Late Technology Adopters

Technology Adoption Curve
Something amazing happened across the world last week. It has been happening for years, and the impact is really quite profound. Grandparents and Great Grandparents are getting laptops and iPads for Christmas. It is changing the world in the most profound way.

This group represents the last horizon for growth in technology adoption. Depending on the person people over 65 today are either in the late majority or laggards.

I watched this video a couple of times, because it is real - and cements the role that technology plays in our lives - everyone's life today.

The first thing you will see in the video is that this is the BIG Gift for Grandma. The entire family was in on it. 

Take a look at the couch. This event is at her daughters house, I presume. The child is a Techie, or at least a Facebook fan. There is an embroidered Facebook Pillow with a Like button on the couch. Couture!

As she opens the package, tears of joy stream from her eyes. This gift has extreme meaning for her, and she is expressing upmost gratitude to her loving family. The laptop has the significance of indoor plumbing, or a gas stove. It represents a big step from poverty to luxury, or ignorance to intelligence.  Having a laptop is a status measure among her peers.

A family member chimes in "We got her an external hard drive so we can store thousands of hours of movies on it for her."

There is instant talk of Accessories and Lifestyle decisions. One family member suggests a Hello Kitty carry case. Grandma instantly recalls a case she owns (practical) that may work. She is thinking fashion and how she will integrate this into her attire. Her life image is changing.

Dell should be happy. There is good brand representation of the logo in the video, and even a home run testimonial as one daughter says "I have a Dell, I have had it for three years and not had any problems with it." Then, under her breath "except for battery life, but that is probably my fault."

As she opens the box and pulls out the computer, the tears return. She is having a hard time composing herself. She has her companion dog sleeping next to her. Notice how the dog scampers off when she pulls the computer out of the box. The dog is definitely going to play second fiddle to the computer now.

Notice what happens to the instructions. They are tossed to the side. At least we know that the stereotype of men not reading the instructions is not lost on older women. They have adapted the trait. If anyone expects instructions to be read - think again.

Alas, within 60 seconds, the icon is revealed - "It is shiny and beautiful," she says. Tears return to her eyes.

The camera daughter who purchased the item admits that there was "great emotional stress in buying a Windows computer." A glimpse into the ever requisite debate of Mac vs. PC.  I presume that the children discussed it, and the majority overruled the minority.

"It is the most beautiful thing,"she repeats tearfully. Then the crowning moment: "I will have to Tweet or Facebook that," she declares. She is hanging with the cool kids now - and is joining the social media revolution.

Enjoy the video - watch it a few times.


  1. Hi Victor,

    I am the video taker in this case. I appreciate you appreciation! - I video-ed it and put it up so my sister who lives overseas could experience the moment. I get a bit teary thinking about it still ;-) We were just very pleased to get mum something we know she will enjoy every day.

    However, I'll flesh out the back story a bit because our Mum defies the stereotypes in this instance. Mum is not a "late adopter" and certainly not a laggard in the technology stakes and not is this her first computer. In fact Mum is what we lovingly call a nerd. She is a sci fi/fantasy fanatic, a Star Trek fan for 40 years, and a lover of technology and gadgets. She has had home computers since the 1990s, for her small business first and then for home when she retired, and in fact for many years has had a volunteer business tutoring other older people in her town in using their computers. She has had her own blog, twitter and facebook (the Facebook cushion is hers, I bought it for her for xmas) for ages.

    However, her current machine is ageing -- she upgraded the RAM herself (see? nerd!) to keep it going but it's really reached the end of its life. Being on a fixed income though couldn't just go out an buy a new one. After dropping hints about "a contribution" towards a new one her daughters (who are all techie nerds too, following her lead) just went ahead and bought it outright for her. Because we know how much her computer means to her and how much she enjoys the online life.

    I admit I am the Mac obsessive in the family, I happily went with the Dell to fit in with all her existing software etc but I still have hopes of luring her over the my side in the long term. We did joke people usually only burst into tears over Apple products, not Dell so they should sign her up to an advertising contract ;-)

  2. Hi

    As the daughter in the background (I had the helpful hints about the Hello Kitty case), this was certainly a very interesting blog post to read. Its kinda cool to be the one being deconstructed!

    What Amanda says about my mum being an early adopter is very true - she has always been very brave and clever in pushing the limits of her avail tech (a true daughter of Scotty!) - even though she says its all for FB games, I know that she loves the complexity and trickiness of it all. I think if Mum had been born a generation later, she would have been an engineer for sure.

    That for me is the real story here - and I agree with the analogy of the gas stove / the ability of technology to remake lives. Computers and the interweb continue to open up opportunities and vast horizons for many people... even those who already have the skills to 'throw away the instruction book'.

    PS - lolz, the companion dog is also mine... Ludo P. Ludo is a media star at last

  3. Hi

    Figured I would throw my 2 cents in. I'm Coz, the one whose blog you found with the vid.
    This was not my first Xmas overseas but definitely the most homesick inducing one. Seeing Mum get the laptop made my day. Knowing it's a real and important part of her life to be connected, I'm so happy we could do it. As my sisters said Mum is above the curve with her tech knowledge and always encouraged us to learn and experiment.

  4. I love you guys! Thanks for commenting. Clearly I did not have any background.

    You may find this interesting. I set up this blog because I am a technology consultant and wanted see how easy it was to set up a Blogger blog (and it is super easy). We have 2 business blogs, a wordpress blog - and we publish I am doing a story on how easy it is to build a website.

    After I built my site, I hit next - and your site appeared. I loved the video. We gave our mother-in-law (age 80) an iPad for Christmas last year. She had a similar reaction - but in her case - she had never touched a computer.

    By the way - WE are MACs. Thanks for the video - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  5. Hey who needs background? ;) Blogger is way easy. I set my blog my knowing I was moving countries so people back home could see my amazing expat adventures. I have not changed it since 2007 cause it wants to erase stuff and I'm not sure how to transfer it, so it stays that way. I know it's not hard to figure out but works.
    I have hit the Next button a few times it can be interesting or not.
    Glad you Grandma liked the iPad.
    Happy new year


Post a Comment

Thanks a lot for leaving a comment. My phone number is 805-709-6696 if you have any questions.

Popular Posts