Will Technology Companies Ever Put Consumers at The Heart of… What They Do?

5 min read

Andreas Ekström is a futurist and commentator on digital revolution. His passion is to educate for digital equality and he aims to understand the companies and behaviours that have become drivers of change at all levels of society. He talks here about the very real need for tech companies to become customer-centric.

I open a drawer. Ah. There it is. The super-duper-mega-powerful maximum hard drive I bought to have a solid backup for the cute digital video stuff I have randomly taped over thirteen years as a father. There they are: the oh-so-produced five minute interviews I always do with the kids on New Year’s Day every year. (I ask just a few questions of the more existential kind, like “what is the difference between moms and dads?” or “when will you be an adult?” Five minutes a year. Do it, parents, it’s the alchemy of kid videos!)

I have an old camera, so there is the actual DV tape version. And the hard drive version. Plus, I keep some of it online. So I should be in the clear, right? Well. Soon, I won’t be able to get a machine that can play those DV tapes. Soon, I won’t be able to plug that USB cord from the harddrive into a Mac computer, since they won’t be supporting that technology any more, oh, and firewire is gone too. The online version? Fine, as long as they support the format.

On a trip recently, I re-read Walter Isacson’s magnificent book about Steve Jobs. If there is something I absolutely detest about Steve Jobs’ legacy, it’s the silly notion that he himself always knew what’s best for everyone and everything. That notion was not just a curious trait. It was a notion that ended up killing him. Jobs was so certain that there was another way to treat his aggressive cancer that he just didn’t let the doctors get to it and do their job.

That massive fullofhimselfery really is the key explanation to the usability problems that have become a true Apple trademark.  I can’t help but thinking: the tech giants want us to lose our data. They want us to learn the hard way, to give up, to give it away, give it to them, holding on to us by just making us too tired to really pick this fight. Conclusion? The tech sector lies wide open for a company with a real consumer perspective.

CSA Speaker Bulletin March 2019


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