On January 4th, we featured a TED talk by Matt Ridley about how the “exchange of ideas leads to progress through specialization.” In a fitting response, designer Thomas Thwaites took it upon himself to “create a toaster from scratch” – to simultaneously demonstrate how it takes millions of people in hundreds of industries to produce “basic” technologies, and how individual resourcefulness leads to improvisation and innovation.
And when we say “by scratch,” we mean by scratch – molding iron prongs from minerals in underground rivers, coaxing steel from chunks of iron ore, and creating plastic from oil.
Thwaites’ remained good-natured and determined throughout the project, even when many of his attempts at smelting and/or plastic molding failed. After traveling to several countries gathering his materials, he finally managed to construct a “successful” toaster – that worked for five seconds due to lack of proper insulation.
As Thwaites tried to reconstruct the building blocks of his toaster, he had to go further and further back in history – to the beginnings of metallurgy. The complexity of the toaster was astonishing - there were over 400 individual components for the toaster – imagine a calculator, printer, or telephone?
When I think of Holdcom’s services, we use high tech editing software, VoIP systems, remote loading technology, and more to deliver a refined message on hold program. But at the core of each message on hold or IVR announcement is a simple, but powerful, element – the human voice. Though we can add effects, boost volume levels, and alter pitch, the nuances of the human voice are more complex in their simplicity than any of our modern technology.
The ability of language to resonate with consumers through direct communication is a gift that is unique to the individual, but can be appreciated by thousands. What do you think – can the human voice can be considered “technology?”