By Powerscourt on 17/03/2023
Elly Williamson, Partner and Head of the Technology, Media and Telecommunications practice at Powerscourt, shares her thoughts on communicating the value of tech for individuals and businesses.
We’re living in an age of technology. It’s everywhere to the extent that it’s nowhere, knitted into the fabric of how we work and play. We can wake up to daylight alarms set to our biorhythms and check our sleep data. At work, we’ve got software subscriptions for office admin and tools for analysing share of voice and media sentiment. And in the evening, we get leisure ideas from digital media which might include a streaming show, massive multiplayer game, novel on Kindle or a sport with the option of a digital readout of our performance from a wearable afterwards. But most of us couldn’t tell you how it all works.
We’re not all techies, though we all know people who are. We think of them as a tribe who dress, act and talk a certain way. They’re passionate about the things they can use tech to do, and love to spur each other on to greater achievements. While we can appreciate the enthusiasm, most people can’t readily appreciate every detail of the technical barriers that techies have broken through to get there – which is a great shame for the companies, developers and engineers involved.
To communicate about tech is to try to channel the spirit of those people who don’t just use technology, the way we all do, but who make and develop it for us to use. It’s to create excitement about solving problems in entirely new ways – problems which are sometimes outside the awareness of all but the most sophisticated programmers.
So how can we encourage people to engage with these problems – which we all should, since those very problems might well come to define our present era? It’s never easy to try to view things through the eyes of others, because it requires you to challenge your habitual ways of thinking. Good communication about tech eases people in with metaphor, example and flexibility with language, avoiding or translating jargon.
A fast-moving crisis unfolded last weekend around Silicon Valley Bank, chosen finance provider of the technology community. At first it seemed to be a problem for techies and not ‘us’. The bank was small and not a systemic threat. The technology community, led by VCs and industry groups including our own clients, lobbied for greater understanding not just of how this would affect tech industry employees but our economy and our future. Destroy the funding for today’s crop of innovators and see innovation dry up in every industry. Imagine if all the exciting things in our everyday lives in future were developed in other places, potentially more expensively and certainly less beneficially for our economy. Perhaps innovation would be applied as a priority to other needs in other places, in ways we wouldn’t like.
We’ll never all be techies, but with the right communication, we can all understand the value of tech, for investment purposes and more.