By: Christy Preston
Manager, Entrepreneurship, Western Kansas
Is it possible to teach an old dog new tricks, or, more accurately, is it possible to teach a, let’s say, “mature” woman (no wisecracks, even though I just celebrated my 29th birthday…again) how to use technology? I am referring to myself with this question as I learn how to maneuver the ever-changing world of Google Docs, Slack, Zoom, Dropbox, VentureDash, social media…and the list goes on and on.
For me, the trouble with technology started 15 years ago. At the end of a busy week all I wanted to do was lounge on the couch, watch a movie, and chill out. But NO… there were 4-5 remotes laying on the coffee table staring at me! I could never remember which buttons to push to make the DVD player and surround sound system work. Sound familiar to anyone? As the anxiety built, I would phone my loving son so he could walk me through the necessary steps to watch a movie in my own home. To this day, I can still remember him saying to me, “Mom, I am only going to explain this to you one more time,” as I thought to myself….until next Friday.
Along came cell phones with SIM cards, Blackberries, texting, Apple computers, Apple phones and social media – challenging for me, but a thrill for my children. In fact, I would punish my teenagers away their cell phones. Little did I know they would remove the SIM card and place it in an old, beat-up phone they borrowed from a friend. Not only was technology smarter than me, but darn it, so were my kids.
I’ve been an empty nester for 10 years and the struggle with technology is REAL! I may not have teenagers living in my home anymore, but I do have amazing co-workers who are willing to assist with my technology struggles. Bonus: they don’t ask for a curfew extension either.
I’ve been bumping along, inconveniencing co-workers who give me tips and hands-on training to get me by and I finally feel like I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous! In fact, when we have a glitch with a program at work, I automatically assume I caused it… but it usually has absolutely nothing to do with me! Whew!
Here’s what’s awesome about my tech troubles – I’m not alone! While engaging with my E-Communities, coaching them through the Google Grant Request form, walking them through a VentureDash Challenge, or jointly working to display a PowerPoint presentation at a facility with outdated equipment and software, I hear the same from them: technology can be useful, but it can be really, really tricky. Yes! Even if you all are lying to make me feel better, thank you, keep it up. Ha!
Folks, trust me, I have come a long way and it’s so nice to not go into cold sweats when an email starts with “I need your help with a tech issue.” Technology can be tricky, but it’s possible to learn how to use it.
And, I’m proof that you really can teach an old dog new tricks in an ever-changing world.
About NetWork Kansas:
NetWork Kansas was established as a component of the Kansas Economic Growth Act of 2004 to further entrepreneurship and small business growth as a priority for economic and community development in the State of Kansas. Backed by more than 500 partners statewide, the NetWork Kansas service promotes an entrepreneurial environment by connecting entrepreneurs and small business owners with the expertise, education and economic resources they need in order to succeed.
NetWork Kansas facilitates the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem within participating communities through the E-Community Partnership. Contributing factors to successful development include availability of financial capital, support by local leadership and development of educational resources. All of these factors combine to increase entrepreneurial activity in participating towns, leading to increased startup activity, business expansion, job creation and more.
For more information about the Entrepreneurship (E-) Community Partnership, visit www.networkkansas.com/ecommunities or call 877.521.8600.