The Axiom of Obsolescence

11th January 2018 By 0 Comments

Do you own a smartphone?

The answer was probably yes.

Do you own two or more smartphones?

Again, many will answer yes.

And do you change your smartphone every year, or at least every two years?


It’s funny looking at those questions, because a few years ago, well a proper few years ago actually – sometime I knew in the mid to late nineties, when shops like Carphone Warehouse had just a handful of outlets in the South of England, was doing his research as to which industry to get into for his next entrepreneurial stint.

He liked the mobile industry a lot, but concluded wholeheartedly that it had become saturated and that most people who were going to buy a mobile had already done so – and therefore it didn’t offer him much scope or opportunity.

He gracefully declined to join the mobile phone industry, opting instead to sell second hand cars and open a small clothes shop.

Meanwhile, the saturated, not much room for growth, mobile phone industry saw Charles Dunstone and his crew expand to become a worldwide name in mobile, not to mention Charlie boy copping a knighthood and £1.2 Billion quid into the bargain!

Not bad for a former NEC salesman who began slinging mobiles from a rented flat in Marylebone.


Anyhow, this smartphone malarkey has clearly gone bonkers and will go a lot more bonkers for sure, as we become more app reliant.

The solution to just about anything lies in the arse pocket of your preferred brand of jeans – and Google just became the all seeing, all knowing omnipotent God of everything.

I was asking myself, just how many products and services has the phone of today replaced?

Start with the pocket calculator, torch and alarm clock, and then just keep going…

If you bothered to carry this exercise out, I can promise you it’s going to be a long task and the list will be virtually never ending.

And your point is Steve?

Thanks for asking.

If we stopped to compare the smartphone to ourselves – how many skills, jobs, disciplines and roles previously carried out by us mere mortals have been partially or fully replaced by technology?

And with the fast moving onset of AI I’m seeing bandied about all over the web, how much more ‘human obsolescence’ is coming our way?

Make no mistake, it’s coming and much faster than you may imagine.

You can view this stuff positively or otherwise, or you can ignore it, but it is not going away.

I have an old friend who still uses a Nokia 6310 mobile phone, arguably the best mobile telephone ever made – as a telephone that is.

This friend just looks at me with my gadgets when I show him stuff with both awe and incredulity.

He’s a little hard up, so as a long-standing mate I offered to buy him an IPhone once – it was a favor I didn’t need to carry out – sadly, he politely declined, extolling the virtues of the former Nokia flagship and rambling on about times gone by etc…

I say sadly, because this chap is lost somewhere between the late nineties and 2003, and like so many people born in either the 60’s or 70’s, he’s quietly wondering to himself, “what the hell happened?”

Amazingly – he’s exactly the same age as Charlie boy!

Because things are moving faster than we’d ever have imagined.

So my point could be that it’s not the smartphone, the tech, or the AI that makes us become obsolete – it’s us, or rather our desire to stay in the present or worse still, in the past – it’s a fine line my friends.

So I say, embrace and evolve…