Technology and the dangers of oversimplification

I was reading another thoughtful piece by Vlad Savov at the Verge and I thought I could write a comment there. Quoting Savov when he was explaining the current trend in launch events:

I think we lose something (maybe not entirely tangible) when we adapt the presentation of technological products to the lowest-common-denominator audience. Apple obviously doesn’t agree, and it set the tone for simplifying technology and making it seem less daunting — but maybe we’ve overcorrected.

That’s one of the big ideas I really agree with, so the initial comment at The Verge grew, and it has become what I think could be a post here. There it goes:

I write about tech for a living too and the dicotomy is there: I love tech spechs and I can really appreciate that tech evolution you have talked about. The problem is, not many people can. The Verge readers and my readers can, of course, but this is the exception that proves the rule: that my mother, or my neighbour, or my friend just want to know if the device feels right.

This is something I’d say you own Walter Mossberg understood a lot sooner than many other tech journalists that focused too much on specs. Fortunately we can have the best of both worlds as tech readers: we can enjoy both a Mossberg review but also a more technical one here and there by other editors. AnandTech usually fits there for me, for example, but there are even deeper resources for each category that can really get even more technical that we’d love to.

Launch events have become a show. And lately not one for nerds. The oversimplification is also dangerous: I like the first Jony Ive videos when they started to be included in Apple launches, but I’ve started to hate them. My impression now is that Ive (and Apple) is even laughing at me and other technical users. They’re not, of course. They are just selling their products.

The problem is, they’re not selling them to me, but to “normal” (I’m sure you get me) people. It’s quite difficult to find certain tech details for some products (the RAM included on the different iPhone models is a good example), and that’s another showstopper for people that love specs, and benchmarks, and that kind of data that really puts that part of the equation in context.

Please tech, don’t bore me

If you pretend to be succesful in technology, you have to surprise us first. Do it at any cost. Present the smaller (or bigger) next big thing, the cheapest (or even the most expensive), or the one with that technology advance that seems unavoidable.

You’ve got our attention. Now prove that feature really pays off. Which is what most businesses try to do nowadays with their new launches. It happened everyday at IFA 2015, where technology once again was a little boring. Daniel Cooper writes about that on Engadget:

Technology, as we’ve established, can’t be boring. It has to excite us, and it does that by promising to make our lives better and more efficient

He talks about 4K, but the issue here is present in any number of technologies that are boring us. 4K is one of those boring advances. It’s unfair, yes, but 4K per se is not a compelling reason to buy that next TV (or smartphone). It doesn’t make our lives much better or efficient. And that’s a big problem if you’re not Apple.

So don’t bore us. But keep trying to surprise us. Please.

Source: 4K is boring and other musings on the failures of innovation

And so, it begins

Technology is everywhere, and it touches mostly every part of our lives. For a Spanish tech editor like me, reading tech sites written in English has been part of my day-to-day routine. News reports and featured content comes usually first and foremost in English, although tech coverage in other languages has been also really big for some time now.

But I never wrote in English on a daily basis, and The Unshut is an experiment to reflect my opinions about the technology world in the technology native language. The idea is not only to combine this with my ten-years-old personal blog in Spanish, Incognitosis -posts here will be often translations of the ones I publish there- but to act also from time to time as a content curator.

This feels natural to me too: my current job at Xataka -a leading tech blog in Spanish, over 4.6M uniques on June’15 according to comScore) gives me the chance to write about what we consider important, but  it’s impossible to cover all the tech news and reflect about the impact all those news will have in our lives in the future.

My job is to write, yes, but to do so I must keep myself informed. I read for hours, mostly in English, and there are lots of ideas and content that can be shared through different channels. Twitter, Facebook and other social networks let everyone do this, and there are other sites -Reddit, Slashdot, Digg, Techmeme- that act as content curators with different strategies. My idea is to use my experience to share some of them and recommend every piece that I consider interesting over here. I’m still thinking about how to implement that on this design (suggestions?), but I wanted to be online a.s.a.p. The challenge is to give my opinion not only of those pieces, but also of what other sites are telling about them. And of course, to improve my English writing skills, because I’m sure you’ll find lots of strange sentences and mistakes over these pages. I’ll try to do my best here too.

Following a long tradition of media launches, this site is a perpetual work in progress. There are lots of tiny (and not so tiny) details missing at launch, but we’re working of it, so if you’ve got any comments you can drop me a line in the comments, TwitterFacebook or even by email on theunshut at gmail dot com.

Let’s start and see where this thing goes. Welcome!