Progress Means Change
Change doesn’t always mean progress.
It’s been said that progress inevitably means change, but change doesn’t necessarily mean progress. An interesting example of this sentiment is the Westchester, MA, steakhouse called The Buggy Whip. Once described as a classic, old-school eatery, the restaurant went through several changes after it switched ownership in mid-2012, including the dismissal of its “piano man” after 25 years of service and supposed complaints of declining quality and service from its regulars, according to the Examiner and article by Matthew Kang on eater.com upon the long-time restaurant’s closing in 2013.
While it is not known for sure if the change in ownership and allusions to quality and service were responsible for the downfall of the restaurant, if they are, the story is a perfect example of change without progress—that is unless the building and location give way to the greatest restaurant known to man or becomes the site of the lab or R&D department that cures cancer or develops the next great technology.
Ironically, the eatery’s namesake, the actual buggy whip, is part of a story of change as the direct result of progress. Back in the days of the horse and buggy, drivers relied heavily on the buggy whip as an indispensable tool of controlling the horse to get themselves and their passengers to where they were going. In seemingly no time at all, the buggy whip became obsolete and unnecessary with the advent of the automobile. The overtaking of the horse and buggy by the popularity of the automobile ultimately gave rise to the description of the path of any product or service that lost popularity or usefulness as “going the way of the horse and buggy.”
For another example, just ask an eight-year-old about the land line. Huh? The invention, development, and proliferation of cellular technology has not only led the cell phone to usurp the telephone land line as the superior communication technology, but also has progressed us passed just merely human-to-human communication, but communication with and between the machines we use to help us in our daily lives with the Internet of Things.
The land line, the horse and buggy, and The Buggy Whip restaurant were all institutions, long-standing foundations, whether in communications, transportation, or the eating habits of the residents of Westchester, MA, all that met their demise due to change, whether by the development of a superior technology or simple change in management philosophy. The land line alone stood as the preferred form of communication since its invention by Bell and Bourseul in the mid-1800s.
In this month’s appliance DESIGN, find out about the technologies challenging long-standing EC motors with “The Demise of the Electrically Commutated Motors ECMs.” Also, check out the sensor technology affecting IoT in “New and Emerging Sensor Technology for the Internet of Things” and the challenges of metal-to-plastic conversion in “Is Change Inevitable?”
Enjoy and thanks for reading!