May 1, 2009

Gadget Queen

Posted in Life, Technology tagged , , , , , , at 9:15 pm by lindaslongview

flattireThere is just something about gadgets that I love.  I love the innovation and the potential for transformation that they represent.  With each new gadget, I buy into the story that it will somehow improve my life:  save me time, make my experience more joyful, or reduce the tediousness of tasks.

Emerging technology represents the same potential for transformation, yet must be nurtured to successful commercialization.  Processes need to be developed ensuring that robustness and customer satisfaction are built in.

With the love and devotion that I give my gadgets, it is such a disappointment when a favored gadget fails.  Yesterday, one of my favored gadgets, the Max Stealth Tire Minder pressure gauges, failed. My car had a completely flat tire – not a little low, but completely flat!  Naturally I assumed that I must have picked up a nail on my last trip. Maybe because I wanted to believe that my Tire Minders were robust, it never occurred to me that they failed (even though it happened once before a few years ago).  So, instead of pulling out the compressor, I dutifully pulled out the jack, collected the tire wrench and changed my tire.  Although I couldn’t see the failure point on the tire, I took the tire to the shop this morning to get it fixed.  My tire dealer assured me that the tire was fine, but my super-hooty-doo tire stem pressure gauge indicator was the culprit.  Aargghh, the indignity of it all – I believed in them, loved them, and told all my friends how neat they were – I feel betrayed!

I sold myself the storyline that I saved time while still ensuring that my tires were properly inflated (saves gas!). Each time I filled up, I didn’t have to drag my pressure gauge from the glove compartment to check my tire inflation.  All I had to do is just walk around the vehicle and look for the “yellow” indicator to see if a tire was low.

As it turns out, all that accumulated time that I saved not using the regular tire gauge evaporated with the time it took to change that tire, take the tire to the shop, and then wait to have the shop “fix” it.  Was it worth it?  Well, the fellow at the tire shop told me that he sees lots of failures and fine print indicates that they are warranted for a year.  I bought them exactly one year ago, when I purchased my tires – how did they know a year was up?!  Even though Tire Minder is neat, it is not robust enough to create my satisfaction over the long view.

There’s always a positive, I think my neighbor got some good laughs watching me change my tire.  I was challenged to break free the lug nuts with my short little tire iron that came with my sedan, so there I was jumping up and down on the tire iron (putting all my weight into it) to get them loose.  My neighbor took pity on me and brought over his long lever arm tire iron.  It worked much better; I think I need one of those!  🙂

That being said, I will continue to try new technology and innovations, because over the long view that is how we achieve progress.   This story just provides another reminder of the importance of building robustness and customer satisfaction into innovative products (and emerging technology) to ensure successful adoption (and commercialization).

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2 Comments »

  1. Deborah said,

    Glad to know I don’t have to buy a new gadget.

  2. […] both action-oriented and small-framed, I put on my coveralls, my headlamp (all self-respecting gadget queens have one!), safety glasses, mask, gloves, and squeezed into the south-side crawl […]


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