TV Repair Technicians: A Lesson in History

Say you're handy with computers. Say your friends tell you, "Hey, you're handy with computers! You should charge money for your time and expertise!". So you start doing just that. Say you've even got a consulting business or, like myself, worked for a large institution where you got paid a nice living to manage hundreds or thousands of computers all at the same time. 

Your life is comfortable, your job is secure and you haven't a care in the world, right. Only, you do. And here's why...

Every generation gets the chance to experience and create using a new kind of technology. And, not far behind that technology, come the experts who master it and help us utilize it. The first technology was foundational: fire, arrowheads, and wheels. Those who could master these crafts had special, revered places in the community. But as humanity evolved, so did technology. The introduction of electricity into technology brought us the telegraph, the telephone, the radio, the television, the computer and more. Who knows what other phantasmagoria is just around the corner that we can't even yet conceive?

But we can conceive, with some reasonable certainty, historical patterns. Initially, the folks who knew morse code were in VERY high demand. But that demand peaked and then faded as radio technology evolved and matured. Once the telephone and radio had become mainstream, how many people were needed to send messages in morse code over the wire? Not many. And then, eventually: none. But those engineers who understood electronics and transmission lines and vacuum tubes were in VERY high demand. But that demand peaked and then faded as television, motion pictures and the internet technology evolved and matured. 

The historical pattern is clear: if today's technology experts can't or won't evolve, they'll get left behind and see their demand fade. They'll become the TV Repair Technicians of the future. I'm looking at you SysAdmins, app developers, & coders. The world has always changed, technology has always evolved and now, together, the acceleration of a changing world has created incredible opportunity. And instability.

If you love tech as I do, it means never resting on your laurels and always reinventing yourself. But, then again, you already knew that, didn't you? You just needed a polite reminder of the ways things are. That's why it's always a blast (a slightly alarming blast) to hear Charles Edge speak about The State of the Mac. But the writing is on the wall and always has been. When folks like Charles speak, they're merely pointing out the latest iteration of that same writing on that same wall. 

Twenty years from now, when the internet becomes, possibly, the meta-internet and IPv6 allows all of our various devices to be connected to the web and then inter-connected with each other, the world will - most likely - be a very different place in which to live. Information will flow not just from our computers, hand-held devices and biometric recorders, but also from every object that uses electricity. Stop and think about that for a second. Will you be ready to serve your clients, your company, your country or even your family with the emerging technology of the future?

Your own future isn't yet written, so don't be afraid: be proactive.

I shall remain,

Mac Dweeb