Steven Johnson’s “aha” moment

Steven Johnson writes a nice summary piece about ebooks in the Wall Street journal and suggests that every successful new technology has an ‘aha’ moment. For Johnson, the moment came as a lone diner:

A few weeks after I bought the device, I was sitting alone in a restaurant in Austin, Texas, dutifully working my way through an e-book about business and technology, when I was hit with a sudden desire to read a novel. After a few taps on the Kindle, I was browsing the Amazon store, and within a minute or two I’d bought and downloaded Zadie Smith’s novel “On Beauty.” By the time the check arrived, I’d finished the first chapter. Aha.

Interesting that Johnson’s aha moment is not about the ebook device itself, but about its surrounding ecosystem. In that vein, the aha moment is not about the ipod, but the itunes store; not about the mac (or pc) but the web. Maybe the tipping point will come once readers have experienced the sheer audacity of getting an ebook 24/7 irrespective of their location. Iphone users– with the app store– already know how addictive the process of portable purchase actually is; don’t ask me why but it’s more satisfying buying an app on the phone, than on your computer and transferring it. We’re a weird mob 🙂


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