New technology is awesome. I video chatted with my brother in Korea earlier this week and we both laughed at Charlie Sheen’s latest tweets. (Man, if only I could garner over a million followers in 24 hours …)
My brother really knows what he’s doing. He sends me techno-updates on par with the folks at Gizmodo, and I try valiantly to keep up, if only with the lingo.
When he comes to town, I beg him to update my iPod account and download some movies for me to watch — that’s how lame I am. See, he’s 25 and in a completely different generation than me. Lucky fellow; we were still using floppy disks when I graduated from college.
But I have a leg up on my parents for sure, although they are both starting to experiment with the 21st century. Dad has just discovered smart phones. He called me today from his rotary phone to tell me about this device called the "Android," or "Droid" for short.
With this kind of phone I could — with this thing called an "app" — make it function like a carpenter’s level, I learned. Now think of all the things you could do with a level: Hang a picture, install a stove, set tile … the possibilities are endless.
My mother is ahead of him. She is by far the fastest texter I have met. She texts 75 words per minute on her pullout keyboard. She can even text and drive because she has a phone that talks to her — which is hilarious.
When my brother and I found out that her phone automatically read aloud every text, we sent some terribly embarrassing messages (that might be the reason she was kicked out of her Bible study group).
But enough about my family. How ’bout yours? And your clients? Are they tech-savvy, or do you just think they are?
I recently sold a nice new house to a truck driver. He’s 46, single and a great guy. He does have a computer, but funny enough, he does not have a printer. We had to meet at my office to sign every addendum, and he preferred to take home a paper file rather than have anything e-mailed to him.
I was flabbergasted. Who wants all that paper? But then, I started working with another buyer. This guy was a self-employed handyman. He had a computer, and a printer, but preferred to do business by fax, thank you very much.
This threw me a little, as I no longer own a fax machine. I was discussing this with a young office worker and he suggested we search on Craigslist to find a fax machine for the office, just in case this happened again. "Did you know they used to be called ‘fax-a-mile’ machines?" he asked.
"A fax-a-mile?" I responded. (Er, facsimile.)
"Yeah," he replied, "Isn’t it funny how they used to do business over such short distances? And now we work worldwide."
Yes, friends, we have a technology gap in this country. As well as a spelling and pronunciation problem.
It just goes to show that we can’t simply rely on new technology to do everything. Being in the people business means adapting to how our clients like to work.
So while I currently have one deal in escrow with a guy employed in Afghanistan and we have no problem exchanging documents and communicating, I also have another couple who have one land line, period.
This year I made resolutions for the rest of my family. My mother will learn how to e-mail. My mother-in-law will learn how to turn on a computer.
My brother will understand that I am not always tuned into Skype. As for dad, I would love to help him learn how to text and use the level app, but his fingers are literally the size of large sausages. Poor old guy.