Do you see you have a “friend” that sees themselves as an X developer?
- I’m a Flash Developer…
- I’m a PHP Developer…
- I’m a ColdFusion Developer
- I’m an iOS Developer…
- I’m an Android Developer…
This statement usually indicates that this person will be very resistant to any sort of technical change you are driving that in any way competes with those technologies. Why? Because they have worked their technology into their identity.
When one makes a technology part of their identity instead of a tool they use, they see any competition, replacement, or massive alteration of it as an existential threat. Keep in mind, they see this as a threat to themselves, not just the technology. People get crazy irrational about existential threats. It’s not their fault. Fight or flight is built into us; carefully understand and weigh your options is not.
In the long run this is a bad thing.
- Viewing change as a threat makes you fight it.
- Viewing change as an obstacle makes you rise to overcome it.
- Viewing change as a challenge makes you expand to face it with pride.
- Viewing change as an opportunity makes you seek to capitalize on it.
The goal should be to move your reaction to further down this list.
Oh yeah, I know you don’t really have a “friend” with this problem.
What’s the Fix?
What do you do to fix working your technology into your identity?
Immediately start talking about yourself by what you do, not what you use:
- I’m an Interactive Developer (thanks Lee Brimelow)…
- I’m a Web Developer…
- I’m a Mobile Developer…
Even if you don’t believe it, even if it is uncomfortable, even if you have to ditch business cards and domains, do it. Identity is about perception, both yours and others. You won’t believe it till it’s rote for you. Others won’t believe it until you do.
Start learning about the competing technology. Figure out why people chose it over your technology. Figure out what parts of its philosophy you can absorb to make you better in whatever technology you use.
There are a lot of excuses you can use to prevent yourself from fixing this:
- This technology has a lot of life left in it.
- This technology is dominant, and will be forever.
- I’m too old to change.
- I don’t have time to change.
We are on the cusp of yet another major shift in computing, the post PC era. The post PC era has more significance than I can wrap my mind around, but one thing is glaringly obvious: The device, the browser, the platform is being swapped out much faster than in the past.
User adoption is a major brake to technology advancement. The 3 to 5 year cycle in swapping out technology is dropping. What will happen to the rate of technology change when people are swapping out their major information device every 2 years? Well it has the potential to be at least twice as fast, if not faster. Technologies are going to rise and fall faster. Those who see technologies are tools to be swapped will fare better than those who think they are their technology.