Note: Blog post subject matter is discussed in more detail on the Athalonz Podcast.
We hear the word “technology” all of the time. Game-changing technology, revolutionary technology, make-your-life extraordinary technology, all new technology, and so on. It begs the question, what really is technology. My simple answer is that “It’s man made stuff”.
Anything humans have created includes technology. As such, there’s technology in everything from rags to dish soap to paint to medicine to cell phones to computers to cars to spaceships and on and on.
Despite all of the claims, there actually are very, very few game-changing, life altering, revolutionary technologies. My definition of a revolutionary technology is one that creates new markets, changes & expands existing markets, and changes how people live. Thus, in my opinion, the last truly revolutionary technology was the advent of the internet. The internet changed how people communicate, study, do business, and so much more. Without the internet, businesses like Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. wouldn’t exist. That’s revolutionary.
I have three other categories in which all other technology falls. The categories are tweaks, better mouse trap, and evolutionary. I created these categories to help quantify patent business opportunities for my law clients.
A majority of technology falls into the tweak category, which encompasses technologies that are incremental improvements of existing technologies. Tweak technologies do not change markets, they offer slightly better versions of existing technologies in existing markets. Often the improvements are imperceptible.
As an example, improving processing speed and/or memory storage of a computer by a percent or two is a tweak technology. A user would most likely not recognize that a computer is now executing 3.4 billion instructions per second instead of 3.3 billion instructions per second, but the computer does.
That’s not to say that tweak technologies aren’t important technologies, they are. They keep technology moving forward. It just that tweak technologies are not revolutionary as they are way too often claimed.
Technologies that falls in the better mouse trap category are much rarer than the tweak technologies. Better mouse trap technologies expand markets by offer new options and often fill a niche in the market. For example, Athalonz Golf Shoes are a better mouse trap technology. The shoes manipulate how forces traverse through the shoes to improve stability, power, and control for athletes. This is a new niche market that expands the overall athlete shoe market.
Technologies that falls in the evolutionary category are much rarer than better mouse trap technologies, but not as rare as revolutionary technologies. Evolutionary technologies change and/or expand markets by obsoleting existing technologies. For example, LCD displays have replaced CRT displays.
As another example, let’s look at cell phones. The advent of the cell phone was revolutionary. It created a whole new market and open up other market opportunities (e.g., apps). Cell phones have gone through three evolutionary phases: (1) from the brick phone to a handle held phone; (2) from analog technology to digital technology: and (3) from primarily being a phone to a hand held computer that we have today. Along the way, there have been hundreds of thousands of tweak technologies and thousands of better mouse trap technologies.
Advancement in technology, whether it’s tweaks, better mouse traps, evolutionary, or revolutionary takes creativity and a level of commitment to bring it to market. It would be refreshing to hear that, “This golf ball is bit more aerodynamic to provide a few yards more distance” instead of, “This golf ball changes everything”. Or hearing, “We made a few line changes to this car to enhance its appearance” instead of, “We create a whole new car”.
Technology is pretty amazing, so why isn’t the truth good enough?
I am the CEO and Founder of Athalonz, LLC., I am a founding partner of the patent boutique law firm of Garlick & Markison, I am a survivor of child abuse, and I am an inventor on over 300 patents.
Athalonz is a technology company based on Mesa, AZ. It develops and sells athletic footwear, which incorporates its patented technology that leverages the laws of physics to improve athletic performance. Website: athalonz.com
Garlick & Markison is a patent law boutique firm that assists clients in building a patent business within their business using proprietary tools and techniques. Website: texaspatents.com
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