Monday, January 24, 2005

A Tech Guy Who's Behind The Tech Curve

I got my VOIP box today. Set it up in 30 seconds. Works great. No more long-distance toll calling for me.

Thing is, I am a little late to the VOIP revolution - even my 66 year old parents had it before I did. But the fact of the matter is that I have always been a non-innovator when it came to tech:

This is a little surprising from someone who has a Electrical Engineering degree and has worked in tech for 14 of my 16 professional years, but it's because I work in tech that I wait a bit. I know what bugs, problems, and general crap that is put out there early. I have seen that you really need to let the Innovators work the bugs out and - more importantly - wait for the price to come down into the consumer space. If I think about various technical items around my home, I have been pretty consistent in this strategy:
Personal Computer - Probably the only device where I was even close to the Innovator stage, if only because my parents saw the opportunities it could open to their 13-year-old. They were right - look what I do for a living. I wonder what ever happened to that Commodore PET?

PDA - The only reason I was an early adopter on this one was that I came to work one day in 1997 and saw that everyone - and I mean everyone - was walking around with a Palm. Turns out some manager okayed expensing them to the company, so everyone ran out and bought one. Who was I to turn down a free Palm?

Cell Phone - I was a Late Majority on this one not because I wanted to wait for the technology, but because I didn't want to be tethered to my boss. I got my first one in 1999, a bit late to the party, although my boss did make me carry a pager for a year before that.

Digital Camera - This one is pretty funny - I didn't get one until 2001, but I worked at a company starting in 1999 that (planned to) make chips for this market. I was really hoping my first camera would have MY chip in it, but the company went belly-up before I had the opportunity. I was probably right at the Early/Late majority border. I "acquired" a camcorder that same year since I had a kid - a required accessory to a camcorder.

DVR - 2003, almost exactly two years ago. Don't know how I lived without it. Probably Early Majority.

VOIP - Today, probably Early Majority.
I still don't have a flat screen TV (waiting for LCDs to get a lot bigger and cheaper) or HDTV (waiting on the flat panel, plus don't want another box cluttering up my TV area). I may also wait until the whole Hi-Def DVD thing works itself out. There is going to be another Betamax/VHS fight with BlueRay and HD-DVD, and I don't want to invest on the losing side of that war.

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