In Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point (which is excellent, by the way), he details how new trends catch on, describing the key players and various stages. For instance, there are some people who must have the latest innovations; it is often a source of pride for them. They deal with the early kinks and bugs, sacrificing stability for novelty. These are the "early adopters."
I am not an early adopter. In fact I'm not sure I'm even an adopter. I waged a dying war against owning a cellphone until 2006, when I was 23 -- if anyone reading this held out longer than that, I'd love to hear about it. Why the anti-cellphone sentiments, you ask? Three reasons: 1. The thought of people being able to get ahold of me whenever they wanted scared me. 2. I liked spending time by myself just thinking, not talking. 3. I liked telling those hyper-aggressive cellphone salesmen at mall kiosks that I didn't own/want a phone -- the incredulous looks on their faces were priceless.
In 2003, during my first semester back at BYU after my mission, as I walked across campus, some dude handed me a flyer for a bit of newfangled technology. It was for some music player that could hold a bunch of songs, and it had the ridiculous name, iPod. Like something named iPod would ever sell! Silly Apple. "No wonder your company went to the dogs!" I thought. Five years later, I own two of the 170 million of these babies that Apple has sold. Not coincidentally, I decided not to go after an MBA....
Technology isn't the only arena in which I play a little slower than the rest, however. A few months ago, I was in the library studying for an anatomy test with some friends. I don't usually listen to music while studying, but that day, I couldn't help but listen to the Justin Timberlake song I had just downloaded. I leaned over to one of my friends and told her to listen in with one of my earbuds. She listened for about 10 seconds and then said, "Yeah, I listened to that song a lot when it came out a year and half ago." Zing. She just laughed.
Sifting through my memories, I have come to realize that my late-adopter ways began in childhood. When I was in third grade, if you didn't have Girbauds, you were not cool. I didn't even know how to pronounce this, and I certainly didn't own any. A couple years go by, I'm in seventh grade, and I finally decide to "cave" and get some of these hot French jeans. As no doubt all of you know, Girbauds by this time had gone the way of Milli Vanilli and New Kids--if you had Girbauds, you were not cool. Shoot! Luckily for me, fashion is cyclical, and if I could just fit into these again, I'm sure I'd be the man one of these years.
So now here I am about to start my third year of medical school and my first clinical rotations. Many of my classmates are excited about the upcoming release of the 3G iPhone, as they plan to make good use of its no-doubt stellar features on the wards. Me, I don't even know what 3G stands for. Is that how many grand it costs? Is it how I'm supposed to feel if I don't buy one (Grim, Guilty, and Gutless)? Does one of the G's stand for Girbaud?
Until such time as mandated otherwise, I'll be taking notes and looking up drugs the way our forefathers intended--in a book. And I'll be doing it wearing some pleated slacks, which are due for a comeback, because like JT sang that day in the library, what goes around comes back around.
3 months ago