One of the biggest challenges we face in technology today is technologists tend to focus on the what or the how, and not the why. Or, put another way: we focus on the tech not the touch.
What is this “touch” we mention? Some call it playing politics; we like to call it customer attentiveness.
Tech vs. Touch
Early 20th Century inventor Buckminster Fuller once said, “Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons.” There are many ways to interpret this quote, but we’d like to share our view. Technologists focus on the tech itself, not the, “How do we get there?” nor the outcome the technology is supposed to drive.
Does it matter? Absolutely. Technology for the sake of technology is just an academic pursuit. Which is fine if you’re in the university setting, not so fine if you’re at a company trying to drive better results. And if we arrive at our destination while burning bridges, we’ll never get a chance to create again. Without considering the human element (or the touch), the technology’s (and technologist’s) true value will never be achieved.
Tech vs. Touch Part 2
The darker side to focusing on only the tech is this approach can alienate those around us. When we don’t understand the drivers or motivations our peers have, we create friction (albeit unintentionally). So much of the value we can offer is in the intangible parts of our work. The touch. How we treat our team, our clients, and our partners. Our approach and attitude adds value.
When we start with yes instead of no, we enhance our value. When we help the marketing team understand the technology better, we create allies. By helping our colleagues and partners through touch and not just tech, we improve their position with their supervisors and the end result is we improve our value.
Here’s the real truth: too many technologists can do the technology. Even if you’re the best and smartest in your field, you’re only incrementally better than the next great technologist (who is only incrementally better than the next, and so on).
What’s more, there’s a law of diminishing returns on how perfect the technology is. Once it gets to a certain point, the incremental improvements are all but invisible to anyone but another technologist. However, when your clients feel listened to, when you focus on their needs, and when you incorporate touch, your value increases exponentially!
What to Do
We need to understand that focusing 100% on the technology will never produce the value we’re looking to drive. Will it produce a result? Sure. But our job in technology isn’t just to create widgets. It’s to create widgets that add exponential value to the entire ecosystem– from customer, to partners, to our own skill set. The only way to add value across all components in the ecosystem is to combine a tech + touch approach. And to combine it in a ratio that makes sense.