There was a time in my life when I felt a bit like C3PO from Star Wars. Having spent 7 years being the non-technical partner in a technology company I evolved by a process of osmosis, from a ‘frustrated computer user’ to a fully-fledged badge wearing geek.
Guilty by association, the clients expected me to be technical enough to understand the concepts of ‘tech speak’, on the other hand being human enough to sympathise with them when their IT wasn’t working.
While it may sometimes have been a simple case of P.E.B.K.A.C. (Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair) a fair proportion of my role was pacifying frustrated techies for whom it was all too obvious and explaining that the CEO of an international multi-million pound company, may not necessarily appreciate ‘a code 10′ (“it must be user error”) as a reason why his internet had stopped working.
During this time I realised that whilst there’s no doubt geekiness is a behaviour pattern that can either be acquired over time (or perhaps caught like the lurgies), my own growing passion stemmed from the realisation that when used correctly, technology simply helped people do more of whatever they were best at.
One of my all time favourite quotes is from Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer:
“The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do.
It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn’t think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential.”
I admit that high speed processors and virtualised networks don’t excite me like they would the stereotypical geek, but the idea of accessing my company accounting system from my phone in real time at the click of a button? The ability to communicate with thousands of people instantly across the web from the supermarket checkout queue and the opportunity to collaborate seamlessly with industry experts world-wide to deliver a world- class solution from my desk?
That’s what gets me excited about technology.
So, if the technology you’re using isn’t freeing up time to do the things that you do best and enjoy most, if your systems aren’t helping you be more creative, more productive and more profitable – and if you’re not having fun – then perhaps you simply haven’t got it right yet.
Photo: Bounty Hunting School – Language Course
By Stéfan available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license