This was originally posted on LinkedIn by our Sales Director, Mike Masone.
This weekend, I caught myself watching one of those ‘DeadSeaGold’ shows where various prospector/tv star types vie for supremacy in extracting gold from some exotic environment. In an effort to determine if the producers were documenting a commercially viable activity or just creating drama for a a TV show I grabbed my phone to check the spot price of gold. Unsatisfied but undaunted after some quick arithmetic I read a linked story. Of course this story was just that, conjecture populated by the conflicting opinions of various talking heads about what certainly must be driving the current price and trend and where the price will go. It was then I thought about what each of fellows in the above would think to themselves upon seeing a bar of gold flash in front of them on a screen, would they wish it worth more, less, be replaceable by some other metal. Kind of a Rorschah Test for something presented as more=better. Fun Sunday at the Masone house for sure!
Most of the time, perspective matters. Much of the time nothing matters more. There are ostensible winners and losers in every grain of gold extracted from the earth whether or not they even know who they are. In the same vein there are winners and losers in every Self-service and technology implementation.
Next time you fly take a moment to look at the long-empty counter. Every one of the 30 or so blank windows in a terminal is a job that doesn’t exist anymore. True, sometimes workers are re-trained but in some businesses there is nowhere to go and some career paths evaporate. Those losses are cataclysmic to those who experience their first and second order effects. Now, turn around look at the mass of people checking in using kiosks; look at the price of your ticket, look up at Bloomberg on the TV showing an uptick in the NYSE. You see, receive and maybe viscerally feel the first order benefits. Smaller for sure, but when applied across the thousands of travelers, millions of investors and their families no less important.
Whether or not “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” often depends more on which group you fall into than your implicit morality or stance on Vulcan philosophy. I’m constantly reminding myself of this fact when discussing any technology implementation. No matter how objectively ‘great’ something is there are always winners & losers on a personal level. For every early adopter who can’t wait to prove ROI or cut the ribbon there is a resistor fighting to maintain the status comfy. It isn’t necessary to agree, disagree or even address individual concerns, just to understand that duality actually does exist. I have other customers, many of the people who are made redundant, have one career supporting one life that is every bit as important to them as mine is to me. Awareness of that reality maintains humanity and tamps down the arrogance and callousness that tend to creep into the process of implementing new technology. Be Kind!