I am an avid user of Netflix, Apple Music, Uber, online shopping and many other ‘disruptive’ types of businesses that have come about in the last decade, if not the last three years. Today I was reflecting on these businesses and what type of value they bring to my life. Yes, they make my life easier, engagement faster, payment methods quicker, and everything just faster. I get faster access to nearly everything in my life now. Food, transport, entertainment, you name it. But I started to wonder, what have I lost in this process?
I remember my Friday nights walking through the DVD store in search of something to watch, it took almost an hour to find something most evenings, and the magic was not so much in watching the movie, but the build up to spending time on the couch after the search. Or think about browsing through a music store, no search function – just stumbling across artists, plugging in the headphones and listening to countless CDs to make that one decision. I remember the personal touch of the proprietor, the interaction with an independent resource and point of view and so called guru. The people that worked at these stores didn’t work there because they needed a job; they loved it, and I felt that. There was a process, a magical one, something that kept you busy and when you found that one thing there was a real feeling of accomplishment.
So much of what we have created now has pushed these experiences into something of a commodity. We don’t respect these experiences as much as we did before, simply because we don’t need to work for them as hard anymore. Having such easy access and instant on apps and services has also given us the ability to redefine ourselves almost every day. We change our music, our tastes our enjoyment, constantly because it is so easy to do it, crossing over constantly between liking and disliking things between Mondays to Fridays.
I wonder, or maybe hope, that the next wave of disruption will be in recreating these magic moments. In exchange for fast, we lost the time that we spent exploring, engaging and connecting with ourselves and other people. We lost some of the magic that time gave us. Waiting in queues, waiting to listen to that song that moved us, just waiting. I would like to see brands that can offer some of these moments of slow and recapture what it felt like to discover something new for the first time.
Now I am not talking about retro-ising our lives, but rather rebuilding moments that people can engage with. I really like Exclusive Books, where it’s not the idea of buying something, but browsing and slowing down.
There is a distinct move back to the tangible and tactile. We need to go to a place and be with people while we discover. This becomes your time, time to yourself not to move faster but slow down and do a little bit of escaping from technology; just being connected. Really connected.
So before brands think that technology is the answer, rethink what you lose in this process that just may have been the magic people connected to.
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