03/05/15

Here's What's Wrong With Tech

The other day I stumbled across the following headline on The Verge: "Stratos is not just another all-in-one smart card".

The product described in the article is a "smart" credit card which allows you to combine any three cards (e.g. your personal and business credit card plus your Starbucks loyalty card) in one Stratos card which is hooked up to your phone and allows you to select, with the push of a button, the card you want to use.

Useless products all around

Now don't get me wrong - this is a wonderfully designed product and I can geek out on the engineering marvel it is.Putting effectively a mini computer, bluetooth connectivity and a battery into something as small and flat as a credit card.

But... WTF?!

Why on earth do we need a smart credit card which replaces all of three normal cards? Is it really such a bother to carry three cards with you? Does it really make such a difference to you that you would spend what-ever-this-thing will cost (and I am sure it won't be cheap)?

In it's own way the Stratos card is symptomatic with what's wrong with some tech startups: It's tech for the sake of tech. It doesn't solve a real problem but is merely a masturbation in design and features. Why not start with a real need or problem (how about access to clean drinking water for example?) and solve that first before we try to figure out how to cut down the size of our wallet by 2 millimeter?