This article was published on September 5, 2016

Technology Catharsis

Technology Catharsis
Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
Story by

Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

Founder & board member, TNW

Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is very active on Twitter as @Boris and Instagram: @Boris.

Math and romance are unlikely allies. So are taxes and humor, and seemingly, technology and emotions.

When you talk to a stranger and want to make an easy escape from the conversation, simply say ‘I work with technology’. The other person will immediately start scanning the room in an attempt to find the nearest exit, because who the hell wants to talk about technology, right? Yet here we are, spending every day of our lives surrounded by the ever-increasing electronic demi-gods… and we love (or hate) every minute of it.

Technology used to be a topic that was serious, ugly even – and for most people, something hidden away and best left alone. Now technology is personal. Every bit of your life is influenced and dictated by technology.

From the moment you’re born till the day you die, your life revolves around tech. You could meet the person you fall in love with via an app, meaning the first communication you’ll exchange will most likely be emoji-filled WhatsApp messages. And they may break your heart with a Snapchat, and you’ll find comfort plotting your revenge through a series of selfies.

A few months ago Instagram changed their icon. This wasn’t earth shattering news, but we wrote about it and it quickly became the most popular story of the day, then week, and eventually it was the most read story of the month. It still ranks in the top 10 stories of the year.

That evening as I was having dinner with my family and mentioned the Instagram news. My youngest daughter (10 at the time) dropped her fork, shouted ’No!’ and grabbed her phone. So did her sister and mother. We ended up spending the whole dinner talking about it.

My youngest daughter felt betrayed. She loved the old icon, and didn’t understand how someone else had the right to change what she loved. She couldn’t comprehend how she was now stuck with something she considered ugly. We talked about how her device was really just a window into the world, and that she was merely a user of the Instagram app – it wasn’t her property.

What surprised me about that evening was how personal the subject was to my kids.

Sure, this was about technology, but not so much about the bits and bytes of tech, but rather the personal and emotional impact that technology has on our lives.

I also realized that this is what makes our company stand out from our competitors. Our writers try to find stories that provoke an emotional response with our readers. Nobody cares about the 2,000th app of the day. The fact that it is new doesn’t make it news. But an app that may be eight months old and can still change someone’s life? Now that’s interesting.

The term technology doesn’t just encompass bits and bytes and wires and chips, but also the emotional reactions and bonds that are formed and created. That’s both exciting and beautiful.

This is my introduction text for last weeks issue of our TNW Weekly update:You can read the whole newsletter here, or sign up to receive your own copy. 

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