Early adopter (noun): a person who starts using a product or technology as soon as it becomes available
At MotionMobs, it’s our job to stay on the cutting edge of technology. Part of our culture is to try new things before they’re perfect, even if that means encountering a few speed bumps along the way. We can’t be successful developers in our industry if we aren’t early adopters. Today’s announcements from Apple mean there are even more new things for us to try.
I wasn’t always an early adopter of technology. I didn’t like taking risks, and I wanted to know I could rely on things to work all the time, every time. Don’t mess with my stuff, I reasoned. My first laptop was an early 2006 MacBook Pro. I skipped upgrading my operating system from Tiger to Leopard because I was content with how things were going on my computer at the time. So Tiger stayed on my Mac for four years.
In college, I worked as editor of the campus newspaper and art director of the magazine. My Mac and I got much closer than we had ever been, and suddenly I found myself a heavy user of technology instead of a casual consumer. New features made my life easier, and new workflows were worth my time to learn. Maybe this new stuff wasn’t so bad after all.
During my time with Apple after graduation, I had the chance to try new apps, new operating systems and new hardware as soon as it all became available. I had to know it inside out and upside down, too, so I could answer customers’ questions. While it was stressful to have the public expect me to know everything, it was fun to have the motivation to learn it right away. That motivation has stuck with me. (And I always do my updates now.)
Now I embrace the opportunity to try something new, especially if it’s before the general public gets to try it. I’ve had my fair share of frustrations from time to time — apps that crash, betas that have minds of their own and bugs that we jokingly call “features” — but it’s worth it. There are countless reviews of technology online, but I would much rather form my own opinions instead of blindly accepting what someone else thought. What they hated may not bother me at all. I won’t know until I try it.
Technology is not going away, nor is it slowing down. As a consumer of technology, you can either choose to accept it reluctantly and let it shape you, or you can look at it with a critical eye and help make it better. Refusing to try new technology in hopes it will just disappear is about as effective as ignoring the fuel gauge on your car in hopes that gasoline will become a thing of the past before you run out. Fill up before you get stranded on the highway.
My only words of advice before you join the front lines of innovation are to make sure you have a backup of your data and don’t install beta OSs on devices that are critical to your work or personal life. Once you’ve done that, go have fun. Learn about everything that technology has to offer you. Try things out and decide what’s great and what needs improvement. Dream of ways to make it better.
Make technology work for you, not the other way around.