As Technology Evolves, So Must We

Feb 11, 2015

We’re just over a month into the New Year and already I feel like I’ve fallen behind on my own personal goal of keeping up with technology. Sure, we all use some form of technology every day, but I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to truly keep up with all the technology advancements that happen each day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to start the next round of technophobia; just stating a fact. And it’s become apparent to me over the last year, more than ever before, that we’ve now reached a leveling point in the current cycle of technological change. How did I come up with this revelation (genius, right)? It happened when I met someone who was raving over his new iPhone 6+, not for it’s size or the quality of the picture, but for the battery life. Given his use, he could now get a full day in without having to recharge his phone. As a long-time iPhone user, that was the buying feature for him. Not sure it was worth the extra $150 over the iPhone 6, but hey, who am I to argue.

Interesting fact? Not really unless perhaps you analyze it to pieces (not that I do that…). When Glen (MacDonald, whom I started the business with) and I got our first blackberry devices in 2005, long-time users said it was about time. We’d always felt (as well as most others at that time), that this was a yet another way you get tied to work (those of you who work from home know what I mean). We ended up going from thinking it could only further disrupt our personal lives, to not being able to live without it. And the reason why (in our case at least) was more about time management than anything else. We truly had more freedom (well me at least, Glen used to turn it off every night J).

We hadn’t yet moved into our first office, so we worked out of our homes. For Glen that wasn’t as much of an issue because he was typically able to connect from a client’s site (where he spent the majority of his time). For me, it wasn’t quite that easy as I was more often on the road than somewhere I could get online to do email, etc. It was early in the summer and my family and I we were about to leave on a take out the word “family” here holiday. Our business was in a growth phase. We were trying to recruit someone to help me with sales and Glen on the technical side (ended up being Krys). Laura (who also worked from her home) was busy looking for office space. Needless to say it was a busy time and I wasn’t sure I could go. Then as now, family ALWAYS came first and I couldn’t deprive Joanne and the kids of some time away. So we took the plunge and Glen and I got ourselves the newest blackberry on the market. LCD color screen, scroll wheel, full keyboard (only thing I miss), you know the one. A week later, we were off for some fun on the Jersey shore and New York City.

At the beach, it wasn’t so bad. I’d sneak a peek at my new blackberry every chance I’d get and if I had to respond to an email, I’d duck away for a couple of minutes to do so. The kids didn’t really notice and Joanne was (as always) very supportive and happy we got away. It’s when we went to New York and were waiting to go up to the top of the Empire State Building that it hit me, hard! I’d gotten an urgent message about a problem at a client and Glen needed my help to navigate the resolution. It wouldn’t take long, just a couple of emails and a quick call and since we had some time in line, I did it right there. Well my daughter looks at me and says, “Dad, put down your toy and talk to me.” Needless to say, I was embarrassed (because of course everyone else in line gave me a dirty look) and that’s when I realized I was hooked! Granted, it was for business, but I probably could have gotten by with a phone call until we were done. But it’s what I said to her that resonates with me to this day. I looked at her and agreed that I shouldn’t be doing work (I clarified the toy thing) while on vacation. But then I also added that it’s “because of this toy that we get to take holidays”.

Fast forward ten years and my now 18 year old daughter couldn’t live without her iPhone or her laptop. But rather than it being a “toy” or a business tool (which it is for me. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.), it’s simply her phone. And since she’s never had an actual cellphone, she really only knows her smartphone as her “phone.”

So why does any of this matter? Because, in my view, as technology evolves, it moves from being the new shiny thing to just another part of our daily life. Take for example getting around an unfamiliar place, we just bring up the mapping app on our smartphones and almost instantly get directions. Although we still get two printed newspapers everyday at home, I get the vast majority of my news online. When Joanne wants to know when my next business trip is, she looks at my Outlook calendar. Restaurants, hotels, flights, I even pay for my Tim Horton’s coffee with Passbook and rarely print out a boarding pass for a flight. Today, it’s all on my iPhone!

All of this to say that as technology evolves so must we because if we don’t, we are left behind (so to speak). Certainly anyone can still live without any technology. Think about it, how did we all get here in the first place? However, with evolution come progression and the advancement of new ideas. Those new ideas are what brings us those “new shiny toys” we all want so much (go ahead, admit it). Therefore, in the end, it’s not so much that we should evolve with the technology, but more that we should just.. continue.. to evolve.

Bradley Brodkin

President and CEO Highvail Inc.

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