It’s amazing how quickly things come and go in this age of technology. A killer app or product is nothing to take for granted, because in no time at all it could turn into a killed app.
Take Adobe Flash for example. It’s been years since we’ve taken this software seriously in our business. There was a day when Flash intros, web navigation and entire websites wow’d the world with their creativity. That hasn’t been the case for a number of years and yesterday’s “Thoughts on Flash” letter by Steve Jobs finally killed the three-year-old rumors as to why the iPhone and new Ipad don’t run Flash. It also effectively killed the platform altogether.There’s a lesson to be learned here. Flash is a tool. At one time it was the baddest tool around. It could do things that were directly plucked from a creative imagination. It seemed like a perfect bridge between design and technology. Unfortunately, for Adobe, it didn’t innovate enough to remain relevant. Anything new created in Flash is essentially starting out five years old.
Tools must remain relevant, because they’re simply only tools. Do you understand what I’m getting at? Creativity comes from our minds. It always will. Tools help you get the job done, but if they can’t keep up with our creativity and imagination they become obsolete.
Painted or wallpapered outdoor billboards, for example, are obsolete. Heck, outdoor advertising itself is an archaic form of media for the most part. And we all know where printed journalism stands. Ink is a tool. Paper is a tool. Pixels and LCD screens are tools — better tools for today’s media.
This morning I’m going to pick up a brochure job from the printer. I’m wondering how many more times I’ll be doing that. Printed brochures in the age of Ipads, PDF and smartphones? It’s not ending tomorrow, but it’s ending.
So I guess I’m suggesting that we don’t get too wrapped up in tools. Don’t get lazy and lean on old, familiar technology. Do you think the Mayas and Incas wouldn’t have loved a bulldozer and crane back in the day? They would have jumped on a John Deere in a Flash.