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Geeks vs. Dinosaurs: Balancing Technology and Common Sense

August 9, 2010
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Angela D. Harris

After conducting an informal technology usage survey a few weeks ago, it was interesting to find that the HVAC industry appears to be rather divided between geeks and dinosaurs. The geeks seem to know all about e-media and social media, and they trend toward being gadgety, boasting smart phones, iPods, iPads, and a plethora of other technology devices. The dinosaurs, on the other hand, seem to still be trying to figure out what e-media and social media are and why they would ever need a cell phone or an iPod in the first place, let alone an iPad.

Balancing these two technology extremes begs the question, “What do you get when you cross a geek with a dinosaur?” Answer: Common sense.

POCKET PROTECTORS NOT REQUIRED

It is not necessary to sport a pocket protector or be a high-level programmer in order to be a geek. What was once a negative term in school halls has transformed into a new culture of technology creators and users who prove daily that there is more to them than meets the eye. When new technology hits the market, they own it as quickly as their pocketbooks will allow. Finding new ways to make technology work for them and their job is part of what makes a geek tick.

Their tech lifestyle can be overwhelming at times, especially when they work to solve a simple problem with complex technology. Bottom line: A geek loves technology for the sake of technology.

DENIAL CAUSES EXTINCTION

Not based solely on age, dinosaurs are actually stuck in a way of thinking. Trapped by the concepts of necessity and sufficiency, they often feel the lifestyle they live and the business they run is acceptable and that new technology would be more noise and clutter in their day-to-day existence than it would be helpful. Discouraged by complex terms and foreign social concepts, dinosaurs have a tendency to shun new technology and its applications, choosing instead the tried and true methods of the past. The idea of approaching old problems in a new way doesn’t seem to make sense to them. Some go as far as to deny the mounting technological reformation, but overall, they just don’t find technology necessary and they aren’t interested. Bottom line: A dinosaur is destined for extinction.

TECH SAVVY STRATEGIES

In between the geek and the dinosaur we find a common sense approach to technology that contractors should consider applying first to their thought process and second to their business process. Granted, any level of technology involvement has its ups and downs, but as technology and its usage rapidly grows, it could be argued that limited tech savvy is detrimental to a business’ health and well being. This doesn’t mean that every tech gadget to hit the market should find its way to an application in the office, but examining the new technology with the business’s daily processes in mind could reveal a time and money saving way of doing better business.

Some of the most important things anyone can do before purchasing, downloading, or adopting new technology is to stop, analyze, and strategize each tech choice. When analyzing, ask a few pertinent questions and provide honest answers. What is the technology designed to do? What is it capable of doing? Do I have something that already does this? How much will it cost to purchase and implement? Do I need it or do I want it?

Once the decision to use new technology has been made, it is important to come up with an overall strategy for its implementation and usage. If a contractor buys a great piece of software but never has his staff trained and his business processes analyzed in light of the new technology, then that software box isn’t really any more valuable than an unread book.

Finding a middle ground between geeks and dinosaurs could bring the next big idea to your business’ doorstep. Of course we’ll have to come up with a name for these middle grounders, but you can help me with that. Post your middle grounder title to www.facebook.com/achrnews and maybe we’ll create a new HVAC tech culture of our own.

Publication date: 08/09/2010
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