I’ve had a regular two blade wet shave razor for as long as I can remember, but recently it’s been really difficult to get blades for it. Why? I have no idea. I was in the supermarket a few days ago and was looking again for the elusive blades when I spotted a good deal on a five blade razor. Five blades? I want to shave, not decapitate myself and then trim my hair! Anyway, for £3 it seemed a bargain so I bought it and brought it home. It’s an amazing device. It works smoothly, delivers a good shave and does the job, but so did my old two blade razor, so I’m still mystified why I now need five. This week has also seen massive turmoil for the poor users of Blackberry – no email, systems shutting down and now it’s spread to America. It’s a disaster for the company that has been keeping Apple and the iPhone at bay. HTC and the other android makers must think this is the best news ever. In truth though aren’t our phones a bit like the five blade razor?
I got my first ever mobile phone in the mid 1990’s. It was a chunky thing, with a pull up aerial and you made phone calls on it; the battery would give you a brain tumour and even back then you couldn’t work out if you were on a fair deal or not. The next innovation was texting – for a while I didn’t get that at all and then did. Adding a phone to a camera was the next thing I couldn’t understand. Why would you want a camera on a phone? I can’t imagine one without the other now, and music too. My dilemma a year or so ago was iPhone or Blackberry – I plumped for Steve Jobs’ baby. Turns out to be a good decision this week, but let’s be honest these aren’t phones, they are small, portable computers. The battery life sucks, the connectivity is all over the place and the speaker on the iPhone is brilliant for playing music, but useless at trying to talk hands-free. However, I love mine. I think it’s a work of genius – and the genius has now left us. I was genuinely sorry to hear of Steve Jobs death, but not surprised either. Apple has been a company that has changed the world and the way we live our lives. I’m not sure the five blade razor will have quite the same impact.
Which leads me on to a common theme. Change. It happens all the time: we meet new people, people move on, we get fitter, we get fatter, the kids grow up, the economy falters, the economy grows, but no matter what the only change for Simon Cowell is that his bank balance grows bigger. Is change always good? People certainly fear it. “What happens if?” is a common question. What happens if I leave this person? What happens if I say ‘yes’ to this person? What happens if I give up my job and set up a business? What happens if I take these drugs? What happens if I travel alone? So many ‘what if’s?’ The clearest plans come to most well thought out futures, but not to the degree of procrastination ie making plans and never putting them into action. Why do we admire Steve Jobs so much? Because he had a plan and found a way to do it. He wasn’t always a billionaire. He, and Steve Wozniak, started from their garage. Alan Sugar began selling aerials out of the back of a van. A 40 year marriage begins with a look and a single kiss. Everything, and everyone, begins with an idea. It’s action that is the key.
Someone, somewhere thought a five blade razor was a good idea. Did I agree with him? Partly, but also because Asda had it on offer. Is the ‘i’ lifestyle the best for the modern world? The iPad, the iPhone, the iPod, the iMac. All amazing creations in my view, but it’s still the basics that have to be kept an eye on. Paper still works in the form of notes and diaries. Talking to people face to face will always beat technology. Reading a book is still a pleasure that no film or tv can replicate. Good manners are still the best form of salesmanship. Keep your life simple, remember your outcome and keep working towards it. Motivation wanes when we forget our goal. It’s the reason people go back to smoking when they try to pack up, why people put on weight when they want to be slim and why a relationship fails when you want a happy ever after. Keep your eye on the prize. My point is that we can’t get too lost in technology. We are suckered into keeping up with the latest gadgets and fads when we’ve already got too much. Be true to you. Be good to your family and friends. Accept you screw things up sometimes, learn and move on. Do the basics well and you’ll be the world champion at life. I’m off for a shave.