Depending On Technology Too Much

Today I was standing at a cafe waiting for my coffee to be made and was eavesdropping on the people next to me.  This guy was talking to this young lady about catching up with her on the weekend and she seemed really keen.  He then said to her, “What’s your number and I’ll text you so you have my number.”  The young girl looked quizzically at him and said, “I can’t remember my number.  What’s yours?”  He laughed and said he couldn’t remember his so they agreed to become friends on Facebook.

It was kind of surreal to watch these two young adults have no idea what their mobile numbers were and instead just default to Facebook and Messenger.  But then I thought about it – I couldn’t remember my home phone number off the top of my head and had to think about it.  We’ve had the same number for about eight years!

That might seem odd, but our home phone hasn’t worked since we moved in June (now some four months) and I can’t be bothered calling the phone company to tell them to fix it because nobody calls us on the landline anyway.

We’ve become entirely reliant on our mobile phones.  Worse though is that we’ve become totally reliant on the contacts list in our phone, we don’t even remember our own number sometimes, let alone other people’s.

It’s not just mobile phones either.  I was reading online that someone in Florida was worried about losing their internet connection in the impending Hurricane Matthew but hadn’t considered storing some water.

We’ve taken some technology for granted and other’s we just get addicted to.  You need fresh water, not having access to Facebook for a day or two is just inconvenient.  That’s insanity.

The funnier story happened to me last night.  We decided to go out for dinner at the mall because we had to grab the boy some new shoes.  We stopped in at Bondi Pizza which is pretty awesome, albeit normally quite busy and hard to get a table at.  Interestingly, we noticed it was half empty so we got pretty excited.

While we were waiting to be seated I saw an older couple come up to the counter to pay their bill, the young lady on the front point of sale system told them what they owed, they paid with credit card and left.

Then she asked us how we were doing and I asked for a table for three.  She apologized and said that their ticket printing system was down so the kitchen couldn’t take orders but that it would be back up in about twenty minutes because “the IT guy was working on it right now.”  I asked if we could sit down, order drinks and wait, but she said they couldn’t seat anyone because the kitchen ticket printing system was down.

We decided to leave, but I couldn’t help wondering, why didn’t they just get pieces of paper and write the orders down by hand and pass them to the kitchen staff?  They’re seating system worked, their order processing system worked, their payment system worked, the only thing not working was the machine that spat out tickets in the kitchen.

Then it dawned on me… Nobody who worked there was older than 25.  Not a single member of staff in that restaurant would remember what it was like before the internet was everywhere.  They were complete slaves to technology and when it failed to work perfectly, the entire business they were working at, stopped.

This isn’t a rant about Millennials or the Internet Generation, this is just a unique observation because it’s not just young people, I see it all the time with people in their businesses when it comes to online stuff.  They completely depend on a series of convoluted interlocking technology pieces that they probably don’t understand and when things don’t work… All of the toys exit the pram in one giant explosion.

With Casual Marketer, I’ve actually made a very concerted effort right from the start to make my life much easier by not becoming overly reliant on too much technology.  I track my newsletter subscriber data in an Excel Spreadsheet.  I do my printing by placing the files on a USB stick and going to the printers.  I mail the newsletter out by sticking them in envelopes and putting stamps on them before sticking them in the postbox.

Every time I get more complicated, something goes wrong and I lose time trying to fix technology.  I’ve implemented some cool new stuff I’m going to talk about soon, but even with that stuff, it was all about making my business easier to run and easier for my customers to buy things!

That should be your benchmark for technology, “Does this thing help me achieve my outcome more easily and could I get by without it?”  If you can clear those hurdles easily enough then you’re gold but if you struggle, then you have a technology issue you need to address before it catches you out.

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