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The Guy's Horizon

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The Guy’s Horizon

This is where we look to the future and ponder what might be
in store for us. It could be this weekend, next month, a year from now or
twenty years down the road. Hopefully we'll still be around. (Knock on wood.)

Times are tough for many of us. But somehow certain people
are able to navigate through the littered landscape and thrive in this
recession(if you’re an optimist)….. in this depression(if you’re not). And some
companies are also using the down turn to launch and re-launch innovative new products.

Take Amazon for example. A guy leaves his high-powered job
on the east coast to work for an online bookstore on the west coast. He leaves
his corporate office to work in a cramped office space with few amenities.
This was Amazon at its origin. Now many years later the guys from Amazon are
trying to alter the course of how we read, just as Apple altered the course of
how we listen to music. And they seem to be doing it.

When the Kindle was first introduced we scoffed! Who’s going
to pay $400 for a device that only has one function? We couldn’t imagine who
would want to curl up in front of a fire, with a nice cup of tea and a Kindle.
Of course we still can’t understand why millions of people bought a Pet Rock
either.

But when a product alters the future, it also alters the
very essence of how it is consumed. For example, the days of owning
expensive home stereos are long gone. Yes, some of THE GUYS are audiophiles.
They talk about these speakers and that turntable. We pretend to listen, but we
don’t really understand or care. The ipod changed all that. (No, we haven’t
forgotten the Walkman, but it’s just not the same. Think
Suzanne Somers and ummm…..what’s her name?) Anyway, nowadays most people like
us, listen to music on the go: running, walking, working out, or in their car.
The actual quality of music has diminished with the MP3, but the quantity has
expanded ten fold. So our expectations have now changed. We expect to be able
access any music in seconds, anywhere on the planet. But we don’t care if it
was recorded in somebody’s basement. All we care about is getting it quickly
and cheaply. And who even has time to sit around and actually listen to music
wholly by itself? It’s been relegated to the background.

So the guys from Amazon thought, "If Apple can do it with
music why can’t we do it  with reading? Let us brainstorm.”  And they did. As they
held hands in a Quaker moment of silence, some were compelled to shout out
ideas. These were some of the obscenities that came out.

“The days of books are slowly headed for extinction.”

“Students today no longer take notes. They get their assignments at a place called
Moodle.”

“Plagiarism is par for the course with the enormous reach of
the web.”

“We must help people multi-task even more.”

“Let us create the Kindle.” 

And they rejoiced.

And now we say to ourselves, have they finally done it? Will the Kindle be our
great savior? The tool that will help us read even faster, so we can cram more and more stuff
into our day? Will it finally let us skim over all those detailed descriptions,
or the methodical developing of characters, or the slow and sensual unfolding
of the plot? Hooray for the Kindle!!! And we rejoiced. 

Or did we?

Yes, THE GUYS think the Kindle is quite keen. And it seems
it’s here to stay. But let’s not forget that faster is not always better. It’s
time once again, to savor the simple pleasures of life.

Like ice cream, even when you couldn't possibly eat another bite of dinner.

Or early morning quiet.

Or a great conversation that flows like improv.

Or watching your kids grow up.

Or dark chocolate, a great workout. Sex. (Yes we said it.)

Oh of course, let’s not be too hasty. We have one more thing to savor.

Curling up by the fire with a cup of sweet tea and a
great page-turner.

One that we can actually TURN the pages.

THE GUYS

PS. Shhhh…………..we can’t wait to download our first
book. That is, as soon as our Kindle arrives this weekend.

 

6 Comments on The Guy's Horizon

  1. scooter girl // July 10, 2009 at 6:13 am //

    Interesting & thought provoking, thanks!

  2. Lori F. // July 10, 2009 at 6:43 am //

    I wonder if Kindle will do to books what the iPod did to CDs — that is, render them completely unnecessary! I LOVE not having to plow through hundreds of CDs that take up tons of space, since I now have all my music in one little device that’s not much bigger than a credit card! But, I don’t think we’ll ever want to get rid of the many bookcases full of books that line our house — they’re too much fun to have around.

  3. Good post! Just reading it, as you submitted it to Metamorphosis.
    One thing that is important to note about your entry is that diminished quality of MP3s matters very, very little, and that fact has probably been in the technology’s favor, helping it spread rapidly over the past decade. The average adult cannot hear any differences in quality past 192kbps MP3s and better. In many cases, it’s even difficult to hear significant differences between 128kbps and 192kbps. This fact has meant that users don’t care about the diminished quality, because they actually have no simple way to measure (through hearing) that it even exists.
    I’m still not sure how the Kindle comes into such an equation. At its core, it is the ebook that is changing the way we read. As in the case of the iPod, the Kindle makes it more usable, but the content has been there for a while. I think we’re going to witness a lot of growing pains in the world of literature, because of it, though, just as we have in the world of music. Issues of who gets money, how and when.
    Anyway, nice post, but I think I’m looking for something a little more critically written for Metamorphosis.

  4. So, Kindle.
    If it gets more people reading books, then maybe it’s a good idea. The touching the book vs seeing the screen thing, I guess to each his own.
    However, I’m more curious about this: Will writers make less money when people buy a downloadable book vs a “real” book? Does anyone know? That would piss me off.

  5. The Guys // July 14, 2009 at 6:07 am //

    Thanks for your comment Amy. We haven’t found out how writers are getting paid with this “new” technology. Our best guess is that writers would get the squeeze, as artists generally do when the world of technology advances.
    If you find out, please enlighten us.
    THE GUYS

  6. Guess you’ve just heard that Amazon “refunded” customers for books they had no right to sell on Kindle… The controversey continues.

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