Start Up Blog

When technology makes you obsolete

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on March 12, 2010

I once heard an interview with drummer Rob Hirst from the rock band Midnight Oil. It was in reference to one of their most critically acclaimed and best selling song, Power and the passion. Rob was asked about the infamous drum solo in the middle of the song, which not only doesn’t sound indulgent, but fits the rhythm and meaning of the song. What I find most interesting from an entrepreneurial perspective is how it all came about, this is what Rob had to say:

“It was 1982 and drum machines were entering the music scene and replacing drummers very quickly. They were cheaper and more reliable. It was a time when drummers were throwing themselves off cliff tops. Rather than fear the technological advancement, I thought it might be better to embrace it.  I wondered how I could use it to supplement what I was already doing to make it better. So for the Power and the Passion, I decided to have a drum machine playing in the background on the entire track. By doing this it freed up my arms and legs to add some color to the song, and ultimately allowed for the drum solo which is often sited as the catalyst that makes the song so great.”

The story above is one for all the Luddites out there. for the technology fear mongers, and those who worry about being replaced. The truth is, we should be happy when technology replaces labour for the simple reason that it opens the door to creativity. It opens the door to opportunity, for a better use of our time and resources.

You can watch / listen the drum solo at 2.35 minutes on the clip below. Be sure to listen for the drum machine track quietly providing the beat underneath.

PS – the smashing sound at the end of the solo is a florescent light tube Rob brought into the studio for  a dramatic industrial effect, not a pane of glass. Awesome.

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3 Responses

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  1. Peter Renshaw said, on March 12, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    A great post.

    Peter (@bootload via twitter)

  2. Mags said, on March 12, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    When technology makes you obsolete forget the excuses!

  3. tim moreillon said, on March 13, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    great insight steve. i think this has particular relevance to the music/movie/book industry at the moment. the drum machine (aka the internet) is now mainstream and these industries are still burying their heads in the stand (to varying degrees) and ignoring the future.

    technology will continue to evolve and change is the only constant, so they either adapt and embrace new technologies or they die. simple as that.


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