Sunday, June 04, 2006

All Prostrate At The Temple Of Templates

This comment is different from my usual topics of world affairs, terrorism, comments on George W. Bush being the worst President EVER, etc. I recall writing a comment many years ago about the perceived or supposed "individuality" of Americans. I was always amused by how we all try to, or claim to, or try to claim to be so unique, we do everything in our own special way.

But, watch when someone like Madonna chops off her jeans at the knees, or Paris Hilton wears a particular color dress, and boom, suddenly 2 million jeans or dresses of that type are sold to "unique" individuals.

While all this was happening, I recall how EDI, a business tool for electronic data interchange between businesses, clients, organizations, etc. took forever to become established even as little as it did, even when the cost of non-standard communications between businesses was well known. Electronic data exchange costs were high, cost of aligning information into the right way for objective decisions to be made was high. There were many benefits, but EDI took time to gain acceptance.

Now, in 2006, when the Internet and eBusiness make each one of us as "connected" as the New York Times, or even as capable as madonna of putting our creative output out for billions to see (youtube.com, stickam.com, google video), more and more of us are relying on "standardized" tools.

At HP's web site (the company even as a stockholder I HATED the laptop and software products of) I found an interesting page where a small business expert shows a tool for genrating press releases. And, that made me think of the irony.

It is interesting to me that the more empowering personal expression becomes, enabling all of us to be publishers of information in our own style, the more a sense of overwhelming burden overtakes us. This is forcing us to seek out tools that automate even the process of creating our own "unique" messages, like press releases, or even business plans.

Ironically, without any of us realizing it, this may be the new wave of mass-EDI eBusiness communication, where many of us will rely on standardized "forms" for everything from press releases to business plans, to web sites and even books. Even my blog, http://imran.com/media/blog , a unique take on things around the world, is based on a standard tool, blogger.com. My web site http://imran.com and http://imran.TV utilizes pre-made templates.

You can download incredibly good templates for all kinds of business documents, proposals, plans, etc.

More and more programs are available that come with templates. Some of that is good, because it helps us avoid reinventing the wheel. Why should I have to learn database programming and not use Filemaker's included templates? But, what about things like press releases, business plans, proposals, all of which we can buy templates for online. All these "tools" are making us more and more conformists, protrating ourselves at the temple of Templates, ironically, in the age and time when we can be most unique.

Is this good, bad, or... what? What do you think?
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