Stirrups, iPhones and finding the next big technology
By Geno A Bulzomi
Copyright, July 2007

Keep an eye out for new and upcoming technologies.  Judging the benefit of a new technology can be tricky and missing out on the next revolution can be quite costly.  Imagine the first people to see a stirrup when it hit the market!  It probably did not seem like a big deal to people then and even today some of you may be asking, “what is a stirrup?”  How do you recognize the next big hit and what the heck does a stirrup have to do with it? 

A stirrup is an example of a seemingly simple and ordinary technology that had a huge impact on the world.  Stirrups essentially allows for a rider of a horse to place weight on the saddle, ultimately on the horse, and keep their balance as they ride.  Although the stirrup seems quite simple it revolutionized horseback riding, warfare and to some extent changed civilization.  The theory is that the stirrup allowed for the introduction of knights, ensured feudalism thrived and might have actually been responsible for Europe leaving the Dark Ages and entering the Renaissance period.  Wow!

Today we look for the newest and most revolutionary technologies, at least from a business prospective, as potentially being next big opportunity that brings in the money.  The stirrup allowed military supremacy and was easily utilized.  The next big tech today needs to have utility as well as cultural appeal (military needs aside).  Apple’s iPhone is an example of a potential mega hit.  It has utility (music, phone, file storage, web and more) while also having cultural appeal (hello, an iPod that you can call people on).  When looking for the next big technologies apply these three simple rules:

  • Does the item have utility—honestly, does it do something better or easier than anything else at the time?
  • Does the item have cultural appeal—if you know any teenagers ask them what they think of it and also watch the publicity it garners.
  • Would you buy it—think about this in context, if you were into music and cannot live without a cell phone would the iPhone be something that you would buy?

Applying these three rules to the stirrup and the iPhone would result in a savvy business person investing in either product.  Of course the stirrups might not have been all the rage with the teenagers of the period, but you get the picture.

This article may be reproduced on the Internet with this citation:
B ulzomi, Geno A.  Copyright 2007, http://www.bulzomi.com
   

Copyright, July 2007
Material can be used with proper citation