I got a great email yesterday from a long-time reader. They said – Scott you seem to hit so many trends correctly how do you do that. Well I guess the easy answer is I am really, really good. That wouldn’t be the honest answer and it wouldn’t be the right answer, but it is the easy answer. I hit on trends because I am really good.
It is more the truth that I focus on certain technology areas and considerations. In focusing on those areas, I am able to figure out what will and what will not work. The way I do that is to acquire the tech myself and play with it. I was an early adopter of Smart Watches in particular the Pebble’s. I’ve moved on because the goal of the smart watch technology was doing more with what you have, quickly and the iWatch does more. Simply selecting the control4 application and controls my house is worth the time to learn the new watch interface. CMRA, a device that replaces your watch band adds two cameras to your iWatch (front and rear facing). Your smart watch becomes a camera. You can already answer calls and talk to the person using only the watch so the evolution is great!
There are trends I have whiffed badly on though. For example, I am a huge fan of the interesting new add on projectors that offer additional functionality traditional projectors don’t have. Such as an integrated OS so you can operate the projector as a standalone device. Or the Keecker, a rolling home pod that comes when you call it and interacts with the world around it. The OS integrated projectors are shipping but at nowhere near the volume I was thinking. Keecker is stuck forever between development and production and now, three years later I have come to realize may never ship. That makes me sad, that product is still, three years later, the coolest innovation I’ve seen.
In fact, I have whiffed on many technologies. I played with the laser keyboards for a while. They are interested for someone that doesn’t do touch typing. If you learned, many years ago, to be a touch type, then they are much harder to use and significantly less valuable. I average about three typos per 100 words written when I am writing. With the laser keyboards that moves to about 30 per 100 words. A much higher and far less effective rate. The rise of small keyboard cases for the iPad changed my need for having a laser keyboard. I still have a couple and I still use them from time to time but nowhere near as often as I thought I would.
I still consider the leap motion detection system to be a worthwhile consideration. I have played with the controller on both the Mac and PC. It works well with both. Positioning of motion sensors is critical and many workspaces just don’t really support motion as effectively as you would need.
Voice, such as Dragon naturally speaking, seems to be slipping out of the market. Alexa, Google Home and Cortana make the voice dictation systems much less valuable than they were in the past. I find that sad, as a long-time Dragon user the computers we have, even laptops are finally powerful enough that voice recognition is really effective.
Another area is the world of OCR. It is still there but instead of scanners and scanning in, now it is all about converting pictures taken by your cell phone. Specialty scanners are now available that can scan in one language and present to the user in another language. But again, those are smaller niche products that will never be mainstream.
Effectively I think my hit to miss ration is about 2 to 1. So, figure 66% of the time I am going to be right about a cool tech. 33% of the time I am likely to be wrong and the finally missing 1% is for those times when I geek way too far out and miss by a mile (would you believe, that much?)
Mark Twain sought the next great thing his whole life. It cost him his fortune (I don’t have a fortune so I do have to be a little more careful). The end game of chasing what is possible is that there is always a chance of failure.
If you learn from your mistakes though, you can find the next great thing!