Technology is a tool, not an industry. People are referring to a psychography.

For the you who cringes at the oversimplified use of 'technology' as a label incorrectly applied to an industry, company and community. 

In the past six or so months I've met 40-50 different startups and investors. Of which many ask "Why are you passionate in tech?". To which I reply "I'm not. Technology is a tool, not an industry or a company." and then I proceed to wonder the individual's ability to think for he has obviously not thought about the question he is asking. 

Technology is a tool. You want some examples of technology?

A car. It was "innovative technology" when Ford brought it to market. It was a big up from horses. A tool to get from A to B.

A horse saddle. This was supreme before the car. Don't get me started on stirrups and carriages. 

A watch. Innovative technology that used intricate gears to tell time. Before this was the sundial, an amazing piece of technology. 

A hammer. Was probably innovative technology when the first human learned to put a rock on a stick to bang things out. 

A suitcase with wheels. Yeah, we invented this 30 years after sending someone to the moon. The entire world carried heavy loads, to the detriment of their body, before then. I'd argue this is more innovation than scheduling social media posts. 

There is more! Goose down winter jackets, a bag pack, pair of shoes, a chair, an oven, french press, and..... chopsticks. 

This isn't what they meant though is it?

When people are saying "technology" they are not referring to such tools. Apparently, technology is the "tool" of the modern era like an iPhone or Macbook or the gazillion AI+Crypto+ML SaaS company (all hail recurring revenue!). That's a very relative definition for technology. Also, a lazy one. Many refer to it as an industry for companies like:

Apple. A luxury goods company

Uber. A transportation and logistics company

Airbnb. A hospitality company

Wealthsimple. A financial services company

Freshbooks. An accounting software company. 

Dropbox. A data storage company.

These companies merely use technology. You don't think Walmart uses the cloud to store its data and use targeted marketing or McDonalds has mobile apps? Once again, using tools to make things people value for a price that is lower than the perceived value. That's what a good company does. 

Still wrong.

So, no. Referring to an industry as "technology" is quite absurd.... in most occasions. I guess I could make an exception for one that is always making tools... but that would make Home Depot a technology company.

It's the mindset.

What they are actually referring to is the psychography of the community. It's the identification of a specific mindset that organizations and, more importantly, the people within represent.

The superficial may be denoting a demographic. A la, thin and skinny male in the millennial generation commonly called "geek" or "nerd" where many are of Asian descent as employees whilst Caucasian for founders. But alas this is not it. This is rather derogatory and the ones within don't like to admit it. Because people don't like stereotypes. Because most of it is true. 

No, it's more psychographic. 

When people say "Oh I want to switch into tech", "I want to work for a tech company", "I'm passionate about tech" or "Tech is the fastest growing industry" it's about the formation of a new kind of ideology towards human development. It's the embodiment of embracing human growth by creating environments where people can:

  • take risks

  • test out hypothesis fast to learn, adjust and test again

  • be treated like free adults (not contracted prisoners)

  • move quickly (with intent..... hopefully)

  • increased optionality from wearing many hats early (what the hell will you know to specialize in without trying em all?)

  • expanding perspectives to learn

All in. A Growth > Fixed mindset.

It is a form of organizational design that is prevalent in the so-called "tech" industry and it is rather an evolution of what we consider "work" but overall an approach to human and societal development. An evolution that came out of necessity as we had automated so many menial task with.......... 

<drum roll>


Tools. Tools that automate the monotonous tasks so people can use our brains to be creative. To adjust for this shift, the way of working and interacting with our environment is required to evolve and that movement has been labeled "technology". 

Some confuse this with the plight of the "ungrateful millennial". This is rather foolish because the ones leading the industry change are led by generation X and even some baby boomers. These Gen X-ers (i.e. Lazlo Bock of Google culture, Jeff Bezos of Amazon) or Baby Boomers (i.e Warren Buffet, Richard Branson) were the few who changed the paradigm for "work" and organizational design. Given the sound logic in many of their principles the many in Gen Y (i.e. millennials) adopted it because why would you not adopt a method that is much more effective and fitting to the changed times? Why the hell would you insist on traveling by boat when there is a plane? What the trailblazers did to become the iconic business titans of the modern era is now the default of our generation and that is what we embody as "tech" and negatively as "lazy millennials". Obviously, those believing in the latter signify those afraid of the "new normal" and have rather opted for stagnation in life rather than growth. 

Bezos and Branson are the innovators of the new shift in creating a new normal for "work" and the millennial generation have become the early adopters. But there are still many who are now just catching on and they are the ones who say "I want to join tech". 

Tech is not an industry. It's a tool. People are referring to a psychography. The sooner we stop misidentifying it and try to narrow it to some kind of sector but rather refer to it as "I want to join a company that wants to win. Win in an effective manner." then will the evolution become the default faster. 


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