Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Dateline London -- CHEN PR's Law of Technology Evolution

The first in a series of posts from a recent U.K. swing by my globetrotting colleagues Chris Carleton and Randy Wambold. This first post is from Veep Wambold...

Dating back to my experience in the telecommunications market seven or eight years ago, conventional wisdom has been that the U.K. and Europe lagged U.S. technology trends by 18 months or so. There have been exceptions of course – the ubiquity and sophistication of mobile phones to cite one – but for the most part, this “technology lag” seemed accepted as a truism.

Fifteen months ago I had the opportunity to test this truism first hand. My colleague Chris Carleton and I were in London for a series of meetings. Blogs were emerging in the U.S. market as serious communications tools for high tech companies, moving beyond individual soap boxes. As communications professionals, we were spending a lot of time thinking with our clients about the influence of blogs, and their potential as another communications vehicle.

As we took part in several days of meetings in December ‘04, we frequently asked our counterparts in the U.K. and Europe about their experience with blogs. Few reported they were doing any serious thinking about blogs, and some confessed they weren’t quite sure what blogs were.

Chris and I just finished another series of meetings in London with both U.K. and European audiences. Fifteen months later, podcasting, not blogs, is on the tips of our tongues, seeming to be roughly where blogs were 15 months ago – lots of discussion about their use as a PR vehicle, but so far, limited implementation.

However, this time, many of our counterparts seemed every bit as up to speed on this emerging channel. None of the people we talked to were unfamiliar with podcasts, and all or almost all are, like us, spending time thinking about their use.

Maybe it’s time to propose a Law of Technology Evolution: the previously existing technology lag between different continents on the world is inversely related to the speed at which technology increases global interconnectedness. Look out, Gordon Moore.

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