by Mike Ellis

25 Sep 2015

What it does, not what it is

The importance of the new iPhone 6s isn't that it can shoot 4k video. It's that people will make beautiful, emotive, touching films using it.

The importance of a website isn't the underlying framework, coding language or hosting, or whether you've used PHP, .Net or node.js. It's that people can see and engage with the importance of the images and words.

The importance of a stereo system isn't the fidelity of the speakers. It's the emotion that you feel when you listen to something astonishing.

A video camera from 10 years ago, a website that is simple, flat HTML, the tinny sound from a Bakelite record player - these can all do the job of their "better" counterparts. Watch a silent Harold Lloyd film, read a piece of incredible prose, listen to Beethoven on a crappy cassette and you'll understand pretty quickly that you don't need the latest and greatest thing to be deeply touched by what you see, read or hear.

Rejecting the new isn't the answer, of course. But focussing on what it is rather than what it does - that's the danger of the high-glamour, shiny, fast paced market we face every day.

Often, the new is a distraction - learning how to use a new phone, moving your website into the latest language, setting up your new stereo. Maybe that time and money would be better used in other ways, making wonderful things out of the tools you've already got...

Dive Deeper

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