The profile picture you see is of my youngest son and myself. I use it because it reminds me of what different worlds we live in. Matt is a 3D artist and a environment designer specializing in lighting for a local game company. I can barely understand what that is, although he has been explaining it to me for the last 8 years. The subject I would like to speak on is how quickly computer technology can change things and how we need to be open minded to it in our future business decisions. (Written by a struggling, low-tech business owner.)
Thank God for spell check, or this article would not even exist. To some who read this it may seem pathetically behind the times. I am speaking to anyone who, like myself, has found they are still way behind the technology curve and know it's hurting their business.
I have found it difficult, and sometimes even uninteresting, to try to learn new stuff on the computer or my cell phone. Forget about things like the iPod, Blackberries, Facebook or even basic email. And what the hell is "cut and paste!" Just when we think we're doing ok, someone sends us an SMS text message. And we manage to open that screen...only to wonder at the end of the message what "lol" means. It's like you try, but every day the tech world moves on without you. A little ray of hope, you have gotten far enough along to be able to navigate this site and read articles.
That may sound like a first grader whining about not being able to read all the books in the library, but some are just too hard. Well, to me it's more like an adult who can't read at all. You're embarrassed and not able to compete in the job market, or in the business world, very well at all. Also finding yourself falling out of the loop with family and friends. The old phone just doesn't cut it any more.
Facing this sad tale of woe, I decided to get help from my sons. Both are in their 30's, and have a solid understanding of most the current gadgetry. It soon became apparent it was going to be too aggravating for them with the lack of basic knowledge I had. My son Matt showed me some basic stuff and told me with what I considered "tough love" that he wasn't going to help me until I crashed around for awhile (that is, until I put in some SEAT TIME). He said "just keep moving on the screen with that little arrow till its a hand and then click the damn mouse". And, "keep doing it till you explore as much as you can stand."
Spending as much time as I could stand, and getting a few more tips, I started to find my way around, noticing how many things just used the same stuff I had already learned. The more time spent and the more things attempted, I got better! A lot better!
For my New Year's resolution for '09, I made a promise to myself that this would be the year I would work as hard as I could on this obvious weakness. I have come a long way this year spending many hours playing with my cell phone (changed the ring tone, took pictures and sent them to my email) big deal right? Huge to me. Also, I have spent a ton of time on the old computer learning something new every day, like everybody else.
The real testimonial is the fact that I am even writing this article. Just a few months ago, I would not have been capable. I wouldn't have been able to even fill out the profile info, and adding a picture? Forget it. I have been in business for 15 years, and have loved being self-employed. And now that I'm heading in a forward direction in a part of my business that has needed attention for a long time, I'm even more excited than ever. I know many would say that a good computer class could have helped with a lot of this and I'm sure it would have. This is just another approach to getting there.
Even with classes, SEAT TIME has still got to be high. There are many ways to get up to speed. Mine started with a commitment to making it happen. I hope some of you have seen yourselves in this article and have felt encouraged. You know you need to understand this stuff; we all do. For the rest of you: don't tear me apart too bad, OK?