Make way for the New – 7 Redundant Problem Solving Tools

(This post has been simultaneously published on ankit9doshi.com and insideiim.com)

My last post was on impatience and I thought I should continue in that zone. A big part of my impatience is with status quo. I understand change takes time but I have an issue with the fact that there is an inertia to think. Why don’t people think?

We have been trying to build a new component on insideiim.com for the last 2 months and there are lot of reasons to feel insecure. It’s not that we are creating anything earth shattering as far as technology is concerned but my worst nightmare is – What if our platform becomes irrelevant?

Things are changing rapidly. Every moment there is someone working on something game changing in some corner of the planet (some would say the universe. space travel is here!)

The combination of  my impatience and day dreaming have led to some observations which are the primary reason for my insecurity. Let me discuss 7 redundant problem solvers of our generation. It was inconceivable that they would be classified as such even 10 years back.

Some of them are inefficient. Some are plain unnecessary. It will still be some time before they are fully done away with. But they will surely go. It’s just that my impatience cannot stand the sight of many.

1) Pen : While there is so much emphasis on not printing paper, I wonder why the world spares the pen. There is an emotional bond between pens and humans. And that’s all that will remain few years from now. I am fully convinced there is no need for a pen once one can sign digitally everywhere. Signature is the single most important reason why one needs pens. Useless tool and needs to be done away with.  Sooner the better. Please never gift me a pen even if it is gold crusted with diamonds on it.

 

2) Watch : Even Sir Ken Robinson’s daughter realizes it.  At least for now, you can safely assume that one needs a communication device like the mobile phone at all times. Even the most basic phone in the world tells the correct time. Why strap an unnecessary piece of metal or leather or worse (plastic) on to your hands?  And if your argument is that it is now an ornament then what a waste of money. My prediction is that even the luxury watch makers will suffer soon because of lack of demand.

 

3) SMS : Not even 15 years old in India, nothing seems more unnecessary to me than the SMS. It is more expensive and has enormous limitations. With 2G and 3G in India and with smartphones available at as low as $60 (Rs.3000/-) you are a dinosaur if you still use SMS.  When you can get a 3G connection at $2 a month (Rs.99/-) where there is no character limit or limit on the number of messages to be sent, why would you still be spending Rs.200 a month on SMS? You can send files, photos, videos, emoticons etc. on software such as whatsapp. Even BBM (Blackberry messenger) is better than SMS :p

 

4)TV and Set Top boxes : In many ways I find this digitization drive quite pointless. First, almost every reasonably popular TV show is available for free online. Second, even if you don’t watch pirated stuff, the future is having TV channels streamed live on your Tablet/Mobile or even directly to the TV. Why then install a unnecessary device like the STB and pay anywhere between $200 to $1200 for it? I respect content creators and they must be paid. But I’d prefer paying a channel online which gives me access to its content on demand and ad-free.

 

5) Cheques/Checks : There is such a misplaced fear about internet banking that even seasoned  and intelligent businessman prefer using this extra ordinarily inefficient instrument of making payments. It costs millions everyday to process them. Parties receive money late and there is of course the usage of paper. It is something that needs to be done away with immediately. Tonight.

 

6) TV News Channels/Newspapers/Websites : If reporting news is all that you are offering me then I don’t have any time for you. I don’t need you even for celebrity interviews. All my reporting and interaction needs are met by two platforms – Twitter and Facebook. In fact, there isn’t a more efficient news reporting platform than twitter. I talk to Sachin and Anand Mahindra directly on it. Narendra Modi sits with Ajay Devgan and does a live broadcast on his own without a single journalist on youtube via hangout. Unless you have really good quality content, I am ditching you. Decline of the newspaper has already been documented enough but the thing is even websites of the newspapers aren’t really required. Ominous signs for the industry according to me.

 

7) Let me end with a slightly outrageous demand. Ban Spoons. The western world has taught us to eat with a spoon and nothing could be more redundant that that. Almost everything that you eat can be eaten with your hand.  Tonnes of metal across the world is wasted on spoons every single day. It needs to end. We must teach them to eat with the hand. And if your contention is that eating with your hands make them ‘dirty’, then why is it acceptable to be put in your mouth?

I thought of 7.  Are there more which you can think of? Let’s make a longer list! Let’s dispose them. Let’s make way for the new.

 

P.S – I expected a lot of people to disagree but I’m a little taken aback by the comments below. I do not want to enter the  ‘Who knows India better/How much interior India have you traveled contest’ . The post was about a mindset and a thought process. It was a peek into the future. A time when majority sections of the society will get internet connectivity and the affordability of certain essential devices will be even better. Things change much faster than you and I can possibly imagine.  The tone of the article is a result of a style of writing and no condescension was intended towards anyone.

 

– Ankit Doshi

Ankit Doshi is the Creator of  KiRa Education which runs insideiim.com. He is an alumnus of IIM Indore –  Class of 2011 and Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics,Mumbai –  Class of 2007.  He has worked with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and WhatsonIndia.com  in the past.

Read everything about IIM Indore here , Read posts by Ankit Doshi here

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Comments

13 comments

IIM I

My friend you have really not seen India. I will strongly recommend you to please have a trip in the interior parts of India instead of going to Goa. Your impatience will soon become silent.

P.S- Are you really an Alumnus of IIM I, you must have joined IIpM

Karan

Point no. 4 does not apply in the Indian context. Not only is high-speed internet penetration extremely low nor is the cost of set-top boxes anywhere close to the stated amount. Not to mention housewives not being enough internet savvy to go online and find n watch TV episodes.
The guy above – 'IIM I' seems to have it spot on btw – You clearly need to learn more about India.

Neeraj Pandey

"Growth for the Growth's sake is done by Cancer cells. :l "
This piece seems to have gone with the above philosophy. No doubt the author thought about the things he mentioned but came out too early with the stuff. More introspection was needed before plunging on cynicism for so much of our daily touchy-things. This is unreal foresight and probably Mr. Doshi will have grad kids before we really think of ditching things like watches, spoons, and pens(Come on man, we love them, don't we?).
"We can only embrace live in its present form, we better do".

amardip

most important thing in the world is TIME. Why has Ankit wasted my time through this absurd piece of trash? Before getting rid of things aforementioned we must get rid of strange thinkers/tinkers like the author.

Bageera8

i concur to that all the above 3 comments.Please don't lower the respect for the brand of institutes people have by posting such write ups.

Teradata

Ankit, do you really think life works in this fashion? And people such as you and me represent the world. Just because I bought a car, I cannot claim that a bike is now redundant. Most of the points that you've stated are similar to the argument I mentioned, and hence in my opinion are flawed.

Deepali Naair

Very interesting to see such strong reactions to the post. My observation is that both the pen n watch offer badge value so won’t go out of fashion. In fact multiple watch ownership is probably the trend. A device for future could be a smartphone in the size n shape of a wrist watch. And SMS is not gonna go out of use for the simple reason that governments and big corporations have invested heavily in technology platforms which use SMS as medium of communication for transactional confirmations and security transactions. I personally will never give up the spoon and the cheque book so they will stay till I am alive. Lol

Retard

Till now I was under the illusion that this site is for reporting MBA placements and some random gyan on MBA. Dont make it your personal blog.

arjwiz

I think you could have set the expectations with what you are writing, Ankit. These things may be somewhat true for a particular segment of people, but is likely to be far from all-encompassing.

I agree with cheques being redundant and therefore hopefully close to extinction. I live in France where it is common to pay your groceries, restaurant bills, electrician and just about anything with cheques. In fact, some institutions do not accept card but accept cheque. I find this over-reliance on paper extremely bizzare and unnecessary.

Similarly, I agree with physical newspapers becoming redundant, we all know that industry is dying a slow death. But then again, newspapers are redundant only for a section of people who can read their daily news on an online newsportal via a website or through their twitter/RSS feeds. I still prefer having a bbc.co.uk or ToI app to read my curated news instead of necessarily having to sift through my feeds.

For the other 5 items, I can’t see any reason to get rid of them any time soon.

* Pens – you don’t need pens only to sign documents. Business/financial people might. What about designers? Artists?

* Watches – you don’t always have a working mobile phone handy and even if you do, it may not be convenient/permitted to pull it out of your pocket. You’ve taken the CAT, Ankit, you know the importance of a watch! 🙂

* SMS – it probably will die some day, but in most developed nations where monthly plans offer unlimited free SMS, there is barely any distinction between SMS and other forms of internet chat, except that SMS doesn’t rely on data connectivity, which is a useful trait in many situations (running out of battery, traveling abroad, low connectivity, etc)

* TV channels – TV through cable might die some day far in the future, who knows. Currently there are hundreds of millions of people who use the TV as a primary source of video consumption, and that doesn’t look like changing any time soon. Not every one has access to high speed broadband, just like not everyone even has access to basic cable. The TV hardware, on the other hand, will probably evolve into more sophisticated connected TVs, but are by no means redundant. I’m not going to play my PS3 games on my iPad, am I?

* Spoons – I like spoons!