Marketing with a focus on digital

Roomba on the Farm

My father in-law's dad grew up on a farm in Minnesota. In the summer they'd keep the cream from their cows cool between trips to the creamery by storing the containers in a spring-fed stream. In the winter they'd keep their eggs from freezing on the way to market by putting them under a blanket with warm rocks. There's a story about his dad saving a nearby farmer's horse from quicksand by pulling it out with his tractor. The neighbor came to him because he had the only tractor around. They didn't have running water.

Yesterday my father in-law -- who still lives on that same farmland, by the way -- got a robot vacuum that works with their artificial intelligence voice assistant. 

That's one generation. From no running water to voice controlled house cleaning robots. Sometimes it's hard fully realize the rate of change we're experiencing, but I think this story does a good job of summing it up. 

We can be pretty hard on each other and on our collective self for the consequences of that change. We're hard on companies for not anticipating downsides to their technology. We're hard on our political institutions and the "other" part of the electorate for not redesigning our systems and beliefs to our new reality. We're even hard on individuals for not changing behaviors or lifestyles quickly enough.

I never met him, but I suspect that if you told that farmer what would happen within his son's lifetime and asked him if that would make for some collective rough patches, the answer would be yes. And based on the stories about him, he might even write a funny accordion song about it. 

Aaron Grote