“There’s an element of trust required that there is just no getting around. Companies have to trust somebody. They trust their accountants, their lawyers, the phone company to transmit their phone calls, and at some point they will become more & more comfortable with companies holding their data on their servers.”
Those words were spoken by Dave Gerard, president of Google Enterprise which sells GoogleApps to businesses.
I saw it on a tv show many months back. But it struck me as such an incredible statement that I committed it to memory. I think we’re seeing this occur in our own day, for so many reasons. I consider it the “Inevitability of Trust,” and I think there’s a large degree of technological evolution to it. Google is pushing things so far that even if it pulls back, it has redefined the horizon.
Another remarkable thing to me is a recent study which showed that the “smarter and more intuitive” software gets, the dumber the user gets. Even when not using the software! Software which is clunky to use, difficult and unhelpful forces the user to engage themselves on a deep level. Initially, the users of this kind of software take a lot longer to accomplish their tasks. But after awhile, a point is reached where they surpass the users of the same software product but which has been “polished up” with all sorts of helpful things. It was discovered that the reason is that the brains of the users of ‘difficult, unintuitive software’ kick into high gear, while the other groups’ brains start doing what brains do best - get really lazy.
So with software getting so ridiculously simple to use, relatively speaking, you now have people who lack the traditional deep, vertical experience and education capable of performing really complex tasks who actually want to do things once relegated only to the expert.
I liken this path to that of tax preparation. In the beginning you had complex tax forms and the specialists (accountants) to help out. Then along came software, but initially it was still complex, so the accountants were the ones to use the software. Now the software is so easy to use, the regular joe is doing it for himself. Accountants are still needed, to a degree, but their role has been reduced and redefined.
People are fond of saying, “if you haven’t cut your teeth on X, you don’t belong using Toad,” as though there are some ancient rites of passage that we’ve all had to go through that we want everyone else to experience or else they aren’t worthy. I think it’s all rather silly and egotistical. I don’t see the earth spinning out of its orbit, I see less experienced users demanding that Toad become ever simpler to use, and a willing band of developers ready to accommodate them, which will, in turn, make them dumber.