Have you noticed how much technology has changed the way we communicate?
We’re not talking about using email or smartphones and text messages here. Technology has actually remade the way we put words together.
It probably goes back to internet searches. It didn’t take most of us long at all to learn how to Google something like “coffee shops Scottsdale” or “Scottsdale coffee shops” to get directions to the most important stop on our upcoming shopping trip. And for those who it took a little longer to get the hang of it — let’s say he’s an older guy named Uncle Leonard who was constantly sending emails asking “How do you use that googly thingy again?” — there was always Let Me Google That For You. But of course the emails keep coming because even when you answer his questions he deletes the messages as soon as he reads them so he has to ask the same question again. Those questions will probably keep coming long after Uncle L’s gone on to a place where the Wi-Fi signal is always strong and data minutes are always free. Not that he’ll know what that means. Or be able to find a route to get there.
Where were we? Oh … communication has changed.
So admit it: Did it take you a while to get used to talking to Siri or Alexa or Google or … what’s that other one … Trixie or Bricksy or BB8 or whatever? The first few times you asked her / him / it / them for something, did you just automatically say “please”?
Not anymore, huh? You’ve probably figured out that the same algorithms that let you search online using a minimum of words also work for voice commands with smart devices. You’ve probably messed around with telling your favorite assistant what you want by using as few words as possible, cutting back and back on syllables until it finally throws up its virtual hands and says, “I’m sorry — You are completely unintelligible. Please select another language.”
And we don’t know about you, but some people tell us that we’ve started talking to them in two-word sentences too, but we don’t notice. Doesn’t matter.
Siri’s not looking for conversation
The fascinating thing is, when you ask your assistant, or Google Maps, for that matter, for something like “coffee shops Scottsdale,” it’s not like asking for a specific destination. If you enter or say “3617 North Goldwater Boulevard, Scottsdale” — and if you’re typing it Google will politely correct your spelling of “Boulevard” — you’ll get a nice map of how to get to our Sip Coffee and Beer House in Old Town, complete with a bunch of nice photos of the place. (They’re not as nice as the real thing. You have to come here for that.) In other words, it responds with an exact location because you asked for a specific address or business.
But asking for “Scottsdale coffee shops” is way different. Are you going to see a map? Yes. Is it going to show you every coffee shop in Scottsdale? No. For a map to do that it would need to be nearly full-size, and your screen’s not big enough for that. Still, everything you need is right there, on your phone, waiting for you to choose a coffee shop. And all you did was speak three words.
Note: We’re not going to get into the mind-blowing fact that as soon as those words passed your lips your phone swept them away on a lightspeed journey to a server or servers who-knows-where, and combined the search results with real-time information from no fewer than four satellites orbiting the Earth 13,000 miles above your head, at 8,700 miles per hour, just to tell you which direction to turn at the next light.
Incredible. And you didn’t even have to use a whole sentence.
Of course, there are lots of Scottsdale coffee shops.
And for you, being able to call them all up on your phone with just those three words means convenience on the scale of a genie in a bottle, only you’re not limited to three wishes. What it means for us is … all of our competitors show up too; pages and pages of them. (Or dozens and dozens of map markers.) So as much as we’d like your three words to be “Sip coffee shop,” we understand that many more people are asking “coffee shop Scottsdale.”
And if that’s you, we’re OK with that. Here’s why:
First, it probably means you’ve never been here. So if we’re doing our job right, offering the food and drinks and beers and cocktails people want, and we’re getting good reviews, we stand a good chance you’ll pick us out of your search results and … then you’ll get here.
And once you do, then it’s up to us to help you decide that you don’t need to spend any more time searching Scottsdale coffee shops; that you’ve found your new destination.
The fact is — and this is one of the facts we’re proudest of — lots of the people we see day after day didn’t need directions to get here. They knew exactly where they were going.
We promise to do our best to make you one of those people. Most of them speak in complete sentences, but honestly, not all. So come on in and talk to us however you want.