Chasing the Technological Tale/Tail

My Money Matters | Written by Kojo Baffoe

12 April 2016

Have you ever watched a dog chase its tail? The poor beast spinning round and round in absolute frustration because it can’t get its teeth into the chosen prize. A totally futile experience that makes absolutely no real sense, at least to humans watching.

Meanwhile, over the last fifteen years, technology has leapt between paradigms at frightening speeds. While technology has always evolved, this period has been marked by unbelievable exponential growth. Think about it. So many devices, platforms, etc. that we take for granted today did not exist 10 years ago, while others were relatively new experiences that had not gained any type of traction – smartphones, tablets, 3D and 4K TVs, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Google, etc.  The Internet still ran mainly on desktops and, for the average person, Wi-Fi was futuristic theory. Recently I tried to explain cameras with film and phones without cameras to my eight-year old son.

And, as these advancements have taken place, we’ve all scrambled to keep up, at times unnecessarily, like the dog chasing its tail. The ‘geeks’ sold us the idea that the gadget is important so much that we have forgotten that it is, in my opinion, more about the functionality of things in our lives. Your phone contract runs for 24 months with the ability to upgrade at about 16 months while the manufacturers pop out new phones every 6 months.

I probably won’t be a favourite of tech companies for saying this but, at some point, you have to stop chasing the next tech fix. At some stage, you have to stop adding to your ‘tech graveyard’ at will. I have drawers full of cables, old phones, obsolete tablets, nice-to-have gadgets, fried routers, etc. that I don’t know what to do with. Consider the following:

  • Stop buying into the tale. Give the manufacturers, developers and other nerds the space and perhaps they will give us the breathing room.
  • Let them iron out the bugs. Without fail, there are always bugs, whether it is devices, software, etc. Give them time to figure these things out. How many times have you wished you could reverse a software update?
  • Let them figure out how much it should really cost. It is amazing how far prices drop if you exercise a little patience, especially with things like televisions.
  • You don’t know what you want. Be honest with yourself. You don’t always know what you need and just because a gadget can do something doesn’t mean that you need it. How many apps do you use regularly on your phone? How many apps have you downloaded and then deleted because you realised you actually don’t need it? Give yourself time to figure it out.

I love tech as much as the next person and have been known to acquire items just because I find them cool, but you have to do it within reason and within your budget. Sometimes that cash could be better served paying for your children’s school fees, petrol or a holiday. I have friends who chase every development but they have the necessary budget for it. We aren’t all that blessed. Don’t chase the tail or the tale.

Disclaimer: The advice contained on this blog is for general purposes only and does not take into account individual circumstances, objectives or financial needs. Accordingly, readers are advised to seek appropriate advice from licensed professionals prior to making any investment, or taking up a financial product or service.