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What Lessons Can Technology Firms Learn from the Nightmare that is Iron Man 3?


May 6, 2013

Iron Man 3 is a Morozovian CGI-infused extravaganza. It extends every negative stereotype of testosterone-crazy technology Armageddon. (There’s really no point to buy Evgeny Morozov’s book – you can experience the dark side “technology solutioning” at the movie theatre.)

High Tech Cult of Personality

Iron Man 3 is a not-too-subtle story of two technology entrepreneurs with large egos. It’s the Silicon Valley ethic of full-speed-ahead destroy your competitor. Of one-upmanship.

And, of the military industrial complex. As Stephen Saideman suggests”the most relevant things for those who study international conflict are the movie’s depictions of drones and of terrorism…having forty or so Iron Man suits flying about controlled by some intelligent software is exactly what folks fear about the future.”

Lesson Learned: Competition can spurn innovation. But ego-based competition is not an effective driver for technology that can change the world for the better.

Lean should be used for Prototypes, not Products

Eric Ries in the Lean Startup recommends that companies should create “Minimum Viable Products” that tests the market. Otherwise, companies use good practices to create quality products that have no applicability in the market. Iron Man 3 would have been a much shorter movie if either protagonist had product with no bugs.

What “suspense” there was came through unintended consequences of technology glitches. And, from using the most recent “beat” model rather than something with fewer features that seems to work.

Lesson Learned: Technology companies should not force customers to upgrade to products that aren’t ready. .

Oracle sponsorship message?

Oracle Corporation has been an active sponsor of the Iron Man franchise. We see the use of “Oracle Cloud” in a hologram. (It’s not clear whether it’s public, private or hybrid cloud.) Later, there’s an Oracle/Sun Exadata rack in a TV van. It’s not clear what it’s doing there given that laptops can handle non-linear editing. That’s over a million dollars in a TV van.

I’m not sure what thought processes are operating at Oracle marketing. To believe that association with such a dark technology picture is a good idea. To introduce product placement where it makes no sense. (At least the Verizon and ABB product placement made some sense.) To use a consumer medium to advertise an enterprise product.

Lesson Learned: Technology companies need to be more circumspect in associations in the era of social media .

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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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