Financial Priorities: Price vs. Value of New Tech

Daily Origami is a way for us to record our off the cuff thoughts, feelings and observations about the world around us. Published every weekday, Monday through Friday.


Ivan here.

You know that feeling you get when you become a part of something greater than yourself? When you find yourself being swept away by the momentum and emotions of the moment? When you feel inspired by our shared sense of humanity?

Yeah, I never get that feeling.

I was a high school senior when I watched Steve Jobs introduce the very first iPhone. I disliked Jobs almost straight away. I didn’t like the smug look on his face. I didn’t like his Jonestown-style delivery. And I couldn't bring myself to trust a grown man who’d refer to anything as “insanely great.”

But perhaps the most nauseating thing to watch was how the audience (of mostly affluent, over privileged men) fawned over his every word, laughed at every weak joke, cheered after each carefully rehearsed pause.  To this day, people still wet themselves over this keynote, parsing out lessons for every aspiring Silicon Valley genius who thinks he's changing the world. 

If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s mindless people who can't think for themselves.

Price vs. Value of Consumer Tech

According to the New York Times, Americans replace their smartphones every 22 months, which amounts to 150 million phones discarded each year. For all the talk about environmentalism and sustainability, no one seems to think about where these phones end up - or who bears the cost long term.

And while it’s ridiculous to conflate money spent on a new iPhone with something as essential as healthcare, would it kill us to stop and think about better uses for $800?

Someone please explain to me the difference between the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 4.

Is it marginally thinner? Lighter? Faster? How does an iPhone 7 change your life in ways the iPhone 4 couldn’t?

Does the difference in value justify a $2,400 price tag?

Because a total of six years have elapsed between the release of these two models, which means the average American would’ve already consumed three phones ($800 x 3 = $2,400).

How insane is it that every Two years, we double our consumption on the latest gadget for incremental value we hardly notice?


Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe I’m just an old man yelling at a cloud. Heck, I’m a writer in 2017 when the smart thing to do would be to pivot to video. But if you're asking me, the invention of the iPhone did change the world. Just not for better.