Please Don’t Do This!

Today we’ll make mention of the opposite of what we want a 7CTOs member to be: Someone who uses technology to troll, mock, or get the better of somebody else simply for a cash grab.

On one hand, you can argue that it’s better to not even bring attention to some of these personal technology “advancements,” but we can’t deny getting a kick out of of this story from the Guardian that zeros in on “Troll Products” in the tech space.

A “Trol Product” is one that attracts attention and the all-important page views -- more for bad reasons than good, it doesn't matter, all that matters is the views, the “traction.”

It used to be that controversial commercials for a product were what got the buzz burning -- back right before the dot-bomb, remember gerbils being shot out of cannons? Kids’ heads getting tattooed with brand IDs? -- now the battle for mindshare is so vicious it’s the products themselves that offend.

It’s tough to know whether to laugh or snort in disgust at a product like “Pooper,” a new smartphone application that gets you to snap a photo and log the location of your dog’s droppings because you don’t have the time/inclination to clean it up, getting the latest employee of the 1099 economy to come along and pick it up for you. “An app for crap,” as the Guardian article lyrically laments.

And how about this slogan: “Your dog’s poop in someone else’s hands.”

Like “Poo-pouri” and bacon-flavored toothpaste, the point isn’t so much to create a product, it’s to create a surprising or shocking addition to the marketplace that gets traction at first simplly because it’s off-the-grid unexpected. The Guardian earlier this year had another article earlier this year for the worst apps ever that gives you a pretty good idea of what we’re talking about.

Whether it’s a fad (like the pet rock) or a trend (like the sharing economy), there is likely money to be made but not so much earned honorably for shooting for the lowest common denominator. 7CTOs seeks to help develop people who aspire to improve the human condition through technology and empathy, not develop tech for people who are too lazy or self-impressed to pick up their canine’s excrement (not that we much enjoy doing it ourselves, frankly).