Do you suffer from "Gadget lust"?

Do you suffer from "Gadget lust"?

Summary: Come on now, be honest.  When was the last time you suffered from "gadget lust"?

TOPICS: Hardware

Come on now, be honest.  When was the last time you suffered from "gadget lust"?  I mean serious "gotta have it right now" kind of gadget lust?

All of the stuff that you're surrounded by was bought as a result of two core emotions - you wanted to gain pleasure or you wanted to avoid pain.  If you buy something because it is going to save you a bunch of time and make your life easier, you were avoiding pain.  If you bought something because you saw it and really had to have it because it was the coolest thing that you'd seen in the last 10 minutes, you bought it to gain pleasure.  Between pure pleasure and pure utility is a broad spectrum of feelings and emotions, and somewhere in the middle lies apathy.  Gadget lust takes this pain/pleasure seesaw one step further and combines the two - this is where buying a particular product will give you massive amounts of pleasure, while not buying (or, worse still, buying a competing product) will result in stacks of pain.

Dominance in any gadget-related market is a sure sign that gadget lust is driving salesThere are more businesses than ever in the tech field who rely on gadget lust to prop up their bottom line.  Most of these companies wouldn't openly admit that their success is a 50/50 mix of pure accident and clever marketing which resulted in the right conditions for gadget lust to form, instead they'd give you a whole host of other reasons why their gadget is a success and everyone else's in the same market sucks (even though there is very little separating their product from all of the others).  While customers will, and do, buy products for logical reasons and this alone can make a product successful, if you want to really dominate the market then you need to get your customers buying for emotional reasons. This puts the customer in a trance-like state where they are more likely to click "buy" or slap the plastic on the sales counter.

Dominance in any gadget-related market is a sure sign that gadget lust is driving sales.

Probably the best example of a product that sells because of gadget lust is the iPod.  Yes, it's a pretty good product, and yes, it is pretty easy to use and it does what it says on the box, but that isn't enough to dominate the market and crush the competition, especially when Apple isn't competing on price (don't believe me that low prices don't allow you to dominate the market, then check out the Windows vs. Linux numbers).  No, what you are seeing is gadget lust in action.  Right from the start Apple knew that the only way they were going to make any headway in the audio player market (which was already pretty crowded when they entered it) was by pumping up the emotional reasons to buy and try to bypass logical reasoning.  They did this, and did it very successfully.  Everything, from the design of the device to the sales copy to the packaging, was carefully controlled by Apple.  Even will millions of iPods in circulation, customers still feel that they are gaining entry into an exclusive club.

Gadget lust also applies to PC components such as graphics cards and CPUs.  When you're spending big bucks for a few percent extra performance, that kind of buying decision is unlikely to be driven by logical reasoning.  Similarly, whenever you see an expensive, pro gadget in the hands of an amateur (high-end digital cameras are an example of this), it's almost always as a result of gadget lust.  Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with buying for emotional reasons – sometimes it's the only way products will sell (for example, it's hard for most people to justify a high-end CPU or graphics card on a price/performance comparison, it has to be emotional). 

Both men and women are susceptible to gadget lust, although it seems that men have a much lower immunity (the theory is that this goes back to the spear and the desire to create a better, more effective pointy stick but I think that cultural conditioning and the fact that both tech companies and marketing companies are dominated by men has a lot to do with it). 

A market where you see companies (and their advertisers) trying, but on the whole failing, to generate gadget lust is in the cell phone market.  They try, but it never seems to hit critical mass.  Yes, it seems that it is possible to generate small pockets of gadget lust within the industry, but no single manufacturer has come close to producing a product that dominates the market like the iPod has done.

And no, before you ask, being surrounded by gadgets doesn't make you immune to the power of gadget lust, although it does lessen its effects.  Whenever I find myself caught up in gadget lust I start thinking about how much desk space it’s gonna take and where I'm gonna find a power outlet to plug it in.  That usually brings me back down to earth ... for a while!

So, when was the last time you had a bout of gadget lust?  What was it that you bought?

[poll id=2]

Topic: Hardware

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  • I'm feeling gadget lust right now

    Even though there is no way I can justify carrying 3 gadgets around (cell phone, PDA, and iPod), I have to admit that I'm lusting after the new touchscreen iPod, if it turns out to be more than vaporware.
    • Yeah ...

      I guess how much you can carry is also a limit! ;-)
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
  • Bit of a lull right now

    It might be that I'm more involved with appliance lust at the moment (new dishwasher, refrigerator, etc on the way), but there aren't a lot of hot new products on the market that are inspiring my lust at the moment.

    The iPod hasn't fundamentally changed all that much in several generations. The addition of video on the tiny screen doesn't appeal to me, so no real reason to upgrade there. I desperately need a new phone (a couple of the keys on my Nokia are close to dead) but there's nothing on the market that's lust-worthy. I don't want anything as complicated and involved as a Treo/Blackberry, don't like Motorola's user interface and am not a big fan of the flip phone form factor. I don't want to spend a lot of money on a phone with lots of bells and whistles that I'm not going to use (oh boy, a 2 megapixel camera with a 15 cent cheap plastic lens!).

    Heck, even the new Intel Macs are the same form factor as previous Macs, just faster.

    Waiting for something new and inspiring.....
    tic swayback
    • Hmmm, cell phones ...

      I went for a Motorola V3 variant after going through a process of elimination. Everything else I looked either sucked when it came to battery life (and as it turned out, I replaced the battery in my V3 with a more powerful one anyway), were too big or too clunky. The V3 was the best of a bad lot.

      Turns out it has spent more time being repaired than being used ...
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
    • Just to add ...

      ... I've never experienced "white goods" lust. Never.

      ... well, OK, maybe a few times ...
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • Think brushed metal

        White is totally out for appliances these days. And there are some wicked advanced bits of electronics on the market. Totally overpriced and generally useless, sure, but cool looking.
        tic swayback
        • Yeah

          That brushed metal stuff is pretty cool ... Gahhh! Must. Resist.
          Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
  • I don't care about Gadgets

    Now a new Big Screen TV. There you have something. a new HD DVD player too would be nice.

    The real killer for all this is price and DRM. The gadgets seem to have the same problem too.
  • Lust is bad

    Gadget lust is just a small derivative of shopping lust that many Americans suffer from.

    Maybe if people didn't lust after in-animate objects, the amount of consumer spending based on debt in the US could go down.

    Too many people living paycheck to paycheck with diamond earings and ipods.

    "Needs" people,not lust. Shopping Lust is reserved for those who as an option to buying a product, could just set on fire the same equivalent in cash and not care.

    Credit cards are not a substitute for cash.
    • Nothing beats Johnny Cash

      "Credit cards are not a substitute for cash."

      Nothing beats cash. Credit hangs about until well after the product is dead or obsolete.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
    • I wish I had that

      I'm in debt just trying to live and I don't have the diamond earrings or ipod. I don't have anything really fancy. I make very good wage but costs of living are just too much.

      Eventually I'll be out of debt, I figure another decade or so to go. Then I'll own my home. Credit card debt is STUPID though, glad I don't have that!
  • Hey !

    Does that gadget have a HEMI?
  • I grew out of Gadget Lust about 5 years ago

    Sorry folks, but I outgrew Gadget Lust about 5 years ago. I do not own an IPOD (ahhh, a misanthrope!), do not own an HD TV or DVD player, etc. I do own 2 computers only because I need them for work (and the accompanying wireless system at home). I think that a good many people are just falling into the media hype over all of this. Yes, the internet is VERY useful for information and I do use it for that purpose, but the gadgets have got to go. Now people are living in virtual 3D worlds because their own lives are so boring. What is the old expression... oh yes, "get a life!".

    I suffer from gadget lust daily! Every Sunday add will have a USB storage pen for a good price, CD-R's or DVD's, new Hard drives 160G's $89.00, new computer under $400.00 on and on....
    I use reason a lot,BUT wait until I get some Xmas bonus money I will take it to the store or buy that nice DELL laptop for under $700.00!!!
    I cannot wait. YOU ARE NOT ALONE>>>>> Good Luck!
  • Re: Do you suffer?

    I don't just suffer, I'm a full-blown addict. Luckily though, I have a strong-willed wife who keeps me on a short leash, or else I'd be in debt up to my eyeballs.

    Though it's still a struggle not to fall for the crackberries, core2duos and slingboxes, I've been burned enough times to know that a product is rarely as useful as the manufacturer wants you to believe.

    The real temptation for me these days is the 'sale price'. I have a 4GB Sandisk M-series player that mostly sits on my desk because it was on sale, and I convinced myself that my iPod was just too fragile for active use while mowing the lawn, etc. I have a pair of Shure E4's that I got for $110 below MSRP, though for the most part, I use my $25 Koss KSC-75, primarily because the noise-isolation of the E4's doesn't bode well when the people in your life never STFU.
  • Cures for gadget lust

    Any of these will work individually. Put them together and it's a sure thing.

    1) Buy a house (especially a "historic" one with lots of square footage and lots of rehab)
    2) Have a happy marriage
    3) Have kids
    4) Get involved in volunteer activities that don't require gadgets
    5) Get and stay debt-free

    Note that some of these may be mutually exclusive! >:-)
    • Yeah ...

      I like that list!

      Add to that list working in a job where you get to play with gadgets all day long!
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
  • I need GLA

    Is there a GadgetLust Anonymous. I need them badly.
    Not only do I collect technological gadgets I am also a hardware gadget freak. I mean the hammer and nails hardware.
    I have so many time saving gadgets I just don't have the time to use most of them
    • Quote of the Day

      "I have so many time saving gadgets I just don't have the time to use most of them"

      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes