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Neale Martin on Next Generation Technologies

Martin: Okay, yeah. So, the idea behind, you know, new technologies really needs to be much more about understanding, you know, what is the job you’re trying to get done. How does the new technology help me do a job better? You know, why is a flat-panel television better than a cathode ray tube? You know, what is that, you know, if you live in an apartment in New York City, it’s clearly better ‘cause you can hang it on the wall. It doesn’t take up space. The space as a premium [is huge], just the quality of the picture better. For some thing it’s better, for some thing it’s worse. What becomes really interesting about it is that it becomes, you know, a new methodology for delivering video across or at different dimensions, and it’s the same thing with high definition and, you know, the same thing with, you know, is it, you know, 1080p or 1080i or, you know, 720 whatever. And for most people, their eyes just glazed over and they fall asleep on their chair as you try to explain it to them. And so, we’ll be on the hype of new technology and into the practicality of it. It really is I’ve got to think through this process of how do I make it easy for the habitual mind to master. So the more intuitive it is, that the easier it is to learn, the faster somebody will grasp it. Do you remember how hard it was to learn how to type? Remember when you used to type? You know, it would like you’d look at the keys and you go very slow, because you’re trying to drive with your conscious mind. You are consciously looking at. Overtime, you actually train your unconscious mind, so now you think, you type, the fingers go exactly where they’re supposed to. You can go 60, 70, 80 words a minute because the unconscious brain is the part that’s really doing that. And that’s what I really am trying to get across to a lot of my high technology companies is to really understand that for this product to be successful it must be mastered by the unconscious mind. So, when BMW introduced the iDrive in 2002, it was horrible because it required the conscious brain to attend to something which should have been designed for the unconscious brain. So, the original user interface for the iDrive, you had a wheel that access eight different menus, [nested] menus. So, imagine driving the car 70 miles per hour and having to navigate across all of these different menus, you know, [that it has become], you know, not just North, East, South, West, but Northwest, Southeast, etc. And then, from there you’d have to click on something to access another menu. And so, the idea that, you know, people want more technology is, I think, a very false assumption. Now, it doesn’t mean I’m necessarily against it. What we have to recognize is for them to adapt a new technology, they have to master with their unconscious mind. So, when, you know, when you look at the remote control for your entertainment center, I should say the remote controls for your entertainment center, how many do you have? Four, five, six. They’re all laid out differently. They all are assigning different buttons to different functions and there’s some similarity, you know, the arrow forward is play and the two lines is pause and the block is stop, not necessarily unintuitive but we’ve gotten used to those, but all the other kind of functionalities, and these buttons are not similar. So, it’s very hard because we haven’t standardize like we have with the typewriter, it’s very, very hard to develop, you know, that habitual mastery of those devices, and they [bridge] a tremendous amount of frustration.\r\n\r\nQuestion: What technology maximizes the unconscious mind?\r\n\r\nMartin: Well, I think the ultimate example is the iPod and iTunes, and I say this because what Apple did, they didn’t invent the technology, they didn’t invent the MP3 player, they didn’t invent, you know, that portable device, but what they did was to create an intuitive interface that allowed for rapid mastery of the unconscious mind both from the iTunes perspective and then from the iPod. And this is so important for us to realize, because being able to put 10,000 songs on a little device I can set in my pocket is not really advantageous if I can access the songs I want. If I, you know, it’s the whole idea of the playlist, they have a whole idea. And the reason why I like to cite this example is because it changed our music habit, it changed the way we listen to music. I’m old enough to remember going from albums to, yes, A tracks, you know, to cassettes, to CDs, and this is so fundamentally different because everyone of those things basically had a serving size of music, which was, you know, 8 to 12 songs. And, you know, sometimes you get a double album, okay, it’s two albums, you know, it’s still that’s the serving size. And now, that seems ridiculous, the idea that I would think in terms of 8 songs or 10 songs, you know, I think in terms of hundreds of songs. And for that habit to have occurred, we have to understand that our entire relationship to music has changed across the world. I mean, that is a success which is so unparalleled and it’s something that I really want all companies to take a step back and realize that this is why it’s so important at the front-end to realize you must design for the unconscious mind. You must design for something that I can think consciously about what I wanted to do, but my unconscious mind is driving the car.

Neal Martin mentions some of his tech favorites.

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