Too-Cool Tools: Embracing TomorrowPosted on September 6, 2013 by
“The future starts today, not tomorrow.” ~ Pope John Paul II
Remember last month, when I talked about how amazing it is that one little smartphone or tablet can do so many useful things? Well, not everyone has much use for smartphones.
Take my Uncle Milt: He’s convinced that true happiness lies in a phone that’s just a phone. And he’s pretty sure iPads are, well, evil. Every time I see him, he grumbles about the latest new-fangled technology. Bad enough they invented the fax machine, he says – he never did get the hang of that thing. Too many buttons, and he never knew whether to dial 9 or 1 first. And don’t even mention that curly fax paper!
Well, yesterday Uncle Milt’s mentor told him he has to learn how to use an iPad. Uncle Milt is not a happy camper.
Does this sound like you? If it does, this month’s column is for you.
Maybe a phone that’s just a phone really is right for you. But at the very least, you need to know what the alternatives are, because your competition is going to be using all this stuff, even if you decide not to use it yourself.
So just for fun, let’s say Uncle Milt still refuses to upgrade his phone. Let’s match him with one of his “gotta have the latest thing” competitors. We’ll call him Rex.
The day starts off great – Uncle Milt and Rex both get a message from the same homeowner, who is in dire financial straits. She needs to get out of that house, and fast. She’s not answering her phone, but in her message she gives the address. Rex texts her, and gets a text back that he can come right over.
Uncle Milt calls the seller, too, but he just has a plain old phone so he can’t text. He waits about an hour for the seller to call back, but she doesn’t. So Uncle Milt calls again and leaves a message that he’ll be there at 11 a.m. You’ve got to jump on these opportunities right away, you know! Before Uncle Milt leaves, he checks comps for the neighborhood. He packs up hard copies of the documents he’ll need. He can revise them at the home office later, if need be.
Coincidentally, the men both have car trouble and find themselves in need of some assistance. They could fix the car themselves if they just had a wrench. Rex builds one from scrap using a 3-D printer which he just happens to have with him. Uncle Milt, on the other hand, calls Allstate, and waits.
On the way to the seller’s house, Rex uses his hands-free iPad to find neighborhood comps on the Internet. Back at his office, his assistant puts together a tentative offer based on the comps, completes the paperwork, and “parks” it in the cloud where Rex can get to it (on the Internet, basically). Rex turns on the phone’s GPS app and zips over to the seller’s house without getting lost. After Rex inspects the house and talks to the seller, he pulls up the paperwork, makes some changes, and has the seller sign the contract right on the iPad which he then emails a copy to the title company, the seller and himself. He takes high-quality photos of the house and sends them to the contractor he plans to use.
Uncle Milt, in the meantime, hasn’t even gotten to the seller’s house yet. The address is turning out to be hard to find, and he’s trying to read his big paper map while he drives. He has to pull the car over to fold the darned thing back up – maybe that curly fax paper isn’t so bad after all!
By the time poor Uncle Milt even talks to the seller for the first time, Rex has already closed the deal, and the seller is ready to move on with her life. And that means Uncle Milt is out in the cold.
All of the technology I mentioned exists now. Isn’t that something?
Okay, it was a stretch to fit in the 3-D printer, but only a stretch. And at least I didn’t try to bring in a driverless car, or special glasses that show you Internet links to whatever you’re looking at. Because those, too, are already a reality.
Whenever there’s new technology, there’s resistance. I’ll bet people even got upset about the printing press when that was invented. Not all technology is an improvement, of course, and you’ll want to use discretion in deciding whether to use it. But dismissing all new technology out of hand is going to cost you money. Maybe a lot of money! Can you really afford not to try some of it out?