Sunday, September 04, 2011

Why It’s Not Cute To Deny Knowledge of Technology Anymore

Obviously, I’m writing this post as an IT professional. I have a degree in IT, I’ve spent years working in IT, and now I manage IT professionals. I’m getting tired of people complaining about technology. I’d like to remove the excuse in most situations.

A few months ago, my car was acting up. I had to take it to the Kia dealer to be looked at. I spent 8 freaking hours stuck off to the side of the showroom with a TV locked onto a channel playing The View, Real Housewives of New Jersey, and some crappy soap opera. The dealership did have wi-fi, but it didn’t work. I brought my work laptop in the hopes of getting some work done, but wi-fi didn’t work. My iPhone and laptop both saw a network, but it wouldn’t allow me to connect. That typically means the router needs to be rebooted.
I went to complain. Guess what I got? “Uh, I don’t know anything about computers.” I told the guy “Look, unplugging the router requires as much computer skill as unscrewing your gas cap requires mechanical skill. Just pull the plug out of the back, count to 10, and plug it back in.” No good. He wouldn’t do it. So while the mechanic took 8 hours to change 6 spark plugs, I was left bored out of my mind. I almost ran my iPhone’s battery into the red just trying to maintain my sanity.

This happens all the time. I show up for a presentation. The presenter starts complaining about “technology” when he can’t get his laptop to work with the projector. The answer is simple: idiot didn’t get there early enough to set up, and even though he gives the same presentation frequently, hasn’t bothered to learn a simple skill like plugging in a cable and turning a projector on. It’s not that hard.

Look, if you have no interest in learning technology, just be honest with me, and with your audience. I’m tired of hearing about how “technology always fails” when people simply won’t show up a few minutes early to make sure things are set up properly. I understand Murphy’s Law. But you know how you mitigate Murphy’s Law? SHOW UP A FEW MINTUES EARLY TO MAKE SURE THE PROJECTOR IS WORKING! Risk mitigation is not that hard. It just requires a few minutes of thought and preparation, and things should go much smoother.

And seriously, telling me "I don't understand computers" when I'm just asking you to unplug a router, count to 10, and plug it back in again makes you look like a moron. And in 2011, if you haven't learned to show up 5 minutes early to plug your laptop into a projector for a presentation you give regularly, you look even stupider.
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