The VCR and the DVD – there wasn’t none of that crap back in 1970
We didn’t know about a World Wide Web
Was a whole different game being played back when I was a kid
Wanna get down in a cool way?
Picture yourself on a beautiful day
Big Bell Bottoms and groovy, long hair
Just a-walking in style with a portable CD player – No!
You would listen to the music on the AM Radio
Yeah, you could hear the music on the AM Radio
These are the opening lyrics to the song “AM Radio” from one of my favorite 90’s bands, Everclear. I was a kid in the 1970’s and 80s, and I can very much relate to the picture painted by these lyrics. While these lyrics are from the perspective of a kid growing up in the 70s, you could just as easily rewrite them from the perspective of a kid in 1990 or even 2010.
I still remember the excitement of getting an Atari, a “portable” jambox that weighed over 5 pounds, and cable TV. The latter of which did not happen until I was in my late teens. I remember feeling lucky to have a 12” black and white TV in my bedroom as a teenager, and it was a TV on which I had to use pliers to change the channel to pick up one of the 4 stations we could tune in over the air. I also remember going into debt when I was a junior in college to buy a Tandy (yes Tandy) computer so I could use a rudimentary spreadsheet program to help with my accounting classes.
I also remember getting my first laptop when I entered the high flying world of Big 6 Consulting in the late 90’s – I don’t recall the exact specs of it, but my back to this day remembers that it was heavier than a brick. And I recall connecting that laptop to pay phones (yes pay phones) at the airport so I could dial-into our Groupwise mail server. And I can’t forget the awe and amazement when I was issued a cell phone a few years later.
Fast forward 15 years and I am now sitting on a plane writing this blog on a touch screen tablet that weighs less than 2 pounds and is connected via wireless to the entire world at 35,000 feet – all while listening to one of the 1000s of songs on a my iPod and thinking about which type of smartphone I want next – smartphones that I am sure have more memory and horsepower than that first brick of a laptop I had and certainly much more than the Tandy computer that took me 2 years to pay off back in the early 90s.
As a kid, I never imagined we would have the real time interactions we have today. To think that in my lifetime, I went from Polaroid picture to being able to stream real time video anywhere in the world from a 3 inch x 5 inch device in my hand is just crazy. Just last week, I was riding in the back of car through the mountains of Colorado while having a conversation with a business associate in Australia via a tablet connected to a wireless hotspot. While this is common place technology in today’s world, I couldn’t help but stop and think about how dang cool it was to do it. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
In the past two weeks I have had the opportunity to listen to people from Intel and Microsoft talk about what is coming down the technology pipe. While many of us are amazed at the technology that is hitting the market now – all the touch laptops, tablets, phones and the ever increasing number of connected things – it sounds like what will become available in the next 18-24 months will rock our worlds – in how we work, how we learn and how we live. The pace of technology innovation feels to be picking up. The question is “Are we all ready to keep up with it?”
A few final disclosures:
1) As a kid, my parent’s car had nothing but AM radio.
2) We still have VHS tapes and a VCR to play them on at our house.
3) I just recently took the very first DVD player I ever owned to Goodwill.
4) I can now change the channel on my TV from my iPhone (no pliers needed)
5) I still listen to AM radio on a regular basis.