I just watched the documentary It Might Get Loud which features Jack White of The White Stripes, The Edge of this little band called U2 and Jimmy Page of this painfully obscure group called Led Zeppelin. As you may have guessed, it’s a film about the love of guitars; specifically electric guitars. Now . . . it’s important to note that I’ve played my fair share of air guitar but have only picked up a acoustic guitar twice in my life; unless a tennis racquet counts. With that said, I do appreciate (maybe more than I should) good guitarists. The thing I enjoyed most about the documentary was how the artists viewed technology.
- Mr. White sees technology as something that doesn’t make things “better”. He appreciates the challenge it takes to get something to work. The beginning of the film shows him building a makeshift one string guitar by hammering a couple pieces of wood together and putting a Coke bottle under the string to pull it taut. He then plugs it into an amp and creates some amazing noise for the cows in the background. Awesome. Needless to say, Jack is someone who likes to pick a fight with technology.
- The Edge has embraced technology and uses it to create amazing “soundscapes”. (Not my term. Jimmy said this.) At one point he says that he drives himself crazy and others around him getting the sound that is in his head out and recorded as he hears it.
- Jimmy Page was simply excited to push the limits of what the technology could do. Having arrived much earlier to the game than the other two, he was more infatuated with the texture that could be created. Simply amazing to watch him play.
Seeing how these three thought of technology, it made wonder how businesses think of technology. Obviously, I share The Edge’s perspective; technology enables you to create something rich and deep. (You know, as I right his “name” again, it sounds completely ridiculous. And yes; I love U2. No worse than Bono I guess.) I don’t fight technology like Jack, but I know plenty of companies that do. With respect to Jimmy, I do appreciate what the technology can do and how far it has come.
When it comes to business, it’s important to get a good sense of how you think of and utilize technology. How do you think about Twitter and Facebook? About Foursquare? My recommendation (of course) is to think of it as Legos and see what can be built based on what you have. Remember, technology is an enabler. Please use it accordingly!