If it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny. Albert Einstein once stated, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”
Sometimes when I see people, not just young people, glued to their phones rather than interacting with friends and colleagues, I agree with the great doctor’s assessment.
If you were born before 1995, then you are one of the last people in history who remembers life without the internet.
In the ‘70s, many people lamented Sesame Street, not because it could not teach kids valuable lessons, but because it equated learning with entertainment — therefore, anything not amusing wasn’t worth paying attention to.
But then again, I also have faith in change. Smartphones, tablets, etc. may be out of control, but when used properly, the world is truly at our fingertips. We may be evolving into a generation of idiots, but we won’t be the first generation accused of idiocy.
Don’t Let Technology Replace Good Mentors
It was not so long ago that everyone was convinced that the ability to look anything up on the internet would curtail the need for classroom teachers, like when movie channels were introduced on TVs, we thought people would no longer go to the movies. The introduction of MP3 players was sure to stop the flow of new music, and many people are convinced that Kindles and eReaders will be the demise of books.
Good grief, if we ever needed good teachers in the classroom, on the stage or in the boardroom, it is now. If we could look everything up, we would know everything, and we would all be awash in success. We cannot, and those who do not seek out mentors will fail.
Movie channels are well and good, but attendance at movie theatres continues to rise. Music will always be created, and MP3 is but one vehicle to listen. Kindles and eReaders continue their rise, but books will still be written, and there will always be a large population for whom a printed book is more than a collection of words, but rather a close friend to pick up from the shelf and spend a few hours with. Times are changing, but we still have a ways to go before theatres, books and CDs disappear.
The Same Rules Apply To Our Industry
And what about the plant game, will we be one more 8-track player? I hardly think so. The rise of the box store has changed the way many people buy plants, but it also has many more people buying plants. The independent garden center has surely changed, and while many have disappeared, those that remain are better than ever. Plastic and silk flowers were supposed to take the place of indoor flowers — it didn’t happen. The shrinkage of the garden was supposed to mean the end to buying plants — it simply elevated the deck as the place for containers, baskets and even vegetables.
The Industry Has Turned A Corner
In the last few months, I have attended Cultivate’14 in Columbus, the IGC Show in Chicago and the Farwest Show in Portland. That is not to mention the master gardener gatherings and broker shows, as well. In every one, the shows were well attended and people were positive.
To be sure, the economy feels better, and many have experienced a good year.
However, we have turned a corner — we believe! We are incorporating change into everything we do. We have understood the power of marketing. We no longer believe the status quo is sufficient and we are actually enjoying looking for ways to stay contemporary. I see it, I feel it and I even taste it when I walk the floors, present a talk or give a walk-about. Times change — that’s nothing new. But we are starting to enjoy changing with them.