Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Price of Progress

In my home town, an old movie theatre was recently torn down. They're using the land to expand the local university...swapping a movie house for more capacity in higher education seems like a good thing. That's progress.

Still, I'm saddened by the change even though I haven't been back there in years. I have fond memories of that theatre. Going with my parents the first time I saw "Cool Hand Luke". Hanging with my junior high pals in the balcony on Saturday nights. Kissing my first real girlfriend while on a date in that theatre. Lots of memories and emotional attachments. In fact, if I'd had a vote in the matter, I'd have worked to preserve the place...benefits of progress notwithstanding. My attachments would have won out over my rational thinking. My world feels a little less secure today because that old theatre is gone...another thing I knew of first-hand no longer exists. But, that's sometimes the price of progress.

I wonder about the price of progress on the business world. Do some of us get attached to old business models or software applications? Do we resist change for the better for emotional reasons? Are we sometimes impediments to progress just because we don't want things to change? Pour out your hearts in the comments.


Empoprises said...

A movie theater in my hometown was torn down some time ago, and I can understand why. The theater was neither of the modern multiplex variety, nor of the elaborate variety - it was just a plain old theater with one screen, not even a true candidate for historic preservation.

While a point can certainly be made that we sometimes remain attached to old technologies, I can also make the opposing point that sometimes new technologies are adopted for no useful purpose. If software vendors had their way, we'd buy full upgrades once the new releases were available, but in the real world you have to go through a period of justification first. When you face the CEO, you have to explain to him why we need to upgrade to the latest Windows, or the latest Linux, or the latest Oracle, and why you need to do it now. Normally you don't need to do it now, which is why there are a ton of Oracle Database 10g packages out there, why Windows XP is so dominant, and even why Internet Explorer 6 is still all over the place.

Now people are going to argue that the older systems are unsafe and do not support the latest technologies, but if all you're doing is keeping track of addresses and phone numbers, does that really matter?

oraclenerd said...

We absolutely have emotional attachments to old software. It's familiar, it's comfortable...we know it.

When the latest greatest comes around we have to spend our already precious time learning new things. That's difficult. Sometimes it is just easiest to go with what we know.

I'm fortunate, or unfortunate, depending on how you look at it, to have moved around a lot as a kid. Change is my normal. I have no sentimental attachments to anything but my kids and my family. I'm trying to change that...swearing to stay in Tampa so that my children can feel that attachment to certain things...I do think I missed out...but it has served me well professionally (personality = outgoing, change = normal, etc).