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Friction as a form of privilege

Whenever there is a friction in a process, you need an expert to get things done. Editing digital photos or setting up a smartphone is an expert-intensive thing. There is a famous quote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. It is very true. Apart from being magical, it makes it available for more people. Instagram or an iPad can make a grandma to share beautifully retouched pictures.

I had a realisation of this today after I experienced Apple’s AirPods. Give this a thought. Connecting with a bluetooth earphone was a friction-filled process. First, you need to pair it (which as a process will simply fail a grandma’s test). Then you need to switch it on. You need to remember to charge it frequently. If you miss any of these steps, your intent to do any action with that earphone will quickly steam down. Your regular wired earphones always become your go-to device. Because of that you cannot for a walk or move around with ease. To use a bluetooth earphone, you need to be a little bit tech-savvy.

AirPod really smashes these assumptions and makes it a breeze to use. IT REALLY IS MAGIC. It is so simple to pair. Very easy to connect and know the battery status. It really is a delight to use.

Once a technology or product reaches that magic threshold it explodes in growth. Cost of it comes down. Everybody gets access to it.

What are things (product / technology / process) you feel are still in the pre-magic realm for you?

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