As is the case on most Sunday afternoons; I had the opportunity to get caught up with my daughters on the phone today. My oldest lives in Tampa and has always prided herself on being the technophile of the family. Name the latest electronic gadget and she is all over it! Today was her day to shine in the information technology limelight.
The second sentence that comes out of my mouth whenever speaking to one of my three daughters is, “So what’s new?” The first sentence is typically, “Hey, monkeybutt!” It is an inside family joke; but trust me, they still laugh at it! On this quiet Sunday, little did I know the Pandora’s box my innocent second question was opening for my oldest daughter.
Within minutes the entire story of her new computer workstation was revealed to me. I was able to follow the basics of her latest hardware behemoth; the 32 GB of onboard memory, the 1 TB hard drive, the dual HD video monitors, and the highly advanced graphics card. In the past I have found myself searching computer terms on Google as we spoke; all so I could just keep up with her somewhat intelligently.
Today I was thrown a new techno-curveball as my daughter shared her latest high-tech acquisition. As it turns out, she now owns her own cloud! She and her boyfriend are currently in the process of moving all of their photos, music, documents, and all forms of games onto their private cloud.
If you are as technology-challenged as I am; please allow me to explain. (And yes, I had to visit Google to get it all straight.) By having everything up on a cloud, my daughter does not have to rely on storage within any one of her hardware devices. She can go to any PC-like appliance and can access any of her files from anywhere in the world that has an Internet connection. In other words, she has now become the Mighty Oz! Ignore the twenty-six year old blonde behind the curtain!
I have to admit that the last time I got excited about a cloud was while lying on my back in tall grass. All of a sudden, the thunderhead above me began to resemble a crocodile. No, I was not an overly imaginative adolescent out on a summer’s day. I am reasonably sure it was sometime in the past year or so!
Truth be told, I have always worked as a senior executive within high technology companies. I can keep up with new concepts as they are introduced into the healthcare IT marketplace. But I am also aware of my limits. I carry a smart phone, yet primarily use it to make and receive phone calls. I have a laptop, but use it for correspondence, spreadsheets, and my calendar. My web presence is limited to my blog site; which mercifully is so highly automated and intuitive that I could not hope to screw it up!
There is an age gap of about twenty-six years between my oldest daughter and me. By most definitions, that equates to a generation. Yet there are some areas where we are separated by what seems like eras. As I reflect on the conversation that my little girl and I had today; I feel like the victim of unplanned obsolescence! I can truly say that I have become a relic in my own time! I have ceased to keep up with the times. Next stop will be black dress socks with sandals and tacky Bermuda shorts!
I have reflected back on my own father and how amused I was at his apparent lack of technological sophistication. He was perplexed that I would need to carry a phone around with me at all times. Forget the fact that it was the size of a brick and in retrospect looked ridiculous; I was riding on the leading edge! My father carried an ATM card yet never used it; preferring instead to withdraw cash from the bank in person.
If there was one thing my father knew how to do; it was using his uncanny ability to make friends instantly. He had an ease and humor that broke down barriers with strangers. It became readily apparent that he genuinely cared for all people on a deep level.
Last week I attended a national conference that focused exclusively on healthcare information technology. I bared witness to the very latest in high performance hardware and the most sophisticated software available. In the process, I represented my healthcare analytics company; which is in the process of forever altering the healthcare quality and cost landscape. I made some very solid connections and foresee some very lucrative deals coming out of my work.
As I contrast my performance at this conference to my conversation with my daughter; I have had a minor epiphany. For all the technology in the world, nothing can replace the power of making a personal connection with another person. The feel of a firm handshake, the look of acknowledgement in someone’s eye, the warmth of a hand on a shoulder; this is what the human experience is all about!
In an age of online meetings, emails, webcasts, podcasts, and virtual conferences; I am indeed a relic. I am one of those few lucky individuals who still knows how to conduct business in person! It makes me kind of proud to be obsolete!