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Tech Talk by Peter Mate
Peter Mate is owner and president of Planit Canada, a software and services company devoted to servicing the manufacturing industry. For more info email peterm@planitcanada.ca
This morning I woke up to a receipt from Apple in my inbox. Apparently, I authorized my youngest daughter to purchase a $20 monthly subscription to an app that allows you to create drumbeats. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good beat, but I’m not sure I would have agreed to this.
I’m not 100 percent sure if it was my daughter or what, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this eight- year-old managed to figure out how to sign in to my phone, turn off the “Ask to Buy” on her account only and then purchase the app.
The speed at which younger generations learn technology in particular is exponential. I wonder if we progress as fast as mankind in other fields. Do younger psychologists get to the root of our childhood problems faster than their predecessors?
There’s no denying that when we’re young, we have a more natural ability to learn and adapt. So, when do we start losing this ability? Why is there a saying that you can’t teach old dog new tricks?
In a recent virtual conference I attended, one consultant told the story about how he had gone into a company and one of his suggestions was enabling employees to work remotely. This was a more traditional type of company that was a good size and well established. The IT department came back with an estimated two years to set up the company to be able to work remotely. As you can imagine, when COVID-19 hit, they found themselves working remote within two weeks. What changed?
Well, for one, everyone’s expectations came down a notch. Kids in the background, no problem. Dog barking at the delivery person, every time. Echoing audio, messy backgrounds, poor internet, bare minimum security, the list goes on.
As time went on, refinements were made. Maybe we tried different platforms for video calls. Maybe we knew to turn our camera off if our internet was not optimal. The fact is, we had no choice, so we figured it out and we’ve been empathetic with our teams, our suppliers and our customers.
If there are just a few takeaways here to carry forward to your next technology adoption project, they should include the following.
Start somewhere but start. We don’t need to achieve perfection to start. Time and time again it’s been shown that starting and being able to pivot is more important that trying to nail it right the first time.
Be easy on yourself and your colleagues. When stepping into new territory, expect things to go wrong. Something failing or breaking is going to happen. It’s not the end of the world. Fix it, change it, learn from it and move on.
Out of all the books I’ve read and stories I’ve listened to about great achievers, they all failed at some point. Many failed over and over again. As I type this, Space X just nailed a perfect rocket landing, but exploded.
So, what did I learn this morning? I learned that I need to make sure my kids don’t get a hold of my passcode for my phone. I need to start hiding my wallet. I need to be proactive and lock the liquor cabinet. Maybe start recording the mileage on the cars… I got a lot of work to get to.

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