Resisting the Adoption of New Technologies

True innovation is so unexpected that the mind often reacts by summarily rejecting the innovation. Take for example the hundreds of thousands of cartoons from the early 1900’s mocking all things automotive.

INSULT ADDED TO INJURY.—Wretched Boy. “Hi, guv’nor! D’yer want any help?”

The virulence with which the general public and the media rejected automobiles is only matched by the ubiquity with which the automobile later entered American culture.

I recently read a fascinating book about Garfield; no, not the lasagna loving, Monday hating cartoon character, but the assassinated 20th President of the United States. The book, was entitled “Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President,” But my alternate title is “How Willful Ignorance and Failure to Adopt New Technologies Killed the President.”

President James A. Garfield was an amazing man. He was part of a pioneer family in Ohio, homesteading, clearing the land, under attack by Indians. His father died when he was only 17 months old and the family had to sell off much of the land to pay debts. His Mom and older brother worked the farm and sent James to school. James ran off to work the river boats. Eventually found his way back to school and did so well in his freshman year that in his sophomore year he was made a faculty member, and by age 26 he was President of the University. He was a loving father and husband, a trusted friend, and a great leader.
Read More