When Technology = Frustration

iStock_000007680190XSmallI just read an article in Newsweek that started out saying “in Silicon Valley the world is divided into two kinds of people…Those who “get it” and those who don’t”. It went on to say that the ones who “get it” understand that the Internet is the biggest thing that has ever happened in the history of the human race, and the ones that don’t “get it” are entire industries like the music industry, real estate, cable TV providers, newspapers and publishing,  and the list goes on.

This poses quite a conflict I see in some people these days…..How hard do we fight technology?  When I look at how far technology has advanced our company recently, its amazing. We’ve got the IT and Productivity tools we could only dream of 10 years ago, that allow us to achieve and measure higher sales & productivity, give us the ability to measure costs & margins on each job, and on and on.  These are the really good things about the digital revolution, when technology works.

So back to the other side of this conflict, which includes the Frustration. I understand how frustrating technology can be, especially when it doesn’t not work as promised. It’s gotten to the point that you need  to be fairly proficient with your computer skills just to do your job. My personal frustration has been trying to get our AT&T U-Verse programed on all of our TV’s, and figure out the new channel scheme, and TiVo, and all the other junk that comes with it that I did not want. And to make matters worse, the words on the remote they furnish are so small that even with reading glasses you can’t see them, so you have to depend on their menu driven (by the remote you can’t read) interface. I don’t think Apple designed this one. It’s probably not as bad as I make it sound, but watching TV used to be a lot easier.

In the end , it doesn’t pay to fight progress & technology, or the pack will just pass us by. I watch the print shops that have disappeared over the last couple of years. True, there was always some reason or circumstance, but most of the time if you dig deep enough, you find they were out of date. I find that a pretty motivating reason to stay up on technology. If you’re in the position of pushing the company forward, you have to be careful. If you push to hard, it’s possible to experience push back from your team, and sometimes with good reason. Technology does not always live up to the promise, especially when companies are overly eager to get something to market (Remember Vista). I think it takes common sense, a willingness to listen (and not be stubborn), and somehow figure out how to keep moving forward. Thats all.

The article I was reading (Newsweek 1/25/2010 “You can’t fight the future” by Daniel Lyons) actually went on to talk about China and the issue of Google threatening to pull out if the Chinese government does not stop censoring content. You could probably add the Chinese Government to that list of people who don’t “get it”, at least in this case. In the end I think the people of China will figure out how to get uncensored content. This isn’t a political commentary, just another example on a larger scale of people trying to fight  the loosing battle of “fighting Technology”.

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