Riding the wave

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Technology can be thought of as a wave and its users like surfers riding atop its crest.

Once you’ve jumped onboard the wave everything looks to be normal and the way it is, though that’s merely a viewpoint. Those people left behind in the trough have a very different view. A good example might be early CD adopters back in the 80s and 90s. Those riding the wave were early adopters moving with what seemed like a natural evolution of audio reproduction. Those left behind with their tried and true vinyl systems were paddling through what had always been and felt like it might never change.

Today’s comparison of surfers vs. paddlers might be between the few who have adopted streaming and abandoned physical media. In the world of television viewing, it’s almost universal: the surfers have moved on. In audio playback, streaming is the anomaly. Is one better than the other?

Our opinions on technology are shaped by our position on the technology wave. Those atop the wave have a different set of results to compare against those that haven’t yet made the leap.

Both views are valid. One isn’t necessarily better than the other. In the case of streaming vs. physical media, each can boast the plus and minus benefits of their respective choices: the ease of managing your library at the touch of a finger vs. the better performance of the best transport mechanisms.

Over time, the new merges with the old and becomes the norm. The early adopting surfers move on to the next wave, the rest of us paddle through the changes as if they were always there.

Are you surfing or paddling?