Golden lane of memories:
I used to love the good old days. The good old days when men like Nikola Tesla uncovered the magnificent mysteries of science and people like Guglielmo Marconi and Charles Babbage invented fascinating tools and devices which paved the way for later developments. Those were the days when we were inquisitive enough to reach new heights every day.
Rich men patronized these scientists, other men just encouraged them, and the geniuses carried on with their work. Every new development was welcomed with a deep sense of suspense and awe by the masses and not much money was spent in marketing. There was no brain washing involved and the commoners supported them out of authentic concern. Those were the days! The good old days!
Media and its corruption:
Today, I unlock my phone using the fingerprint sensor and open face book. After some utterly boring minutes of scrolling through the newsfeed, I find posts about the nostalgic 90s experiences of some people and cartoons about how “This Generation” is addicted to their electronics. I now move to Instagram, where I find people posing for selfies in these colorfully edited pictures with the hashtags “#Instalove, #InstaPose #Candid #NoFilter”. Disapprovingly, I open Snapchat and decide to close it immediately after seeing some photos of Homo sapiens with their magical ears, nose and a fancy tongue. I open Twitter, where all kinds of people, celebs and common people alike, are forced to forget their knowledge of English, however immense, by the 140-character restriction. One doesn’t need to talk about WhatsApp, especially its newest update.
Present and its boom:
Do we patronize or encourage today’s engineers? The innovative geniuses who created all the above mentioned apps and websites? No matter what, one’s response to the above asked question would remain “No”. Why? Is the number of genuinely creative minds going down? Well, not exactly. I would never call the person who uses “Auto like” to get more likes to his post or the person who forwards a “Share within stipulated time or face dire consequences” message to your WhatsApp group as someone with a dull mind. Today’s engineers are just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
As the former Face book employee Jeffrey Hammerbacher, fondly called the “DATA GOD” puts it, “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads”. This century, unlike the previous ones, is more focused on marketing than the products. The root cause can ultimately be traced to Money, but when did this transformation start?
The real drama:
I believe, all this started when Apple released their first commercial for the Macintosh, during the Super Bowl of 1984. A commercial that broke the then-existing self-imposed restrictions on advertising, called people to look for products those are aesthetically pleasing even if not technically good, like a Shankar movie.
Since then, we, the common people, started observing the design of the products instead of its performance. We called Steve Jobs a technical genius for introducing fonts and rectangles with rounded edges. We called Nokia “extinct” after the release of the iPhone, followed by Sony Ericsson and Samsung, for its appealing looks and appalling durability. We failed the very secure Blackberry as we felt Samsung and Apple were slimmer and, pardon me, sexier. We threw the sturdy HM Ambassador into the scrapyard as we were attracted by the curves of the Japanese and the Korean cars and the sheer power of the German motors. It is not over yet. The list of all the benefits we compromised on as we went behind good looks will be so long that we can wrap the whole of the Nine Realms with it.
This is how truth feels like:
What is the need for such competitive marketing across all market sectors? Going back to the good old days, we find that every invention was recognized because it solved a particular problem prevalent in the society then. The Difference Engine proved a point and the first Radio Telegram served a purpose. In today’s world, however, we have many pointless inventions that have no real, pressing problem to solve. How to reach such a product to and beyond the target audience? This is where the present day’s competitive marketing methods come in. Instead of searching for an existing problem for the product to solve, wouldn’t it be easier and more convenient to create a problem in the society that the product can effectively solve? “I’ll create a poison and I’ll sell its antidote to everyone”, thought a genius.
As engineers, can we pitch out products without the help of marketing? Even though we all know the truth behind Corporate Technology, we must go with it to lead a life. Just as David Bowie sings, “Planet Earth is blue, and there’s nothing I can do”.After all, we too need money, don’t we?