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The Appetite for Information, Part 2

Your old road is / Rapidly agin’ / Please get out of the new one / If you can’t lend your hand / For the times they are a-changin’.—Bob Dylan

I began last month’s article with a bit of a boast as I mentioned meeting Bob Dylan. I told you about my journey as I was whisked through France on high-speed rail yet able to work at will by utilizing today’s technology. I had the capacity to remote into my office and work on my laptop and accompanying technology as though I had never left my office. I also mentioned some of the blessings, so to speak, of embracing technology and how technology has significantly changed our world and my business. Then I lamented a bit about how the pace has quickened and the fact that such technology sometimes seems to turn from blessing to curse as we are under the constant demand of the information age and what I call “The Appetite for Information.” Let me elaborate further on the downside of technology.

Rude Technology!

As I’ve done my best to keep pace with technology, I found good reason to coin the phrase “rude technology.” Why do I call it rude? Because no matter where we are, how disinterested we may be or whatever our priorities, numerous requests and a high volume of information requiring action can and will barge into our lives simultaneously from anywhere and anyone through a variety of modern technologies.

Imagine this scenario. It’s far from unrealistic. It’s as though you were in a crowded room and everyone wants your attention but the crowd is completely invisible to everyone but you. Through a series of beeps, buzzes and a vast array of ringtones, call waiting, voicemail, email, text and so on, the whole crowd is free to tap you on the shoulder all at once without even realizing each other are present. Nor do they care.

Information comes in fast and furious. It is expected that we keep pace with it, and that’s the bottom line. The consequence is information overload. It’s as though manners have been lost forever in the business world as colleagues, superiors, customers and employees all vie for your attention. There is no orderly line or series of appointments in today’s tech savvy world. Just a certain level of chaos as the barrage of information bombards you, begging for attention in no certain order or priority. Everything from urgent requests to junk mail piles up while we try to find the time to sort it out and follow up.
For example: A call comes into our office for any of our field or office management. The particular person is currently out of the office. If it is picked up personally by our office staff, depending on the level of importance, the call can either be forwarded to their cell phone or directed to their office voicemail. If the caller opts to leave a voicemail, that voicemail is immediately converted to an email and forwarded to the intended recipient’s iPhone. If, by chance, the office staff is inundated with other calls or priorities, not to worry; our automated system will handle the call and offer the same options. Either way, the information flows in and the recipient is notified immediately—and the inquirer expects a response. Depending on the level of importance, the inquirer may well want and have every right to expect a rapid response. Why? Technology! Rude technology!

Once Upon a Time

Some of us older folks have the fond memory of a time in the not-so-distant past when all you had to do was get in your vehicle for an hour-long drive, and it was understood that you were unavailable. That day and the break we once had from the perpetual onslaught of information is long gone and gone forever. To some extent we’ve lost the ability to be unavailable. Now we have to learn to control technology, or it will control us. But as I said the capacity for it to intrude and relentlessly impose on us is nothing short of rude.

The six most expensive words in business: “We’ve always done it this way.”

I’m guessing that some of you are reading this and feeling relieved. You didn’t go with the flow with regard to technology. You’re just fine with the way things have always been. You’re still doing things the way you always have. You may want to re-think that position. You and I don’t have that luxury. The business world is at a crossroad. Either get yourself up to speed technologically or suffer the consequences. The only constant is change, and you better be reinventing your business and not relying on the misconception that you can do what you do the way you’ve always done it.

OK, that’s it for now. Are you hungry for more? Is your stomach growling for answers? Give me another month and I’ll get back to you!

Doug Bellamy is president of Innovative Drywall Systems Inc. dba Alta Drywall, Escondido, Calif., where he is known for his proactive, innovative approach to our changing industry, and use of modern technology and cutting edge products and services.

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