January, 2007
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

How Fast is Fast Enough?


Is the lightning fast development of computing technology stressing you out? Are you afraid that you’ll never make the right purchasing decision? And, that no matter what you buy, it will become obsolete in a matter of months?

Well, you’re not alone! But, maybe I can help you feel a little bit better.

The upside of today’s fast paced technology innovation is that you can buy much more functionality today, than you could yesterday; or at least a few months ago.

The downside of this is that whatever state-of-the-art technology you buy today will not be the latest and greatest for long. You can’t have it both ways.

However, what this simple fact lacks is proper perspective, so let me provide some.

First of all, you don’t really need to pay for what is often called the “bleeding edge” of technology to become both more effective and productive. In fact, I know of few business people who really “need” to buy anything close to the most powerful technology available.

Using notebook computers as an example, (though we could be talking about any technology) any Pentium class machine manufactured within the last two years is more than adequate for the vast majority of computer users.

If you want to buy a faster machine, and can afford it, fine. But don’t feel as though you have to purchase the latest processor to work efficiently. Most of your business class software doesn’t really tax a Pentium class machine’s capabilities. Look at it this way: few drivers really need a Porsche, and most people who do buy them can’t often drive any faster than the rest of us.

The second thing you need to consider is that technical specs aren’t always what they seem. For example, recent testing by CFG Labs demonstrated that in the real world, the difference in overall notebook performance between one chip and another that claimed twice the “clock speed” was only 8.8%—probably not exactly what the consumers buying the faster chip expected.

Following the auto analogy, an 8-cylinder car doesn’t necessary go twice as fast as a 4-cylinder model, does it?

More important than either of the above points, it’s not the size, but how you use it that generates real world results. In fact, most businesspeople would be better off spending less money on their hardware, and more on software and learning how to use their
technology effectively.

In business, technology is supposed to make us more efficient, productive and organized. Buying the most expensive hardware is no guarantee of this goal.

As a technology speaker and trainer, I do tend to spend on the “bleeding edge.” It’s a necessity for me to be able to give current advice to those who need it.

However, when I was still in sales, I was seldom the guy with the latest, fastest or biggest system on the block. On the other hand, by investing in the right hardware and software, and learning how to use it, I was certainly one of the most productive. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Reprinted with permission. Copyrighted with all rights reserved by Stephen M. Canale.

Stephen Canale has spoken at hundreds of conventions, seminars and training events in 46 states over the last decade, covering a wide variety of subjects including: sales, marketing, technology and personal development. For information, visit: www.canale.com.