It’s sort of a rite of passage at this point to go out to the American Bar Association’s TECHSHOW (yes, that’s right: ALL CAPS), and to then write a recap post about your experience. I mean, everybody’s doing it: Beverly Michaelis, Bob Ambrogi, Larry Port . . . and, yeah: pretty much everybody else who attended. So, I’m not about to stand by idly while everyone else gets in the layup line. Writing a blog post where I don’t have to scrounge for a topic . . . yes, please. But, let’s see if I can’t write about TECHSHOW in a way that no one else does.
While I understand that technology bears efficiency, and that there certainly are useful things that technology has wrought, in large part, I think we’re a bit overly stimulated on the topic these days. If I never went on the internet again, it wouldn’t bother me at all; if I never held a smartphone again, I would be entirely comfortable with that. In fact, I don’t (do that last thing) anyway: I gave up my smartphone for work sometime ago, and my personal cellphone is Walter White’s second cellphone. I referred to a notepad and pen that I brought out to TECHSHOW to keep track of my schedule as ‘my iPhone’. I wouldn’t say that I’m a Luddite; I’m just utterly agnostic. I don’t get wound up about gadgets, and the uses of technology don’t significantly affect my personal life. It sort of all just washes over me.
But, I still go to TECHSHOW. Why? If you haven’t been, you may be wondering if there is a place for the technology-ambivalent there. There is. Here’s how:
-As with most conferences, it’s really still all about the networking. Even if you do much of your outreach via email and social media (which I admit I do), it’s still important to (occasionally) solidify those relationships with real-life interactions.
-At this point in my career, I’ve seen more product demos than . . . well: than a guy who has seen a ton of product demos; so, I have a very high threshold for actually using a technology application. It’s got to be reasonably-priced (read: free, usually), squarely fit my use-case, yield a high feature interaction percentage (i.e.–I’ll use most of the main features regularly) and offer an efficient interface (including a truncated learning curve, especially to the extent that it complies with mainline software mechanics that I understand–I don’t want to learn new interaction methods unless they save me time). Couple that with the fact that I suffer from the opposite of ‘shiny, new gadget syndrome’: I like my old stuff, and you’ll have to pry my eight-track player from my cold, dead hands. Plus, I am fairly impervious to the sales pitch: I’ve heard them all; and, I never make decisions on the spot, but only after reasoned consideration, done in private. Given all those factors, I can feel very comfortable about going out to TECHSHOW, and not being tempted to buy everything I see. . . . Just ask Heidi how long she’s been trying to get me to use Evernote.
-I’m also a great dinner companion. I’m not always checking my cellphone (not for email, at least: I do use it to tell time though, since wristwatches are works emanating from the darkest recesses of Satan’s black heart). I’ll actually pay attention while talking to you, and perhaps even make eye contact. There’s something to be said for living inside of each moment (and not inside of a squared, impersonal device), which philosophy allows you to draw as much as you can from each passing segment of your existence. Plus, it’s a heck of a networking tactic.
-The old saw is that nobody gets any work done at conferences; well, I do. I’ll frequently work without an internet connection, so as to eliminate interruptions, and to allow for truly thoughtful commerce between my mind and my hands. That, or I’ll watch a Cubs-White Sox spring training game.
. . .
This is the part of the blog post where I officially announce the discontinuance of ‘Liner Notes’, a segment I was previously quite dedicated to, in which I would riff on music, and produce dope playlists (like this, scroll down). Sadly, I think I’m getting too old for this. You know: kids, 401(k)s, car payments and stuff. I still listen to music, though; so, I am going to try something new: a little something I’ve tentatively titled ‘headstickers’ ©, wherein I will pen myself in by adhering, with the strictness, to only recommending one song per blog post.
So, what’s stuck in my head this week?
I might even buy it on iTunes. Yeah, I still buy music. I told you: I’m old.