Nov 2, 2008
Valerie Hayworth

Technophobia: From King Ludd to Hal the IT Admin

Last Monday it suddenly struck me: Technology (really) creates antagonism. New technologies that emerge and sweep aside old practices are initially resisted and eventually, unavoidably, adopted. In business theory it’s called the product life cycle, where 2.5% of the potential market are deemed “early adopters” and love the new tech. Eventually the rest of the market follows (defined in biz theory as Laggards).

King Ludd
Ned Ludd in Action

The most interesting case of this is, of course, “King” Ludd the fictitious leader of the Luddite movement that  objected to the

new wide-framed automated looms that could be operated by cheap, relatively unskilled labour, resulting in the loss of jobs for many skilled textile workers“.

The Luddite movement resorted to sabotage and grew so strong during the 19th century that it even clashed with, but was eventually routed by, the British Army. Progress won, tears were shed, and humanity marched on.

This is a major issue for any new technology – how do we reel in the “early adopters” and route the Luddites? It’s a challenge, no doubt. The key, of course, to avoid massive resistance, is by not antagonizing anyone but by directly improving people’s lives.

Let’s meet Hal the IT administrator, I came across this amusing YouTube video from Symantec a while ago. The video makes a great point of a real professional who suffers the pain of having to go through a manual repair process of a server.

Hal illustrates a real pain, he hates this part of his job and would love to have it automated. Sure he does, right? Wrong! Over the past months (and particularly since Reimage’s version 1182) I have heard from countless PC repair professionals that Reimage: (a) makes their PC software repair process so much easier (b) saves them time (c) gets the job done, while in the past they would have reinstalled the OS, erasing all data and applications. “Oh” I keep asking, “when can we expect you guys to to subscribe then?”, “don’t know” is not an uncommon reply. Amazingly, many won’t subscribe, despite admitting to Reimage’s benefits. One technician said: “The better you guys get, the more inclined my boss will be to fire me“.

So that’s what it boils down to: exposing inefficiency in the system. It’s true, Reimage does not have a 100% run rate (nor does it plan to), but this runs deeper. It is, in essence, a conflict between the modern and the pre-modern (a concept odd to apply to Software repair, but valid none-the-less). It actually deals with the PC repair industry’s (in) ability to look boldly ahead and realize that from now on it is the job of machines to repair their kin and that humans, in this occasion, are irrelevant.

Rise of The Machines. Not.

This, however, does not in anyway mark the end of the PC repair profession. Far from it.  Indeed, PC repair professionals will always have the important challange of setting up networks, troubleshooting, repairing hardware and most importantly providing the priceless human interaction we all cannot live without. Customers will always pay more for a professional to help them with descisions, dillemas, problems and queries. Reimage fits this vision perfectly. We repair the software while you, the PC repair professional, do so with your own logo keeping your customer unaware of any third party application. Everyone wins.

3 Comments

  • Some tech-free celebs are recovering tech addicts. Tyra Banks told New York Times Magazine that her BlackBerry habit caused her physical pain. She has since gone low-tech and jots her thoughts in a notebook.
    Technophobia, of course, extends far beyond cell phones.

  • I found your topic “The Reimage Blog » Blog Archive » Technophobia: From King Ludd to Hal the IT Admin” when i was searching for labour market and it is really intresting for me. If its OK for you i would like to translate your topic and post it on my german blog about labour market. I link back to your topic of course!

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