Posted 02/11/2015

Embrace Technology

I am completely self-sufficient on my iPhone

My life is a mobile life. I am completely self-sufficient on my iPhone. Wherever I am, I can book flights on my BA app, search hotel apps for accommodation, order food from my Tesco app, bet on the football with my Betfair app. I can order a cab with Addison Lee or Halo. I have immediate access to my bank account, stock market quotes and the performance of companies I am working with as required. If I see a product I like I can use my barcode reader and scan it in.

If I am on a business trip I can check the weather in the location I am heading for so I can pack the right mix of clothes. When I get to the airport the boarding pass is on the phone. Everything I need to know for my trip is on my phone (automatically backed up, because you don’t want to lose your phone and the substance of your life in one go).

If I have an emotional reaction to a place, a person, a painting, I can take an image, improve it, adjust it, upload it to a site, send it to friends.

If I have a thought in the middle of the night – and those are often the very best thoughts, business-changing thoughts – I reach for my smartphone, put the idea into it, send myself a text and then I have released the idea to the technology. My mind is freed up. I can go back to sleep.

Everything is at my fingertips. Context is king – not content. IT consumers have to have content when and where they want it; otherwise it is useless. Soon this information will be ubiquitous, all around us on screens – in taxi cabs or on city walls – allowing us to access personal information through fingerprint recognition. You won’t even need the mobile phone.

Technology is now ubiquitous

I don’t have a PA or a secretary, but I do have the latest gadgetry. This I find enormously liberating, which plays into a personal fear of mine: a fear of lack of control. I am, I have to say it, a bit of a control freak. I really do not like to delegate a significant part of my life. I am happy to delegate within the business, I think it is vital – but in terms of, say, booking flights or hotels, I want to do it myself. And technology allows me to do just that. It helps me control, more importantly to be in control of, my life.

What I love about technology is that potential of freedom. There is of course a dark side: it can be over-complex, frustrating, even dangerous – we all know about those dangers – but like any inanimate part of our lives, it is the people who use technology who make it dangerous. Guns and knives by themselves do not have the power to hurt people. There is still a surprising lack of trust in technology. Surprising because the truth is that there is no alternative.

Consider some of these realities:

  • ŸThe exponential growth in the impact of technology will continue to radically transform the way we live and work. Stay at of the cutting edge, not behind the blade.
  • ŸUS government estimates indicate that anyone studying now will have had 10 to 14 jobs by the age of 38. The job for life has gone for ever. In business we have to recognise this knowledge shift now.
  • ŸTechnology has become an indispensable tool in the education of today’s students: they think in different ways – Generation Net. If we don’t embrace this generation, they will slip through our fingers.

And yet, there persists a stubborn, Luddite belief that we can manage without engaging with the change happening every day. But the truth is that the clock will not be turned back.

It is great at one level that there has been a revival of vinyl records – but that is all to do with the acoustics involved. It does not actually signal a reversal of progress. Think about the 1.1 billion users on Facebook. That is a trend that is not going to be kicked. So there is no advantage in fighting technology. It is an unnecessary waste of energy in a battle that can’t be won.

As Isaac Asimov said: “I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them.”

This is the time to ride the wave of change without being dragged under by the weight of old-school thinking. In the most brutal of terms: it’s this way or no way.

Embrace technology. Enhance efficiency. Emancipate yourself.

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