Technology. Do you have a negative opinion about it? Do you avoid it? Does it scare or confuse you? Why is it that the technologies that are designed to improve our lives, all too often just create new challenges and struggles for us.
Every business should have an online presence whether it is as simple as listings on 3rd party websites, or things like Facebook and Twitter, or a personal website. It is impossible to be a business today and not have an online presence.
On today’s episode, we are going to address the root causes of this confusion. We are going to offer you some practical, and easy to implement, solutions that you can begin using immediately to have your online presence serve you.
Steve Kidd is joined today with a good friend and an expert technology guru Tom Moline who is going to help us discover how to K.I.S.S (keep it simple). Meaning, how to remove some of the complications from the technologies we need to use for our business. Tom has generously donated his time today to help the Wounded Warrior Project.
We know you don’t need another technology to learn. You don’t want to have to become a master at something before it is effective. What you want and need is someone to show you how you can simply and effectively make use of social media, the internet and other technologies in such a way that it aids the growth of your business. You also need permission to hire a professional to come in and set up or manage some or all of your technologies, so that you can spend your time sharing your unique brilliance with the world.
Welcome to another episode of Thriving entrepreneur. I am so grateful to have you here today. Today we are talking about maybe one of the most prejudice words in all of our business and that’s the word Technology. For those of you who haven’t turned out let’s say we know that everybody has thoughts and feelings about Technology. As soon as I say that word amazing how something always immediately surfaces. It’s interesting to see how much resistance become from that one word.
Kathy and I run to this so much that we actually refer to technology as your online person to kind of soften it for people. But today we want to jump right into it, we want to use the word technology, we want to use technology and talk to you today about why you afraid of or hate technology or how you could use technology to suit you better. We want to find some solid solution. Today I am so fortunate, very grateful to have actually one of my mentors and really honestly I have to tell you guys Tom is a Technology Guru. This is Tom Moline, my good friend that I’ve known for a lot of years.
Hey Tom, how you doing today?
Tom Moline: What a wonderful morning to be with you Steve
Steve Kidd: Appreciate having you here, Tom has been dealing with Technology for so long that we don’t talk about it anymore, but surprise to say there are things that you use every day that Tom probably had something at least auxiliary but not directly involve with some of the things you use every day. So Tom, why don’t you tell us a little about your background.
Tom Moline:Well thank you very much Steve . I am blessed, but you let the cat out of the bag. I have been doing this for obviously a long time and it’s both a blessing and a curse, but let me give you some of the background. I actually started my career in technology in the 1960s while playing the …..and discovering even then Technological presentation was somewhat wanting I had a great curiosity of how things work, how they were put together and often times more importantly why it was just broken and not working right now. In that very early time, I was fortunate enough to meet some people from IBM and control data two companies that were in the 1960s was really the forefront and pioneers of our computer revolution and throughout the later part of the 60s I get to look at some very by today standard anti equated system that weren’t very powerful but gave us a lot of interesting experiences. There are some people out there may understand how you get a callous from punch card in a computer, but maybe new territory of people we don’t have to go into it. But I did have an opportunity to serve with the US military late part in the 1960s early part in the 1970s and during that time I really got exposed to a really different adaptation and usage of technology and discovered everything from FM transmitters for telephone communication and interestingly enough which at the time more extraordinary large . But suffice to say that period of time I really was blessed with running into people who kind of want to share their expertise in technology and it was a very much a pioneering moment for me in the technology field. It was quite basic quite simple and often times easier to understand the technology that we approach today. Coming forward in the 1970s I got out of the military and have a great agenda to work with the number of businesses at that time were already looking at adaptation of and usage of computers and their business models. These can be large well funded companies and they did open the doors of possibilities as we fast forward in the 1980s when the Perrine computer became a reality and companies like Apple and Microsoft went on technological revolution and really have a tremendously good time but people as again blew things up blew fuses start the computer up on fire and crash. Generally there’s a lot of things that we should have say oh probably we never should have done that. It was during that period of time when I learn that experience as a teacher send you down the wrong road you can learn what not to do more so what to do but the characteristics again . The machinery and the people in that time it was just a wonderful experience. I don’t know if a lot of our listeners today can relate to the very early days of the computer , but a do recall the time when we put 4 megs of ram on a computer and we have three states away drive to come see how it operate.
Steve Kidd: One of my favorite stories you tell when you talk about the fact when you remember back when debugging a computer meant you actually crawl through pipes and actually got the bugs out.
Tom Moline: Some of the early military Government computers that actually used vacuum tubes and it was important to get them off out of the tubes and some of those computers I suspect I might be wrong that there is some computer phonetic out there that got some high trailers parked in their back yard full of that computer. Probably as powerful as your cell phone.
Steve Kidd: Well you bring up a good point, you talk about doing a lot of experimenting, blew some stuff up and things like that. I think that maybe one of the first things we should address is I’ve often run into people who their biggest concern is they going to break the whole internet or they going to blow up their whole house; because you know they make a blog post or something like that. I think it’s important to the listeners to practically realized that it really going to be ok . Most everything that you can do with your computer, with your technology present is that you going to use in your business these days will aid. They going ask that are you sure you want to do this or you sure you want to do this. Approach. It really hard to break these days, especially to break them so badly that it cannot be fixed quickly. I think that was a good point for you to take up. Let me ask you a question to endorsed this segment, why do you think it is that technology even just the word of it , especially computers and things like that , even though we use them everyday are such a turned off for so many people ?
Tom Moline: I think it’s just a natural order of things Steve, and over the years I’ve dealt with computers and dealt with people and introducing them in business and government . introduce the computers and how to adapt the programming . There is a fear of the unknown and it’s a natural order of things because it’s why we as species the human race has been able to survive cause we downright scared of things. And it’s a healthy thing . its also one of your strongest tools, I think in business is to understand what you’re afraid of and turn that into a strength.
Steve Kidd: You think it normal then we can actually tell the listeners when you approach a new technology whether that be a brand new cell phone getting for Christmas or new computer or things like that . you think everybody experience that, im not sure if I want to touch it or experiment with it too much cause I’m afraid, I’m going to break it.
Tom Moline I really think it’s more common. I think I’m personally not the brightest bulb in the room , so I start pick something up and start pushing button before anybody else want to step up to the plate. I believe it’s healthy and you can use that to your advantage understanding technology. One of the simplest thing I find that any new technology introduce to any whether person with a cell phone or computer network to set up your back up protocol. What if you drop your cell phone in the toilet tomorrow, what’s your back up plan? I think if people stop for a second and say if my computer crash today and really wants their data, what’s going to happen. if you got a good back up plan, you just going to be recovering nicely . I think that those are aspects people want to approach in technology should gravitate towards first. What’s the best thing for risk management. The best way to navigate your fear is to remove that possibility from your future. Good back up result in few computer problem Technology tends to put people off a little bit particularly people in their businesses because it real easy to waste a whole bunch of time on technology. I’m sure lots of people have experience where people offer to build them a website; it will only be $50M, if you write your check for $20M and wait as soon as I clear the bank will contact some people in India and get back to you. There is a lot out there that people have to deal with and I think it’s important in technology and computers , in cell phones and particularly online presence for your business if you feel uncomfortable in the category look to a person or company that can fill that void for you until you feel a little more comfortable doing it on your own or you just built relationship where you put that onus on someone else and they can mentor or take care of the issue for you.
Steve Kidd: I think that’s a very good point that we are going to spend a lot of good time today that going back and forth between what Kathy and I always refer to the weighing between times versus money. When is it good for me to learn a technology, I wonder if it would be better for me to have somebody who already knows it. You are really good at whatever you are doing in your business. You have something that is unique about you that is the whole purpose why you were created. The more time you can spend last week or two weeks ago, we talk about. We’re talking about Jessica living in your front seat and that kind of thing. You can spend being uniquely you, the more you do that the better your life going to be, first of all; but second of all the more successful your business going to be
Steve Kidd: What is the number one thing that people could do to feel more powered when approaching technology, Tom any thoughts on that?
Tom Moline: I think there is a couple of area that are important and it’s hard to say that ok, this is one size fits all. I spent many years teaching computers and writing curriculum for computer class. I came to the attitude that if you approach technology in the simplest form in other words divine and conquer. You find that the steps through any questions you may have or the adaptation of technology that your trying to work with becomes smaller and easier if you take smaller increments. Let me give you an example of divine and conquer in terms of business approaching technology, I know Steve from working with you in the past that you were familiar in the 1990s when govern the portal was the online centric , community based website. That I think start in the private sector, the newspaper notice that and said we better be honest that we going to lose a lot of customers. So many newspapers in the 1990s decided they need a Word press and of course they starting to contact programmers, developers and putting together an online presence that aggressively move them in that space. one of the earliest conversation I have with the newspaper about an online portal was the obvious you’re in the news print business, you sell newspaper , if you print all the news online and everybody goes and read it for free; how you going to make money? That’s a simple look on technology and say ok what we going to do. Now that model has change. I believe we could call it the ‘Evolution of the portal in the newspaper as they become more adapted, I point out some of the pop up ads ‘irritating’ but that’s just me. You do have to have some revolution, and I think that by using that example and the reason that I like that example and I like to point out to our listeners particularly those in business struggling with technology. Is this really important to focus you focus in the last segment about the uniqueness of the individual, each person in business has inherently , unique asset feature which they need to discover , understand and exploit. As they are approaching technology from that unique perspective, it becomes simpler. I do believe to say im going have an online presence and this is what im going to feature and its really important that people understand the value of networking , mentoring, really grasping of the absolute values that again support the individuals , make the individual unique and with that understanding. Then approaching technology from a business perspective. I think most people do find out they are able to make decisions, so they can see core results , everybody got a website , now how many website do we need that explain how to tune your guitar. How may website we need that are dedicated to certain aspect that at the time we started in the 1990s were very unique and fast forward to 2014 and now there is 100,000 phones out there, so every attribute of the individual is the core strength that make migration to technology so successful. Ive dealt with people with online presence and I think you will agree if people knew who they were and have a firm grasp of the direction they want to go and at the same time not afraid to seek counsel to ask questions and to weigh the pluses and minuses of any action they would take with technology as it relates to their business.
Steve Kidd I think that’s a good point.
Tom Moline: As we look at that for an individual weigh that out, one would think this is an old school 1. Involves paper, pencil and pens, and things. I have to qualify that I have meant a college trained draughtsman in one of my previous life, I’ve learnt how to actually draw hose with pencil and hand drawing is interesting. One of the concept is to take a piece of paper make a line down the middle of the paper on one side of the top put Pros and the other side put Cons and then ask yourself questions from your own understanding write those things down , be honest. These are the type of foundation that we can take to anyone and say this is what I want to do; what do you think about it? It takes one second to pass that information over . the strategy goes back to programming, we discover this very early on programming. If someone came to us and would say and can say in one sentence paragraph what is it they wanted? We typically could build it real quickly and I think you will agree more often than not we have business people come to us and say ‘well I think I want a thing that does something like some of the things I’ve seen, but I’m not really sure what it look like or how it going to work. Can you guys build it?
Steve Kidd: I think that a really good point Tom , I think more than anything the thing that can really empower somebody when they think about all the things you can do online, your face book, twitter, LinkedIn and everybody else’s’ site , having your own website or blog or what have you. The very first thing that a person can really feel empowered is to really be solid in what you doing in your business. There are just so many voices out there , persons going to tell you, you should tweet 15 times a day , im exaggerating. Another will tell you don’t use twitter its dead and the real key is to clear out voices that are saying do this, do that and really get clear on what do I do ? what is my business about. If you understand how to do that that technologically great , if you don’t feel free to get advice from people who do that every day. Im telling you these are the kind of things that’s going to help you be able to bring that specific thing to the world. You agree with that Tom
Tom Moline: Absolutely , one of the most foundation things we can express to anyone listening is the importance of framing a question and asking someone that question and it doesn’t necessarily mean everytime you do that you going to ask a person who have the actual answer . Sometimes you have to ask 2-5 people but anyone in business should certainly be able to adapt to the concept they need a business coach , they need logical coach, they need advice. You know when your marriage is in trouble; you go to a marriage counselor, if you don’t like the first one go to the next one. The reason I throw that out, don’t go for the answer your looking for, if you need to do it find the answer you need and that critically important to understand the difference. I have lots of people that tell me exactly what I want to hear. It really didn’t do anything in terms of moving my agenda forward. More oftentimes, business and technology get right up in my face and say you doing this completely wrong. Finding out what I was up against and where I was making mistakes on that path and I think that, it’s very common in business , to our listeners and everyone, me and Steve would get together and talk about many different things. The story that I recently told Steve about is a restaurant that changed the name in front of their building. They had basically, the same people, the same food, all they did was to dump a major Franchise name and go with an inspiring local sounding name. The thing that they didn’t keep track of though was the Social Media around their transition. In business, today 2014, soon to be 2015. It is important to get online presence to watch your social media. People will always say ‘my goodness do I have all the time to do that? Any business owner can interact with social media at a level with any time frame that is adequate for their business. To think that social media awareness is a critical path and a way forward in terms of understanding technology and importantly how it ties in the business. To make a long story short the restaurant went out of business, because they really got hang up on social media after they re-open with their new name and there was a huge negative backlash. I found it really extraordinary. Watch it go through, it seems to me that every business owners need to look at technology that affects them directly
Steve Kidd: We can tell what people are saying. There can be a tool that really helps us. I think you said something that’s real interesting to point out. You said if your marriage is in trouble go to a marriage counselor. I would go a little further with that and say before your marriage gets in trouble learn how to have a good marriage, read books on it, talk to folks that have successful marriages. The last thing you want to do talk to people who just got divorce last week. It’s important for us to not become an Island. It’s so easy for entrepreneur especially if you working from home to fold into this bubble where you are the whole world and not get outside help. I think that really important is to get the help that you need, but also realize that learning and getting help and things like that are really significantly important to the growth of our business.
Steve Kidd its important to that you keep all the information forward in your mind, that your technology is just a tool. Will it be your twitter, face book or website? Keep it simple make it something that serves you, don’t have a whole list of things that you have to do. So many times, I see people become overwhelmed by the immensity of all they have to in technology. How a person can weigh out a time versus money perspective. We say here in our business all the time everything is a juggle between times versus money. Do you have the time to learn a particular skill? Or is it better to have the money and let somebody who already has that skill set do that work for you. You know sometimes, it is good to learn skills and sometimes it is good to have the professionals do it. Can you give me some insights as to how do we think when it’s good to take a class and when it’s better to call the pros.
Tom Moline that’s very interesting and very simple to take steps in achieving those goals, no#1 the individual is most important , where you have a large or small business, you just starting out business or you been in business for 25 years. One of the first things I do with anyone working is ask them, how many hours a week do you work. I know from experience I know I survive the Mountain Dew programming era, where we were caffeine addicted and we do 36 hours runs of programming, there was a point in my life where in programming I would become so consumed with program I was writing that literally tune out people and I think programmers can understand that and if you never program you probably don’t excuse you for that. You as a programmer create your own world. You have things called constructers and detructors and you literally become a God like figure in an arena that you are totally in charge of and I know many programmers that have gone in that concept and end up spend so many hours they actually lost their personal life. We have lives and children, moms and dad, uncle, aunt, cousins. How many hours a week do you put in your business. It really interesting when people start to look at it , they will discover like some have when you put in long, long hours , you sometimes end up burning the candle at both ends and you start to feel less than your quality. I always encouraged people to say this is my business, im going to encourage 40 hours to work in my business; lots of things are going to come up. You have to stay up late at night s do paper work , bills is important you have to bring the money in , but really if you can take yourself and dispose yourself in a 40 hours week at the end of the 40 hours week you can say what I didn’t get to accomplished. That’s the point where you as an individual would say maybe I need someone to do that. If the person is working 50 hours a week and you spend your time on social media perhaps that your lot in life and you enjoyed that. I think that if you find you will back off a little bit and bring other people in, share the abuse and the work loads . Ive work in Government service to know that teamwork help to take the blame off. Its important to individually stop at the door and say im I going in today? I’m I going in for a $120 a week or I’m going in for a 30 hours week and I think really it’s a technological advancement for everyone when they realized that its one person , you can only work so many hours in a day and so many in a week and so many in a year . Hours tend to wear down and the quality of the work begins to suffer. Any person in business need to set their own limitations if they don’t reality or someone come will come along and set those limitations for you. As business people we want to do better next week than we do this week , we want to do better this year than we do last year. Those attributes that results in growth really go back to some things that we talk about earlier. First of all absolute, what are your core strings, individual aspects of you that make you be a business person. Now, earlier in the onset of the web presentation we saw some amazing things , one I personally laugh about I was at a doctor’s office awaiting X-ray I did have a laptop computer with me and at that time developing websites for people these were simpler times now. I want to caution people, these isn’t the type of website that you do today. I met a young couple who likewise was waiting for an X-ray and we started talking and interestingly found out they were both employed doing 40 hours a week but they were selling home beer brewing kits . I was intrigued by that and I sat there developing a one page website for half an hour , then upload it to my uploading site put it online for them and let them know it will help more people to find them. At the time I recall they were advertising some magazines that was the extent of their presence. Then fast forward it was about 30 days , might be a little longer , but I run into them at the same clinic. Got to talk to them and as a result of that , one page website they been able to completely stop working on their day job were know fully selling their beer brew kits. That was a type of story Steve and I know you could relate to it. In the early days of the internet those was the type of rewards came to people to be first in the place. I don’t know how many people sell their beer brewing kit online today , the successful one have found their way to picture their uniqueness and to present that uniqueness in a way they will connect with the consumer. The lesson learn in being able to through technological advancement concentrate wholly on their core business these two individuals became extraordinary successful in a short amount of time.
Steve Kidd: I think that’s really important. We were really talking about couple a week ago and Jessica Butt said ‘the things we really need to do is to stop doing what we suck at’. I think it’s just that simple.
Tom Moline: its so true cause what we really need to do is be more and more and more focused on that thing that makes us uniquely brilliant. Rather than approaching our business as a jack of all trade master of none, because we are talking about our very first episode about Niche make rich and try to hit everybody mean you end up getting nobody and it is important for us to know we need to be focused, we need to focus our time into just be honest with ourselves that learning can be fun. These days you can take a class you can just get up in the morning, take classes all day on whatever subject until you fell asleep in your bed at night and have that be your full time life. You take 8-10 classes per day and never have to do anything. It’s very important that we focus and that why we win that time versus money preposition is by focusing on what you do best, be a master of what makes you uniquely brilliant and allow others who what makes them uniquely brilliant is twitter, I could be something else that have to do with technology . Allow them to shine in that arena you both will profit.
Steve Kidd: Can you give us a tip or two things that a person can do today that makes their technology serve them better
Tom Moline it boils down to some really simple steps, each listener has to ask themselves what I’m I looking for in a short term? What I’m I looking for in a long term? That’s an individual question only they can answer . if you going a brazillian dollar tonight then I suggest you go buy a lottery ticket go on your knees and pray. If you are committed to a path that looks like a career and a life time then there are some various steps forward for any individual in any category. The one thing I done in my life is that never be afraid to go to College. I also been afraid to leave college and go take a job as it paid for what I was doing . I have a lot of college credit and personally don’t have degrees. Over the years it has point out to me, that I have these people working for me had phd and I have credits. What im saying any individual who have college level education in today more so in the past, you can go online and take three college courses from some excellent universities right now. I encourage every person out there to pick something and go get a credit in. If you’re lucky enough you might get two credits in it , if you’re really lucky the credits are portable and you will be able to use them towards a step towards your degree. I think that in the long term anybody in business will find that you spend a quarter at some school and find out from somebody how social media work. At the end of that quarter you not only have that experience been added to your personal resume, but if you are in a true college setting where you network with those other students and you meet and greet and talk. It opens up a new sea of possibilities for you. I’m sure anybody that been down that road would totally agree that some of that unknown areas carry the biggest rewards. In terms of how do I adapt in my short term to bring my technology to a controllable elements, tame the beast. We don’t want people to look on technology as a 900lbs gorilla in a room.
My advice to anyone one is simplify down. People in business do know this I use a what, where, when, how. It’s a very simple four step program that allows me to capsulate what is it im trying to do and trying to keep it focus and deal with absolute. If what you do you cant explained to anyone in less than 4 hours you are trying to land a rocket on Mars. You should probably sit down and simplify it. If your business is selling biscuits then your job is to sell biscuits and how to bring that technology to the forefront to make that happen. If you can explained , what you expect from technology in certain instances then there are path and steps that you are able to accomplished those things. To all listeners if your standing 80 hours per week really look in the mirror and say will I treat my employee they way I treat myself? You are a perfect candidate for time management and a little evaluation of what you’re doing. I don’t even remember and I apologized who told that to me many years ago. If you’re in business never do anything t hat you wouldn’t pay someone else to do and that is a very simple statement. All of us would agree it very complex to establish that limitations on our own environment, but in business understand who you are, what your skills abilities are, then simplify your approach toward technology . maybe you can manage your online presence, maybe its important to have someone else doing that for you. It unique an individual answer those questions. Any exception always simplify in technology remove the fear by establishing a back up. If your business is important with technology you have database of customers, products and information make sure you back those stuff up.
Steve Kidd: Thank you for investing your time. I couldn’t agree more, the more simple you can keep things the better and I would encourage you, the number one thing you can do to make your technology simple and to serve you is the age old saying ‘don’t try to swallow the alligator all at once take it one bite at a time. Don’t ask yourself what is everything technological you can do to make my business better? Ask yourself what is the one thing that I can do technologically that would really impact my business, this week, this month, next year and then get really good with that or find somebody that really good with that. Let all the other voices fall off to the side allow yourself to be focused. Do what you do well, allow others to do their things well to come and help you to focus on taking your technology one step at a time, one day at a time.