What it is: Coal miners often resist retraining in hopes that coal will make a comeback.
In areas dependent on coal the government tried offering retraining programs to give miners new skills outside of the coal industry. In many places, these retraining programs are failing because coal miners are not signing up to learn new skills for the future. Instead, they’re pinning their hopes that coal will make a comeback. The end result is that new industries won’t move to the area because there are no trained workers and out of work coal miners will stay out of work because there’s weak demand for coal.
The basic problem is that rather than change, people would rather stubbornly resist the future and cling to the past because if the past magically comes back to life, they’ll be ready for it without having to learn or do anything different. The huge problem is that the past is not coming back so waiting for this to happen essentially means missing out on huge opportunities in the future and getting angry about the present.
So what does this have to do with the computer industry? Back in the days of mainframes and minicomputers, computer people dismissed PC s as “toys” and refused to learn how to use them. When PCs became popular and far more cost-effective and versatile compared to mainframe and minicomputers, all those good jobs for mainframes and minicomputers dried up in an instant. How many people still want to wait for the good old days of mainframe and minicomputers to come back again so they can keep programming in COBOL using punch cards because that’s what they’re familiar with?
Now that PCs have shoved mainframe and minicomputers out of the way, a new revolution is occurring with mobile computers pushing PCs out of the way. Naturally PC users claim tablets are “toys” and unable to do real work like a PC, which is no different than identical arguments that mainframe and minicomputer users made claiming PCs were “toys” and unable to do real work like a mainframe or minicomputer.
What this means is that the future is no longer the PC (just like it’s no longer the mainframe or minicomputer). Instead, the future is mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, and the leading smartphone and tablet maker is Apple with the iPhone and iPad.
If you want to embrace the future, you want to embrace using and developing apps for the iPhone and iPad (iOS). If you want to stay mired in the past, then you want to cling to the old days as much as possible by relying on Windows running on a Surface tablet. The Surface tablet is more like an ultra-portable laptop but it can fool you into thinking it’s a tablet. Unfortunately, all the best tablet apps are being written for the iPad.
With the enterprise world embracing iPhones and iPads, the writing is on the wall. The future in the enterprise is no longer Windows PCs but the iPhone and iPad. Anyone who fails to recognize this is simply clinging to the past like coal miners clinging to coal and hoping coal will magically make a comeback. It won’t.
The mainframe and minicomputer market is gone for good. The coal market is dying. The Windows PC market is slowly running out of steam. That leaves the mobile market wide open and with corporations adopting iOS devices, it will soon be the standard.
Today the computing standard is the Windows PC. Tomorrow the computing standard will be iOS on the iPhone and iPad. Anyone who fails to see this trend is simply failing to look at evidence. If you don’t want to look at reality, you might as well be a coal miner.