But Don't Invent The Printing Press

Less a new products post perhaps, than a brand new leap in technology one.

5G is coming. Connections a gazillion times faster. Apparently.

Yes, we’ve heard it all before.

Twenty years ago – yes, I feel like screaming – I saw the labs of a global telco demonstrate the then imminent next generation. A vast improvement on dial-up for sure. But wasn’t really beyond what the digital lines (DSL, T1 anyone?) were already producing. And like all tech, give it a year or two. After the fanboys and geeks and fabulously wealthy had got their fill, the rest of us could have a go at a way reduced price.

As I hear the fanfare for the rollout where I am right now, 5G proponents are trumpeting (literally) unbelievable speed improvements. “One hundred times” quicker. Really?

In fact, as an aside, this is one of the reasons why new product launches often not only smoulder, but fail to catch light, despite promises of raging fire. Outrageous claims.

When your audience cannot comprehend or accept your game changing deliverables, your sale is lost. Counter-intuitive to the positive salesperson mindset, these actually dampen buyer desire.

I’ve also heard the tagged-on benefits of “latency and capacity”. Like any typical potential customer has a grasp of what these mean. Are you using near meaningless techie drivel in your new pitch?

Still. There are doubters. Serious ones. Afforded the oxygen of equal airtime because, well, climate science apart, every possible issue must have two opposing views. And given the same space to spew. Whatever the proper balance in reality and common sense.

It seems these new frequencies will fry our brains.

Ipso facto, QED, Robert’s yer mother’s brother.

To this, I caught one technologist dismissively grunt;

“don’t invent the printing press because it’ll start revolutions!”

A flag waved high for any anti-progress naysayer.

It’s a neat line.

Many jumps anew have roused a following of doom-merchants.

You could say that if we halted an idea purely because someone had died – yes, actually perished, or ought I say, “slipped the surly bonds of Earth“… – upon first deployment then we’d never have even the humble traffic light. Let alone air travel and space exploration.

I’ve encountered all manner of flatearthers. And sadly seen them hold way too much sway;

[When colour screens were replacing green-on-black monitors] they’d damage the user’s eyes because, well, if you sat that close to a telly you’d go blind.

I don’t need a sales database on a computer because I’ve all my index cards in these drawers.

We can’t have reps using an app online as then they’d never be off the internet when they should be working.

You can stop the eyeroll now.

Yet this image of Gutenberg’s 15th century wizardry (beyond the earlier movable type printing from China) strikes me as quite the useful selling device.

Someone pushes back. You need to gently get to the bottom of it:

You know that in medieval Mainz, Germany, when the authorities got wind of Johannes Gutenberg’s idea, they said, ‘don’t invent the printing press, there’ll be revolutions!” What potential revolution springs to mind here?”

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