I’ve always been fascinated by scoffing. It’s such a weird human reaction. It’s wanting to say something is stupid without directly saying it. Or sometimes without saying anything at all. The key is contempt. You simply cannot be bothered to even find the fucks to give.
We see this a lot in the tech world. There’s a lot of “that’ll never work” scoffs simply because something has been tried and failed in the past. Never mind the fact that nearly everything in the history of humanity was tried and failed before it eventually worked.
And then there’s competitor scoffing. Everyone knows the infamous Ballmer iPhone scoff. What makes it so bad isn’t just the derision, it’s what we can see with the benefit of hindsight. Ballmer is staring point blank at the device that will eventually eat his lunch and is faced with a choice:
- He could say, “wow, we have to work harder.”
- He could scoff.
I find myself thinking of this type of scoffing on the eve of the “iWatch.” I’ve had a lot of conversations about the mythical device over the past several months and the unifying thread across most of the conversations has been scoffing.
It’s not necessarily that people don’t think Apple will make a nice wearable, it’s more that they’re sure it will be a meager, maybe even gimmicky product. In other words, like most of the wearables we’ve seen thus far. Not a game changer.
And yet, over the past several days, news has been trickling out that this device may be much more ambitious than just a thing on your wrist that tells time and maybe allows you to see an SMS or two. What if this device is not only the future of fitness, but the future of health monitoring, the future of payments, and maybe even the future of your living room to boot?
Maybe it won’t reach that potential. Maybe it won’t reach even half or a quarter of that potential. But it still seems silly to scoff at the device.
Nothing works until it does.
(Written on my iPhone)