Friday, February 19, 2010

What do keyboards have to do with farming?

At the recent Agritourism, Small Fruit & Vegetable Conference at Lake Ozark, an interesting story was relayed. The standard keyboard that we all use is referred to as the Qwerty keyboard (QWERTY are the top letters on the left-hand side, with the Y in the middle). The Qwerty keyboard was designed in such a way as to slow typers down. Why, you ask? Because on old typewriters, the keys hammered the paper, and if you typed too fast, they got stuck. The Qwerty keyboard has letters that you typically would use together on opposite sides of the keyboard and letters that you use most frequently on the left (makes sense, since so many of us are right-handed). It did the job of slowing typists down and reduces key jam on typewriters...of course, no one cares about that anymore because our keyboards no longer hammer paper.

But did you know that the Qwerty keyboard isn't the only kind of keyboard? August Dvorak patented the Dvorak keyboard in 1936. It has commonly used keys on the right side, and the layout, as you can see in the picture, is vastly different than the Qwerty keyboard. In fact, it's not just different, it's also faster. Because we no longer use typerwriters very often, the Dvorak keyboard allows typists' fingers to blaze across the keyboard.

...So, if it's so great, why doesn't everyone use the Dvorak keyboard? Why aren't Qwerty keyboards being found by the ton in landfills and being retrofited by the second? Just like with any other product, it can be the best in the world, but if no one thinks they need it, what's the point? Dvorak never managed to make his keyboard a huge success because no one in the marketplace wanted to make the switch.

The same is true in farming and gardening. You can have the best product in the world, but if no one wants it, sees the value of having it, or knows how to cook it, why would they buy it? When you're ordering your seeds, remember that tomatoes and peppers are the biggest sellers at farmers' markets. Although you might love lemon cucumbers (as do I), people tend to be a little suspicious of them at first, and like Dvorak's keyboard, they might not catch on. Order wisely!

No comments:

Post a Comment