that would respond to verbal commands. Or watches with touch screens rather than dials or digital displays.
His point was this. In the end, no matter what business you happen to be in, you have to constantly reinvent yourself - or at least be willing to - if you are going to be relevant to consumers, who themselves are reinventing themselves every day. And to do so, you have to be willing to look outside your discipline, outside traditional boundaries, to find answers to important questions you may not even be asking.
It doesn’t matter what your watch says or does. Time marches on, whether you are paying attention or not.
That’s what is on my mind this morning, and as always, I want to hear what is on your mind.
- KC's View: