Paul Saffo on his Observations of Technology Trends

  1. Sometimes people need to remind themselves that there is an off switch — and use it…. Solitude is the scarce resource in business lives — having that time when you are disconnected and realizing that everything will go along fine without you.

  2. The problem has not been hostility to technology; the problem has been big egos.

  3. There is an intrinsic conservatism behind our media devices. They last a lot longer than we think they ever will once they are accepted.

  4. We tend to use a new technology to do an old task more efficiently. We pave the cow paths. Using computers to send email is doing the same thing that the Postal Service used to do. It’s paving the cow path. That’s human nature to solve problems that way.

  5. The absence of change is death.

  6. Panic is not a financial strategy. The market is an efficient mechanism of wealth transfer from the impatient to the patient.

  7. First we invent our technologies, and then we turn around and use the technologies to reinvent ourselves — as individuals, as communities and ultimately as entire cultures.

  8. This time it is the tiny screen of cellywood that is going to be most full of surprises…

  9. There is an intrinsic conservation of media in which nothing ever disappears. Typewriters didn’t eliminate the pen, tv didn’t kill movies or radio, and computers won’t obsolete paper.

  10. Once upon a time, Americans all watched one of a few news shows (and they all trusted Walter Cronkite) — that was the basis for common conversation. Now everyone is reading just the stuff that reinforces their pre-existing biases and the common space is disappearing.

  11. How do we create a common dialogue in an age of massively personal media?

  12. Media is information after it is embedded into our lives. When something is new, we spend all our time talking about it — but once it becomes part of our lives, we don’t notice it.

  13. It’s been so hard for traditional media to cover what’s going on. I can’t imagine how you can find the discipline to be emotionally detached reporting on a revolution, the winds of which are blowing right down the hallways of the publication you work for. That’s like an orthopedic surgeon trying to perform arthroscopic surgery on their own knee. It’s possible, but it’s hard to see through all the pain.

  14. I don’t think information overload is a function of the volume of information. It’s a derivative of the volume of information plus the sense-making tools you have.

  15. Sometimes I think we’re on this world for three reasons: to be useful, to tell each other stories and to collect stuff. It’s the only explanation for eBay.

  16. No problem can ever be solved within the same frame of reference within which it’s posed. And by taking a long-term view, you’re automatically forcing yourself to think outside the box.

  17. When you look real carefully at “what’s new,” you realize that what’s new is the thinnest veneer resting atop a vast mass of what’s old and what hasn’t changed.

  18. How technologies diffuse in this society—which is a fancy way of saying how people adopt technology—has not changed substantially in four centuries.

  19. The dirty little secret in the information revolution is that nobody wants information for its own sake, ever. At the top of the hierarchy [of what people want] is entertainment.

  20. It’s my belief that technology does not drive change. Technology merely enables changes. It creates options and opportunities that as individuals and as communities and as entire cultures we choose to exploit. And it’s our response to the technologies that drive change.

  21. We’re performing a great unwitting experiment on ourselves.