Beware New Clothes

Beware new clothes… keep your eyes on Egypt and the region.

I am still excited and optimistic about the potential – could change the world for good… or not. Your view as this continues to unfold?

I thought I’d continue on the theme – for at least another week – see where it goes.

Saw a report this morning on how the US Government was conned/fooled into investing some $20 million in technology that would stop terrorism only to find out it was all fraudulent.

Then I started thinking about all the supposed new technologies I have seen, over the years, all with big promises of changing the industry; the category; business; buying; the world – you name it – that have proved to be nothing much at all – exciting as the demonstrations were in my office.

Went back to my notes on CES (Consumer Electronic Show) and the number of “faked” demos we saw – faked in that the devices were running movies as opposed to live OS – all of which reminded me of a lesson I learned from one of the great computer companies of the ‘80s – Apollo Computers – who made high end workstations – that are probably the equal to a netbook today – and were bought by HP. They used to run pictures of orangutans on their monitors during product launches because the deep colors looked so rich and were impressive – hiding any flaws in actually running the systems live that in those days were very apparent during shows and exhibitions.

And I think, in our industry, about the lost art of real “tissue” sessions when we talked about ideas and concepts as opposed to details and execution. The ability to produce finished work – bestowed upon us by computer technology has driven us to provide full solutions before we finish examining the full richness inherent in the problem.

All of these examples have one common theme – we get seduced by the ability to “dress up” the solution. Make it look enticing and inviting and irresistible even if the end game is disastrous – and often it’s too late to stop.

Truth is this isn’t a new concept. Folk legend is full of tales of the wayward traveler caught in the snare of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Greek mythology warns of the Sirens and of Circe… again – same message.

We all watched the financial frauds of the past few years – which helped to accelerate the global downturn — where all over the world genius investors – returning unheard of sums to their investors – were neither genius nor successful – they turned out to be common thieves.

And, we have seen countries and people liberated by saviors who turned out to be worse than what they replaced.


“Dressing up is inevitably a substitute for good ideas. It is no coincidence that technically inept business types are known as “suits”.” Paul Graham

Don’t get fooled. Don’t allow others to get blinded by the veneer. Great ideas shine; illuminate; cut through. Remember even diamonds are presented rough… and it’s the true expert who can identify the power inherent in its very roughness.

Now – truth is this is a bit harsh – note to self – be careful next time you wear a suit…. 

What’s your view?

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