Not everything is going to change the world tomorrow

I’m not sure when the “hot take” era started. It predates the internet1, but social media really seems to have kicked it into the stratosphere. There’s a rush to hype everything as the next disruptive invention. Wearable devices. Foldable displays. Ride sharing and self-driving cars. Blockchain and cryptocurrency. Artificial intelligence and machine learning. AR and VR. Federated social media.

While social media drives the hype train, it’s powered by money. Major companies are afraid of missing a big trend and becoming irrelevant. Small companies see an opportunity to move fast and take advantage of the new tech. VC firms are willing to gamble on the technology in hopes of a big pay day. Entrepreneurs sell grand visions with hopes of making it big. All of these entities benefit from building the hype around every new technology.

What technology really needs is time to mature. Time to work the bugs out. To discover the downsides and figure out how to address them. To build a sustainable business model. Instead, too often, the money-powered hype train moves too fast and the whole thing just derails.

I love reading about technology and learning about all the latest advancements, but I’ve been following technology long enough to know that slow and steady usually wins the race.2

Bob Wertz is a creative director, type designer, Ph.D. student and researcher living in Columbia, South Carolina.

  1. I’ve done some research on printing technology and let me tell you, the newspaper reports from the late 1800s about the Linotype are the definition of “hot take.” ↩︎

  2. Do you remember the TV show Beyond 2000? How many of those featured technologies actually became successful products? Not many. ↩︎