Friday, April 01, 2016

Looking for Slack

Here's the thing.  I think that most -- off the cuff, lets say 70% - of new technology is crap.  I'm talking about personal technology.  Who cares if the new iPhone is .00017 millimeters thinner?  Who cares if it can give GPS directions and offer short cuts based on an average of the last twenty-seven people who went down this particular road?

But some of it, I hear about, and I think Really?  Thats a ... a thing?

I heard the other day about an application (I'm sorry, I just hate the word app) called Slack, which apparently can be used in multiple marvelous ways, some of which are actually useful, like doing a job search.  According to the gasping-for-air-they're-so-excited article in Fast Company (which I like but don't normally read unless I'm over at the college in their library cafe, having a not - bad - and - decently- priced mocha coffee), Slack is a wonderful little communications tool that people use to know whats up in their field, and to link their own abilities and desires with the jobs that are available (and I gather available is a nebulous concept).   I must admit, I was impressed by what I read.

So I sent a note to four French early-twenties people I know, none of whom are tech wizards, asking if they use anything like that to become aware of jobs.  One said no, I wrote to the hotel and asked if I could work there, and I had an interview and they hired me.  One said I went to the offices of this company and asked what they had available and said I would do anything they needed, just to get my foot in the door.  One said I really don't know, I just kind of lucked into this job.  And the fourth didn't reply.

So what I think is:  things like Slack (and its equally clearly named brethren, all of which will be joyously proclaimed this year and derided as old, fat, and slow next year (or perhaps later this year) are useful.  But only for a subset of people.  And those people look remarkably like the character profile of the people who build such things.

Where's the Slack for the masses, to make their lives better?  People who don't want to be cutting edge, but do want solid, sustainable value in the software they buy?  The people who buy a car and keep it for seven, eight, nine years, or more?  Who buy shirts from Lands End, but keep them for years?  Where's their Slack?


Tabor said...

Kids introduced me to Waze a few weeks ago for our drive back from South Carolina. Was helpful but I kept wondering how careful I would have to be about ID as I had part of my name and if there was a stalker this might be the perfect app!

Cerulean Bill said...

We have used Waze. Once or twice it was useful, but most times we thought Traffic, it is what it is, knowing whats coming doesn't improve my life . I have heard Waze described as a predecessor to vehicle-to-vehicle communications, usually so described by people who like to use phrases like 'the Internet of things'. Yeah, great.