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Paul Boag Posted by: Paul Boag On Wednesday, 15th October, 2008

A dedicated follower of fashion

My name is Paul and I am an addict. I lust after anything new and shiny. But is that really wrong?

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I cost Headscape a fortune. If its new and shiny I want it, and being an impetuous child I am I normally get it. Whether it is a new online service or the latest Macbook Pro, I spend company money like no tomorrow.

In many ways I feel guilty about this. However, should I really feel guilty? Is there value in my addiction?

Normally I try and justify my new purchases individually, arguing I need them to do my job. Although, these argument have some truth I think there are better justifications for my ‘habit’. In fact as I have been agonising over whether to purchase the new Macbook Pro, 3 things come to mind. The new and shiny…

  • Inspire me
  • Cause innovation
  • Give me confidence

Let me explain what I mean.

Inspiration

There is no doubt that the ‘new’ inspires me. It encourages me to look ahead and think about where design and technology is going. The ‘shiny’ also inspires me. It inspires me to produce something better. Something easier to use and more attractive to interact with. The joy I get from playing with a well designed gadget or a beautifully crafted web application, makes me want to give that experience to my users. Experiencing the exceptional work of others makes me want to be exceptional too.

The opposite is equally true. Experiencing the disappointment of using something that did not meet my expectations can inspire as well. Learning from their mistakes and a desire not to repeat them, are valuable experiences.

The new and shiny also inspire me to innovate.

Innovation

One of my most valuable roles within Headscape is to cause us to innovate. Whether it is introducing new approaches and techniques into the company or sitting with a client inspiring them about the potential of their site. This role is vital in the ever changing world of web design.

But how do you innovate? By being inspired by the new and shiny. I learn so much from good design wherever it is. For example the design principles of Apple has fundamentally altered my attitudes towards the web. From them I have learnt that simplicity is more important than features. Would I have learnt this from reading a book about Apple? Possibly. However, the experience of using Apple products everyday has helped drive that message home.

Equally, if I was a person always happy with what I have then I would never innovate. Innovation at its heart is about wanting more, wanting better. Without those of us who lust after the ‘new’, technology would never improve and design aesthetics would never change. It would be a dull stagnant world.

Confidence

This last point may cause you to laugh, but the ‘new and shiny’ gives me confidence. This happens in two ways.

First, it gives me confidence in my sales role. Gadgets impress. Sad, but true. Walk into a sales meeting with the latest gadget and people respond. I remember walking into a number of presentations back in the day when tablet PCs were the ‘in’ thing. Every time I would get comments and every time it put the presentation on the right foot. Am I saying we won work because of my gadget? Not at all. However, it did break the ice and start a conversation.

However, the more important way that the new and shiny give me confidence is through a knowledge that I am exposing myself to the cutting edge. I do not want either myself or my company to be in the long tale of web design. I want us to be at the forefront of our industry and to do that we need to be experiencing the forefront of design and technology.

So there you go. Am I putting forward a valid argument or deluding myself to justify my habit? You tell me.

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