For publication in the Hendricks County Business Leader – October, 2017

Is it possible that 16 years have passed since Steve Jobs stood on stage and boldly proclaimed that Apple’s new device, the iPod, would put “1000 songs in your pocket?” Until that time, taking your music with you meant treading carefully so as to not bump the CD in your Walkman or carefully picking a few songs to put on your 50-megabyte MP3 player. Yet here we are, with a new iPhone just about to hit the shelves, and the world is once again all about Apple.

What is it about the “bleeding edge” of tech that makes it so enticing? It’s one thing to pick a tried and true tool and incorporate it into our business or daily life, but all too often we want to jump on board with new technology just because it’s there. We take a risk, buy that new device or service, and suddenly feel ripped off because WE are the one who must deal with a faulty antenna, parts that don’t last, or security breaches no-one dreamed of.

In my world as the owner of a tech business, I’m often asked, “what about this,” or “I saw such-and-such on this website, can we do that?” We love doing fancy things with technology for our clients and exploring new opportunities with them, but my first response is almost always a simple question: “WHY?” If this wasn’t on your priority list when we started this project, why is it suddenly important after you saw it on someone else’s website? If this equipment we helped you install 2 years ago was intended to last 4 years, why are we jumping ship just to get one fancy feature?

There are some great tried-and-true pieces of technology out there today that didn’t exist 5 years ago. Cloud-based tools such as Office 365 and Google Apps make email and file access a breeze. Responsive websites allow you to build one website that looks custom-crafted on any type of device. Water-resistant phones. Hard drives without moving parts. These were all bleeding edge not long ago, and the people that adopted them early experienced the benefits, and the pain, or being the first to give them a try.

We need people who choose to be early-adopters, living life on the bleeding edge of tech. Without them, change would come at snail’s pace and many inventions would sit dusty on shelves and bold, innovative software tools would never see the light of day. For many of us, perhaps there’s a place or two we might be an early adopter ourselves because the benefits outweigh the risks of a miserable failure.

The challenge is to always be asking ourselves that one simple question: “WHY?” If the benefit is on target with our goals, and the rewards are worth the risk, then let’s go for it.

Just don’t be surprised if you get your finger pricked from time to time.

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Chet Cromer is the president of C2IT Consulting, Inc., a Plainfield-based technology business that provides websites, mobile apps, and IT consulting/support to businesses across central Indiana. He can be reached at chetcromer@c2itconsulting.net or (317) 721-2248.

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