For someone who considers himself a rather savvy bleeding-edge type I have a track record for being slow to adopt certain technologies. Case in point, the Kindle. Until about a week and a half ago I was not a Kindle owner. This should have been a no-brainer. I enjoy reading, but rarely have the exact book I want to read within reach at the time I decide to read it. I enjoy newspapers but find holding them awkward. And although I do enjoy the feel (and smell) of a good new book I am not so tactile that reading electronically is a deal breaker – I read blogs everyday. Despite the above it took me nearly three years from the release of the Kindle to break down and get one.
Earlier today I bought another handy piece of consumer technology known as the Blu Ray player. Mind you, I have no intention to to out and buy a bunch of Blu Ray disks. I don’t put a lot of value in the difference between 1080p and 720y or whatever the designations are; and frankly on my 48 inch TV I am not sure it makes much of a difference (especially considering it spends most of its time in the off position). No, this purchase was mostly utilitarian – for Kate’s occasional late Saturday night movie suggestion or for my son to watch Curious George or the like when he is over.
My old DVD player was a… I think the technical term is POS. It was bought hurriedly at Walgreen’s (that Electronic powerhouse) a year and a half ago to replace my prior DVD player that had broken mid ‘Monsters Inc’. I could have replaced it by plunking down another $39 for an off-brand frill-free DVD player. But instead gracing my mantle is a shiny new Blu Ray with the curious ability to stream web content.
I am sharing all this not to prove that I am doing my part to boost 3rd quarter consumer spending, but instead to ask the question why did I wait? The only thing I can think of is that the realities of our new ‘Freemium‘ economy has resulted in slower adaptation of technologies that come with an initial cost – at least for me. I have been conditioned to a try-it-before-you-buy-it (or instead of buying it) model that I am more reluctant to pay for something upfront even when there is an expectation of high value.
This cant be only me. Imagine the effect on producers of physical goods which generally don’t lend themselves well to a freemium model. Are you in the manufacturing industry? If so, what are you doing to adjust?