The Three Phases of New Creative Technology

It’s interesting to watch technology advances in the photo and video realm[1] that make previously-inaccessible options possible for the general consumer.

Three quick examples that come to mind are GoPro cameras (offering cheap, durable cameras capable of HD video or time lapse photography), the Hyperlapse app (making sped-up timelapse photography extremely simple), or the slow-motion video capability Apple has introduced with the last couple of iPhones. A tweet from Brian Krogsgard brought this to mind as he notes the potential for a particular technology to be “way overused”:

It seems to me that we see these technologies move through three phases:

Creative Technology Phases

  • At Introduction, we’re all excited by the promise of the new technology as we watch the carefully-crafted demonstrations.
  • We then enter a phase of novelty where something is interesting merely because it was made with the new techology. A video was interesting simply because someone made it with a GoPro on their head. A slow motion video was interesting simply because it was a slow motion video of something not often seen in slow motion. There’s nothing wrong with the novelty phase – even if it seems like something is overused – it can lead to some interesting material. The general formula at this point is often "Let’s do ____________ (thing we’ve already done) using __________ (new tech / equipment).
  • Finally we move into what I call the creativity phase, where folks apply real creative thought in combination with the new technology. Instead of applying the new technology to what’s already been done, this is where folks figure out what previously-impossible thing can be done now with the new technology.

When I discuss “possible” and “impossibility” above, some of it is purely technical but it’s also an issue of accessibility. Folks could make sped-up timelapse videos long before the Hyperlapse app, but to do so required both camera hardware to capture the timelapse along with software (and software skills) to create the final product. Hyperlapse eliminated those barriers.

The future is pretty neat. What else will we see move through these phases soon?


  1. I suspect the same applies in other fields.  ↩

A Portland Bicycle Reality Check

You know how Portland is super-duper white? Arguably the whitest major city in North America?

According to the US Census, Portland is 6.3% black.

According to just-released bicycle data, less than 6% of Portlanders commute by bike.

A random Portlander is more likely to be Black than they are to be a bike commuter.

Can we stop pretending like everyone does business by bicycle please?

Portland Bike Commuters

Speaking About the Rainmaker Platform in Portland

I was recently approached by an organizer of the Portland WordPress meetup and invited to speak about the launch of my new WordPress for photographers website called WP Photographers. He suggested I might speak about the site design and the choices made for hosting and plugins.

WP Photographers isn’t like most other sites. It’s not hosted on a standard web host and it’s not hosted at WordPress.com. I had some choices to make regarding hosting. I’ve happily used WP Engine in the past for a couple sites, and I had a good experience with SiteGround when I launched a recent project.

The Next Generation Online Marketing and Sales PlatformBut I’d been hearing a lot about the New Rainmaker platform being built by Copyblogger Media. It looked pretty attractive and after evaluating several considerations, I decided to plop down a fair chunk of money and sign up.

At the Portland WordPress meetup on the 29th, I’ll be giving a talk where I walk through why I chose Rainmaker, what I’ve found to work well, and where I’ve found it lacking thus far. It’s a great fit for some sites and a poor fit for others… we’ll look at how it fits into the WordPress ecosystem and how it compares against traditional shared or managed hosting options.

Disclaimer: I’m an affiliate for pretty much every platform and hosting company mentioned, so purchases through those links will get me a small commission. Each is strong in their own ways. I’m certainly not making hosting decisions based on small affiliate payments.