It’s been almost six months since I set my wrist free. I don’t wear a watch any more. I stopped wearing it when my favourite watch stopped working and I was not able to find the time to get it repaired. A few weeks past and I realised that I was not missing it at all. The brutal truth was that my phone, my car and all my electronic devices kept time and I did not need a watch to tell me the time any more. When I started asking people why they wear a watch I was able to classify them as follows:
The creatures of habit
They still count on their watch for time and despite being aware of all the devices around them they are stuck in their time warp.
The fashion statement seekers
For them watches are a fashion accessory, a jewellery. They have a precious collection and a watch for them has surpassed the mere utility of time. It’s a statement for them.
The time travellers
This is the tribe that has over the last 12 months shifted to the wearable devices which are also doubling up as their fitness devices, communication portals, health accessory, gaming console, navigation instruments etc. The watch for them is the second screen that when paired with their phones fulfils their insatiable appetite for electronics and keeping up with the steep tech curve.
The ‘I give-up’ tribe
I belong to this gang of free spirited humans who have set their wrist free from the age old tradition of watches. For us watches were an item of utility which has been substituted by other devices.
What’s the moral of this story?
Beware of the power of substitution. Survival today is not about just being useful and being great at it. It’s about constantly keeping a watch on the human need that you are fulfilling and constantly evolving yourself to navigate the ever evolving human need landscape. Every industry today is facing this situation where it’s very moorings are being questioned. The answer somewhere lies in one device fulfilling multiple needs. The smart phone is a fantastic example. It’s no longer just a communication device. It’s your bank, your navigator, your gaming console, your time keeper, your office, your social companion and much more. The higher is your ability to fulfil different human needs, perhaps the lower are your chances of substitution. Watch out for this!