What Is the Relevance of Technology?

“Technology in the long-run is irrelevant”. That is what a customer of mine told me once i made a presentation to him about a new product. I used to be talking about the product’s features and benefits and listed “state-of-the-art technology” or something to that impact, as one of them. That is when this individual made his statement. We realized later that this individual was correct, at least within the context exhibiting how I used “Technology” within my presentation. But We commenced thinking about whether he could be right in other contexts as well. Technology

What is Technology?

Merriam-Webster defines it as: 


a: the sensible application of knowledge particularly in a particular area: executive 2 <medical technology>

m: a capability given by the program of knowledge <a car’s fuel-saving technology>


: a manner of accomplishing a job especially using complex processes, methods, or knowledge


: the specialized aspects of a specific field of endeavor <educational technology>

Wikipedia defines it as:

Technology (from Greek?? -???, techne, “art, skill, cunning of hand”; and -??????, -logia[1]) is the making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, and methods of organization, to be able to solve a problem, improve a preexisting solution to a problem, acquire a goal, handle an applied input/output relation or execute a specific function. It can also consider the collection of such tools, including machinery, changes, arrangements and procedures. Solutions significantly affect human as well as other dog species’ ability to control and adapt to their natural environments. The term can either be applied generally or to specific areas: these include construction technology, medical technology, and information technology.

Both definitions center around the same thing – application and use.

Technology is an enabler

Many people mistakenly believe that it is technology which drives innovation. Yet from the definitions above, that is plainly not the case. It truly is opportunity which defines innovation and technology which permits innovation. Believe of the classic “Build an improved mousetrap” example educated in most business educational institutions. You could have the technology to build an improved mousetrap, but if you do not rats or the old mousetrap works well, there is no opportunity and then the technology to build an improved one becomes unrelated. Alternatively, if you are full of mice then the ability exists to enhance a product making use of your technology.

Another example, one with which I am thoroughly familiar, are consumer electronic devices startup companies. I’ve recently been associated with those that succeeded and those that failed. Each possessed unique leading edge technologies. The difference was opportunity. Individuals that failed could hardly find the possibility to produce an important innovation using their technology. In fact to make it through, these companies needed to change oftentimes into something totally different and if they were lucky they could take good thing about derivatives of their original technology. Most of the time, the original technology twisted up in the refuse heap. Technology, thus, is an enabler whose ultimate value proposition is to make improvements to living. In order to be relevant, it needs to be used to create innovations that are powered by opportunity.

Technology as a competitive advantage?

Various companies list a technology as one of their competitive advantages. Is this valid? Sometimes yes, but In most cases amount

Technology develops along two paths – an major path and a groundbreaking path.

A revolutionary technology is one that permits new industries or permits solutions to problems that were previously not possible. Semiconductor technology is a good example. Not only made it happen spawn new sectors and products, but it spawned other revolutionary systems – transistor technology, built-in circuit technology, microprocessor technology. All which provide many of the companies services we consume today. Although is semiconductor technology a competitive advantage? Taking a look at the quantity of semiconductor companies which exist today (with new ones forming every day), I’d say not. Just how about microprocessor technology? Once again, no. A lot of microprocessor companies out there. How about quad core microprocessor technology? Not as many companies, however, you have Intel, ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES, ARM, and a sponsor of companies building custom quad core processors (Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm, etc). Therefore again, not much of any competitive advantage. Competition from competing technologies and easy use of IP mitigates the perceived competitive good thing about any particular technology. Android as opposed to iOS is a good example of how this works. Both operating systems are derivatives of UNIX. Apple used their technology to introduce iOS and gained an early market advantage. Nevertheless , Google, utilizing their variant of Unix (a competing technology), trapped up relatively quickly. The issues for this lie not in the underlying technology, but also in how the products made possible by those technologies were delivered to market (free vs. walled garden, etc. ) and the distinctions in the proper visions of each company.