The smartphone is your enemy
The Intriguing Reason Why One of The World's Leading Marketing Experts Has One of The World's Most Inspiring Mobile Phones
The Nokia 206 is a very dumb phone.
In an age where every possible task can be carried out via mobile, the 206 struggles to play a video and can’t connect to Wi-Fi. Yet Martin Lindstrom, hailed previously by Time Magazine as one of the ‘World’s Most Influential People’, demonstrates it proudly. For, in the world of free-thinking, Lindstrom claims today’s smartphone is our enemy.
“When I got the first Apple iPhone, I realised that this was going to be the most addictive device on Planet Earth,” he smiles. “It’s shiny, addictive, attractive – more than friendship, more than love, more than anything”, he pauses for effect. “So I decided to not be addicted.”
Instead, he claims, the greater the distance you have to social media, the clearer your thinking. Extolling the value of ‘presentness’, he adds: “Innovation is growing faster, but creativity levels are going down. Creativity happens when you have silence in your life and boredom is the foundation of creativity. But as soon as we are waiting in a bar for someone the first thing we do is get out our phone and do something with it – anything with it. It has not become acceptable to look outwardly anymore, so when do you create creative thoughts and carve out purposeful space?”
“For me, I find this thinking time in swimming and writing in what I call a ‘water moment’ – the moment you are disconnected and have no strings attached. Some people may have it with their running and some may have it in the shower, but a lot of people aren’t aware that they are missing it. It is also increasingly missing from the corporate world. We are rarely present these days and that lack of presentness means we don’t see things around us.”
“From my perspective, smart phones are squeezing creativity out of society, especially among younger generations. The internet itself is analogous to junk food. It satisfies your appetite for 30 minutes, but then an hour later you are hungry again. That’s why I call today’s young generation, Screenagers, they are constantly searching for the nearest wall socket. The fear of being without power is like the fear of being consigned to a barren island, marooned from friends and forced to face who you are without phone in hand.”
“We may believe we want this and that we deserve infinite amounts of data, but in truth we can’t handle it, and it merely stirs up our appetites. That said, the technology itself is not the problem, the imbalance is.”
For the author of the New York Times best-seller ‘Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends’, the details that make up our lives are what makes his livelihood. As a branding expert, Lindstrom works for leading firms including Lego, Pepsi, and Nescafé, spending up to 300 nights a year in stranger’s homes to observe how they live. He observes everything; from the fact we subtly push harder on the tv remote buttons to squeeze the extra power out when the batteries are low, to the reason the Chinese avoid bedspreads, (a dislike of a fussy approach to life, Lindstrom claims).
“It’s important to understand how we really live,” he adds. “Often big companies produce the figures they need to support their arguments.
“We need to get deeper and experience how people really live!”
The iGeneration grew up with a smartphone in hand – but could their natural affinity for technology mask deeper insecurities? Martin Lindstrom explains.