Yesterday, I sat through a webinar about how technology could improve our business. One of the speakers boldly stated, "Technology is like a train. It's hard to stop, and once it leaves the station, you can't catch it." This image may have worked for the presenter, but he lost credibility with me by illustrating the power of innovation with such an "old school" image. After all, there hasn't been any innovation with the railroads since they decided to leave the caboose off the lagging end. It's like comparing technology to the buggy whip.
The second flaw with the simile was with the explanation, "Once it leaves the station, you can't catch it." I know trains can move fast, but I generally picture them going fairly slow, especially when they are leaving the station. Just think how many movie scenes there are where someone runs to catch the train, and usually makes it.
And finally, one of the most challenging things about dealing with technology is trying to figure out where it's headed. I can't think of anything more predictable than the path a train is headed down. You know the schedule, and the tracks pretty clearly map out where it's going to go.
What bad similes and metaphors have you heard? What would you compare technology to more accurately? Or more absurdly? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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