A recent Globe and Mail Article -- Smartphones: Blood stains at our fingertips -- by Iain Marlow and Omar El Akkad discussed an extremely relevant issue concerning today's technology that I knew nothing about: Coltan.
Coltan is a rare mineral located -- in its largest deposit -- in Eastern Congo, a noted war-ridden region of Africa. But, even in its rarity, it makes it into our everyday North American lives in the form of tantalum: an integral part of the circuitry inside our favourite smartphones, PCs, laptops and other treasured high-tech devices.
The mining and sale of this expensive mineral is known to fund warlords in Congo, while the consuming public remains oblivious. Much like the catastrophic impact of Blood Diamonds only a couple years ago, Coltan is the new-found blood on our ignorant hands.
As consumers, we thrive off of the marketer's message. The guarantee of high-quality technology in an unavoidably digital age sold to us at a fair and reasonable price.
But we're being duped. Or at least the segment of the consuming public that cares about human life is being duped. And I would hazard to say that that segment is markedly large.
When asked, we rise to the occasion -- Americans and Canadians alike. I believe this wholeheartedly. If paying a little more for my BlackBerry or iPhone or iMac means saving lives, do I really have the choice to say no?
When disaster struck Haiti or Pakistan or even right here at home, did we say no? Did we say we wouldn't help? This is another disaster, one that has killed millions of lives for more than a decade.
So, if it takes some more money for me to have the freedom to write this on my MacBook in a comfy chair with no threat at my door, then I readily accept that option. Because I think one thing we certainly can't afford to say is no.
But, alas, one large part of this issue is marketing the need for that support, to reach out and help those in need. This next decade will present to us a new era in messaging and marketing. Wherein it is not only about the latest technology and its bevy of indescribably awesome features, but also about what that organization represents and what your purchase stands for.
Please read this article and pass it on: Smartphones: Blood stains at our fingertips. Change is now at your fingertips.