Time for Change – Good-bye iPhone, hello Blockchain

(adapted from my LinkedIn post on November 10, 2017)

I have always prided myself in being an earlier adopter of technology and one who embraces change, but it wasn’t without just a bit of anxiety that I recently took the decision to retire my iPhone.

I love Apple products and am proud to say that I owned the first generation iPod, iPhone and MacBook Air. With the Air (in 2008), for several months, when using it in public, strangers would approach me and ask if they could pick it up. It was like having a puppy in a public place and everyone wanting to pet it. I was such an Apple evangelist that I probably would have even purchased the mythical MacBook Wheel (photo above), as spoofed by ‘the Onion’ (watch it HERE if you haven’t seen it).

But with the advent of the iPhone X, I feel it is time for me to step back and wait for something truly revolutionary before continuing to send Apple my hard-earned cash. Not that I believe the X is necessarily over-priced, but for the total price of US $333, last week I purchased an Android phone which has the same memory capacity and higher processing speed than my existing (yet aging) iPhone 6 plus. Less than a third of the price of the X.

But for me it’s not just about the iPhone being more expensive. Anyone who has followed my writings over the years knows I’ve been making a concerted effort, not always with success, at reducing dependence on (and addiction to) my iPhone. I was sure that if I were to spend more on the iPhone X than I did on my last Apple laptop that I’d feel inclined to continue to cherish my iPhone as a prized possession – an idol of sorts – which certainly wouldn’t help in managing my attachment to it.

So yesterday it was time to change my smartphone paradigm and treat my phone as more of a commodity or basic utility. I feel that we’ve now hit a technological plateau in terms of computing and phone devices, so I’m now looking for what the next “thing” will be. Apple has delighted me for the past decade with its technology, a mobile phone journey which for me started in 1994 with Motorola, then evolved to Nokia, then to Ericsson/Sony and the Blackberry, before Apple conquered the space for the last decade.

I’m now ready for something new, completely outside the smartphone space, and I’m guessing the next decade’s technology innovations will be dominated by the Blockchain and crypo-currencies. I opened a Bitcoin account a few months ago and have the feeling this is the beginning of something truly revolutionary, something that I believe will change the world, just as the Internet did in the 90s. Exactly how, and what this space will look like I don’t know, but the floodgates have been opened. ICOs, from what I can tell, are for the most part scams and will primarily serve the purpose to redistribute some of the newly minted Bitcoin wealth (and result in many a retail investor simply losing money), but with people losing faith in their governments worldwide and gold not being something which can be used very well to buy things (especially over the Internet), Bitcoin and likely a few other currencies built on Blockchain technology will, in my opinion, survive and either replace, or at a mimimum supplement, fiat currencies.

The price of Bitcoin today may now be in bubble territory, but tulips went through their boom and bust centuries ago and tulips are still very much around today.

The times are changing and for me this is exciting. I won’t be putting all the money I saved yesterday into Bitcoin, but to mark this occasion of change I will buy a bit more and continue to watch the space.

Chris Saye
[email protected]

Chris is a family office executive, coach and writer. He is a former partner with both Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young, and currently manages MarcWhittaker, a network of family office advisors in Singapore. He is a fluent Russian-speaker, having spent 15 years living and working in Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Chris has been married to his wife Galina for over 20 years and together they have three children and two grandchildren.

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