Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Year of the Gadget

The headline in the business section of the SF Chronicle on the day before opening day of CES in January referred to this year’s show as the “Gadget Show”. “Gadgets?” I thought to myself, “ Hey, we put a lot of work, science and care into our stuff. Gadgets? We don’t make no stinkin’ gadgets.” As I prepared to verbally body-slam this denigration, I thought, maybe I should look up the meaning of the word before pulling the trigger.

“Gadget (noun): A device or control that is very useful for a particular job.”

Hmmm, maybe the reference was not so far off the mark after all. This definition came from the dictionary app in my IPhone, a gadget if there ever was one. On to Wikipedia…

“A gadget is a small technological object (such as a device or an appliance) that has a particular function, but is often thought of as a novelty. Gadgets are invariably considered to be more unusually or cleverly designed than normal technological objects at the time of their invention.”

Now I always had the impression that “gadget” was kind of a negative term, superficial somehow, you know like the Popeil Pocket Fisherman tm. As I read further it seems that the word gadget is synonymous with invention. Some gadgets were good, some comic and some extraordinary. According to Wikipedia, the atomic bomb was referred to by some members of the Manhatten Project as “the gadget”. Whoa!

So in retrospect, I guess the headline was correct. Its what we do in this business invent and produce gadgets. Gadgets have a purpose, whether that’s to make us laugh (as in chattering teeth), or be amazed by little, tiny powered speakers that go to +11. Each has an application for which it was designed. The design can be extraordinary giving it the “legs” to last for years, or it can be a fad with the half-life of a single holiday season.

What always makes a good product in our opinion is an application-based design filling a real world need. So rather than get all serious and tell you we’ll soon have new models that “advance the state of the art”, I think we’ll just cop to the fact that we have some cool gadgets coming down the road.

1 comment:

DarkSock said...

I peed in a horse once.