About two years ago a good friend of mine accused me of being a 'geek'. The reason? I was using a PDA and mobile phone to access my emails.
The accusation got me thinking. In my opinion, those of us who are seen to embrace technology early are far too often derided as nerds, in line with the public's skewed view of the IT profession as a whole.
Curiously, the same person who made that barbed remark is now using a more sophisticated PDA as a business and lifestyle tool, and swears that he could not live without it.
The way I see it, geeks are just ahead of their time. Think about it: the same people who laughed at those of us using mobile phones in the late 1980s are the ones that make up the 45 million mobile users in the UK.
From a business point of view, being a geek or early adopter, depending on your personal views, has its advantages. In fact, the more geeks there are in the channel, the better.
Today's market is all about being an early adopter. If you are not prepared to take risks, then success will not be guaranteed.
Times are hard and will stay that way for the next couple of years, so take the opportunity to seek out new technologies and marry them with others to build solutions capable of realising a genuine business requirement.
The instant messaging market is going to boom, and anyone serious about making a play for the mobile sector should be looking at this area now.
Integrating inexpensive instant messaging services with complex PDA and General Packet Radio Service solutions will be the way forward. Hand-held devices will form the terminals on which businesses and the public view the world.
The smart reseller ought to look at how it can offer crediting services - an equivalent of air miles - that will offer each user incentives to communicate using instant messaging.
No doubt a few will feel that this is a nerdish view, but I am absolutely convinced that this inexpensive method of communication will take off in the next 18 to 24 months.
My point is simple: nurture the 'geek' philosophy in your business model and use that principle to build bigger and better solutions to gain competitive edge.
The self-confessed gadget men are the barometers for future innovation, not those like my friend, who wait for critical mass before opening their wallets.
Yuri Pasea is joint managing director at telecoms consultancy Centia.
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