In Defense of ‘1.0’ Technologies

Blue Vintage Phone

You are likely hearing people using ‘2.0’ as a suffix these days for anything that’s supposed to be new and improved. The term stems from the advent of web 2.0, representing more functionality and interactivity than the original ‘1.0 version’ of applications on the internet. The term is used to signify anything that is done using new web tools to improve users’ experiences or facilitate interactions between them. As we’ve seen with anything new, however, there is a lot of hype initially, and eventually the idea or technology realizes its potential. We should remember that there is still many reasons to use traditional methods to contact or meet people.

Here is a recent example. Around the same time I got an email and a phone call from two people who had almost identical requests from me regarding a partnership. I flagged the email, never got back to it, and meanwhile have met twice with the person who called me. I mentioned this to the person who called me and she said that she looked over my site, thought about it, and decided a phone call was the best way to achieve her goal. And she was right–we will likely work together since she decided to pick up the phone rather than email me.

So many people these days rely too much on 2.0 technologies to make things easy. Look people up, send an email, and wait. I am evaluating some software related to social media right now and have a few emails waiting in my inbox that I haven’t responded to. The benefit of a phone call? The account manager would have a greater chance of getting me to make a decision, and also get some feedback in the process.

I love the serendipity and community of web 2.0 and social media, but I continue to find a lot of value from ‘1.0 technologies’ such as actual events. Last week at a conference I reconnected with a woman who had attended an event I organized more than a year ago, and now we have another opportunity to work together. If I had figured this out, and sent her an email about it, do you think that would have been as effective as talking with her? Probably not.

2.0 technologies include blogs, social networks, and twitter, and they are amazing and I think they certainly deserve some hype. However, we must remember that they are merely tools which we must use in combination with others to achieve our goals. In the end, people are wading through a sea of emails–why not be ‘different’ and call them or attend an event? As most of us in biotech have a science background, we can always benefit from honing our networking and conversational skills. You should make sure your organization isn’t too caught up in 2.0 technologies, or even tools such as email, because they are new or convenient. Meeting your business development, marketing, or sales objectives means stepping back and using the proper tools, old or new.

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  1. The problem with the phone is we keep thinking of it as a 19th century device. It’s really a radical piece of technology – all it needs is a new name. Let’s start calling it real-time voice chat.

  2. ‘Tis funny but I’m the other way round… I respond more often to emails and forget to return voice mails. My smart clients are the ones who SMS or email me for a fast response.

    I guess the conclusion is that different people respond in different ways, so we shouldn’t assume that everyone likes the telephone. Some of us avoid it like the plague.

  3. Totally agree with you. A phone call does seem more personal, but I’m with MaverickNY on the voice mail. Hate it! There was a recent NPR story about this, too. 30% of voice mail goes unchecked for up to 7 days. I don’t know what the comparable stats are for email, but I do appreciate it when someone doesn’t leave a voice mail but sends a text/email instead. It’s much easier to check/skim/delete text than voice mail because you don’t have all the prompts and your don’t have to listen to someone carry on, and the info is easily accessible when I need to get back to it.

  4. I liked the idea in this article of not forgetting the value of a phone call. Indeed, several times during busy hours in the day a phone call could be seen as an irritation, however what remains in the memory for long is the interaction with other party over the phone and not the emails.

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