Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sometimes I forget how skewed my perception is

I listen to lots of podcasts about starting your own business.  Many of them take the same form, "I have an idea but I want somebody else to do all the hard work."  Sometimes it's irritating, but often it is motivational.

The other day I was listening to a particular show out of I believe Tennessee.  And the caller actually uttered the following sentence:  "I'm plannin ta be up around Nashville next week, and was thinkin about maybe goin to the library and usin the computer."

It took me awhile to fully appreciate how different that person's world is from mine.  Right now, in my home, I have ... 6 computers. Not counting my PDA.  I've been surrounded with computers since I was about 14 years old.  I have a degree in computer programming. I can't imagine life without them.  When I need something from somebody, I'll usually email them first rather than calling.  When I need to look up a phone number I head to google, not to 411.  And I absolutely can't stand to see a trivia question go by unanswered, if Wikipedia, IMDB and Google are only a few keystrokes away.

And then there's this guy.  Not only does he not have a computer of his own, either his local library does not have a computer either, or else he doesn't even have a local library.  I'm guessing that wherever he was, Nashville was not exactly one town over.  It's not like somebody plans a trip a week in advance to be "up around Nashville" if it's just the next town over.  So here's a guy that gets exposed to computers maybe 1/1000th of the time that I do.

That'll certainly make you think about your perceptions of the technology around you.  Ironically my other college degree is in sociology, specifically majoring in the impact of technology on society.  Maybe that's what makes me notice such things.  Man, is it a wakeup call.  This is not just somebody who hasn't upgraded his own computer in a few years, something that in my neck of the woods will get you smirked at in the local Best buy.  This is a guy to whom computers are still an alien item, something for someone else to own, something that he will use under very special and unique circumstances.  I'm intrigued by this guy.

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