What does ‘Horseless” and “Wireless” Have in Common?



I, like many Detroiters, will make my way sometime this week to the North American Auto Show.  It’s a fun event and, although I’m a ‘truck guy’, I’ll enjoy checking out the latest offerings that I can’t afford.

Last week, Compuware hosted “Mobile Madness in the Motor City”, an event from Xconomy, which featured entrepreneurs, marketers and developers to celebrate innovation in mobile development and applications.

It occurred to me, as I opened the event, that if we were having this gathering one-hundred years ago, we would have called it “Horseless Carriage Madness”, which today seems absurd.

If you look at the history of the auto-industry, you’ll see that it was about one-hundred years ago when we STOPPED using the term ‘horseless carriage’, because it was obvious that automobiles were the future and we needed to leave the old terms behind.  We went from selling disruptive-innovation(horseless), to technology(horsepower) to design(horsefeathers).  Even today marketing messages change as design and technology advance.  Somehow I’m beyond demographic relevance, so these messages have no effect on me.  To me a vehicle is a functional device that gets me from point-A to point-B.


So, let’s talk about ‘mobile madness’;  why are we still saying things like ‘wireless’ and ‘mobile’?  OF COURSE it’s wireless and EVERYTHING is going mobile.  And DON’T talk about performance in technical terms, that’s just silly.  The smart marketers are already talking about the value that these technologies have on your life and lifestyle.

My annoyance with this is that until we break the semantic gymnastics, we’ll be stuck in innovation stagnation.  Stop using terms that have a limited relevance lifespan and either invent something new or take it to its lowest denominator.  And don’t get me started on “CLOUD”!

That’s all for a Monday where I should be on holiday instead of in the office working on NodeXL.