Make way for the new - 7 Redundant Problem Solvers

5th Nov 2012

My last post was on impatience and I thought I should continue in that zone. A big part of my impatience is with status quo. I understand change takes time but I have an issue with the fact that there is an inertia to think. Why don't people think?

We have been trying to build a new component on for the last 2 months and there are lot of reasons to feel insecure. It's not that we are creating anything earth shattering as far as technology is concerned but my worst nightmare is - What if our platform becomes irrelevant?

Things are changing rapidly. Every moment there is someone working on something game changing in some corner of the planet (some would say the universe. space travel is here!)

The combination of my impatience and day dreaming have led to some observations which are the primary reason for my insecurity. Let me discuss 7 redundant problem solvers of our generation. It was inconceivable that they would be classified as such even 10 years back.

Some of them are inefficient. Some are plain unnecessary. It will still be some time before they are fully done away with. But they will surely go. It's just that my impatience cannot stand the sight of many.

1) Pen : While there is so much emphasis on not printing paper, I wonder why the world spares the pen. There is an emotional bond between pens and humans. And that's all that will remain few years from now. I am fully convinced there is no need for a pen once one can sign digitally everywhere. Signature is the single most important reason why one needs pens. Useless tool and needs to be done away with. Sooner the better. Please never gift me a pen even if it is gold crusted with diamonds on it.

2) Watch : Even Sir Ken Robinson's daughter realizes it. At least for now, you can safely assume that one needs a communication device like the mobile phone at all times. Even the most basic phone in the world tells the correct time. Why strap an unnecessary piece of metal or leather or worse (plastic) on to your hands? And if your argument is that it is now an ornament then what a waste of money. My prediction is that even the luxury watch makers will suffer soon because of lack of demand.

3) SMS : Not even 15 years old in India, nothing seems more unnecessary to me than the SMS. It is more expensive and has enormous limitations. With 2G and 3G in India and with smartphones available at as low as $60 (Rs.3000/-) you are a dinosaur if you still use SMS. When you can get a 3G connection at $2 a month (Rs.99/-) where there is no character limit or the number of messages to be sent, why would you still be spending Rs.200 a month on SMS? You can send files, photos, videos, emoticons etc. on software such as whatsapp. Even BBM (Blackberry messenger) is better than SMS.

4)TV and Set Top boxes : In many ways I find this digitization drive quite pointless. First, almost every reasonably popular TV show is available for free online. Second, even if you don't watch pirated stuff, the future is having TV channels streamed live on your Tablet/Mobile or even directly to the TV. Why then install a unnecessary device like the STB and pay anywhere between $200 to $1200 for it? I respect content creators and they must be paid. But I'd prefer paying a channel online which gives me access to its content on demand and ad-free.

5) Cheques/Checks : There is such a misplaced fear about internet banking that even seasoned and intelligent businessman prefer using this extra ordinarily inefficient instrument of making payments. It costs millions everyday to process them. Parties receive money late and there is of course the usage of paper. It is something that needs to be done away with immediately. Tonight.

6) TV News Channels/Newspapers/Websites : If reporting news is all that you are offering me then I don't have any time for you. I don't need you even for celebrity interviews. All my reporting and interaction needs are met by two platforms - Twitter and Facebook. In fact, there isn't a more efficient news reporting platform than twitter. I talk to Sachin and Anand Mahindra directly on it. Narendra Modi sits with Ajay Devgan and does a live broadcast on his own with out a single journalist on youtube via hangout. Unless you have really good quality content, I am ditching you. Decline of the newspaper has already been documented enough but the thing is even websites of the newspapers aren't really required. Ominous signs for the industry according to me.

7) Let me end with a slightly outrageous demand. Ban Spoons. The western world has taught us to eat with a spoon and nothing could be more redundant that that. Almost everything that you eat can be eaten with your hand. Tonnes of metal across the world is wasted on spoons every single day. It needs to end. We must teach them to eat with the hand. And if your contention is that eating with your hands make them 'dirty', then why is it acceptable to be put in your mouth?

I thought of 7. Are there more which you can think of? Let's make a longer list! Let's dispose them. Let's make way for the new.

View Comments