When I was a boy, I visited Jerusalem. Standing outside the Dome of the Rock, a local boy about my age approached me, trying to sell me a guided tour. He promised to tell me all the Dome’s secrets ~ ones hidden from all the other tour guides. As an example of his exclusive knowledge, he had me place my hand inside a crevice in the Dome’s exterior. When I extracted it, it smelled of perfume. I was astonished.
“You see!” the boy exclaimed, “I know the secrets of the holy shrine, and I can show you many more! Just give me five dollars, and the secrets will be yours.”
Alas, I had no money, so his secrets remained hidden from me, but I would have gladly paid if I could have, as I was enchanted. I now realize that the perfume was a cheap parlor trick designed to seperate a fool from his money, but that’s beside the point. The boy had crafted a fanciful story, probably a mix of truth and outright lies, which is the makeup of most good stories. Since that day outside the Dome, I have travelled around the world, and while the technology that makes storytelling possible has changed dramatically, it is the stories themselves that make travel endessly fascinating.
Consider the Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain ~ the location of a UNESCO world heritage site. According to legend (remember that phrase!), the headless body of the Apostle James arrived in a miraculous stone ship, after which his Christian pallbearers did battle with a fierce dragon sent by a cruel pagan Queen. What a great story! More importantly, the story is a principle reason millions of pilgrims visit the Santiago de Compostela every year, and have for centuries, bringing spiritual satisfaction to the visitor and economic vitality to the visited.
As Plato allegedly said, “Those who tell the stories, rule the world.” When building a smartphone tour, it is easy to become enamored with the cool technology and allow it to carry the story. But you must fight that tendency! Do not fall prey to shiny metal fever, or else find yourself in the bad company of those movie producers who expect a weak story to be carried by stunning special effects. Those movies are, as the old saying goes, “sweet in the mouth but bitter in the stomach.” In other words, they have no lasting value. The movies we treasure, the classics, are the ones that tell the best story.
I love mobile technology ~ I have since first learning about it in the late 1990’s as a Global Solutions Manager for IBM. But I recognize that mobile technology evolves at a blistering pace. In this blog I will write plenty about such technology, but I am well aware that before the ink is dry on my posts (a laughable thought since I write on a computer), the technology I write about will be obsolete. So it goes.
What lasts? Your story about your place. So make it a good one.