Convenience is mother of all transforming inventions

A few months back, I was explaining to someone in a mixer event about TonidoPlug and the convenience that it offers to consumers. The person (may be a self proclaimed tech guru), whom I was explaining to, said “people don’t care about convenience. You should focus on a fist pounding need.”. His conviction started make me believe what he said might be correct. However, when I got back home, I realized how wrong he was.

Let us take an example. One night in 1949, when Frank McNamara finished his dinner in a restaurant, he realized that he didn’t have enough money to pay the bill. He starting thinking ‘is there a simpler way to carry cash?’ and went on to invent Diner card, which was the first step towards credit cards. In 1940s, no one complained about carrying cash and no one was pounding their fist to find an alternative for money.

Credit card was born out of convenience. Would commerce have grown across globe without credit cards? I doubt ecommerce would have been possible without invention of credit cards. In 1950s and 60s, no one would have imagined how credit cards will revolutionize shopping and will enable consumers to buy things without actually visiting stores.

I’m pretty sure that when wheels were invented, not everyone in the tribe was working feverishly on the problem of solving for a wheel. Probably, a smart lazy guy thought “why should I carry all these things? How can I make my life easier? Can’t I push things by placing them on top of logs?” thus wheels were invented. Wheels were born out of convenience and unknowingly pushed human race ahead.

Inventions that are born out of necessity fill a small immediate need and can’t be transformational. On the other hand, inventions driven by convenience revolutionize the world and opens doors for possibilities that can’t be imagined currently. If I extend this argument one step further, laziness drives people look for ways to make things convenient. Hence we owe all the growth not to people who were aggressive and zealous but to people who were lazy and were trying to make their life easier.

Similar to Dos Equis commercial, my comments are “Stay lazy, my friends. Unknowingly we are changing the world!!”

4 Responses

  1. Dan says:

    There’s a new social networking project that some people seem pretty excited about called Diaspora. They raised the money they needed pretty quickly by tapping into peoples’ rising concern about loss of privacy with Facebook. Privacy seems to be a feature of rising importance nowadays. Also, with Diaspora, people would host their own profiles, and TonidoPlugs would be perfect for this.

  2. DaX says:

    diaspora plans to be open source but Tonido seams to be closed source – at least partly. It would be great if diaspora opts to go for the ARM platform but I think this would not be good news for Tonido.

    I wonder how you intend to keep growing your Tonido business if the vision of diaspora becomes reality. They could role out their software for the same hardware platform as your Tonido Plug. With their planned plugin architecture and wide interest of open source developers (as stated in their blog) they could quickly overtake you and make your offer look rather pale. In addition, their financial resources grow quite quickly.

  3. Asim Ali says:

    Never thought I would read such an inspirational blog on CodeLathe. 🙂
    I do agree with your point of view on convenience or frustration towards the current system being the mother of all inventions. Perhaps the gentleman you spoke to was talking from a business perspective, where he wanted to prove to his customers that whatever he had, was needed by a massive audience. Thus creating a substantial market for the product.

  4. gromit says:

    Thanks Asim!

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