What will it be?
I started thinking about this as I skimmed over Michael Arrington’s “Fifth Annual List Of The Tech Products I Love And Use Every Day.” He writes:
The scope of the list has changed over time. In 2006 it was just about websites. Now the list includes other web services, some desktop software and even a few gadgets.
These aren’t necessarily newly launched products… This is a simple list of the tech products that are an integral part of my day ”“ work or play. Some have withstood the test of time and I just can’t live without. Others are newcomers that have captured my imagination.
I use most of them every day, or nearly every day, and I would not be as productive or happy without all of them. There are now 24 products on the list.
Far as I can see, Arrington’s habits are definitely not the every day world of most managers unless they’re somehow crammed into their limited off-hours. And he is the founder and editor of TechCrunch. But let’s not dismiss this too quickly.
There has been a long-standing management ‘rule of perception’ that you must be “on the floor” or otherwise in the thick of things “where the action is” and resist being a desk jockey as much as you possibly can. This rule is pervasive, and spans nearly all industries. Conventional wisdom says that good managers roll-up their sleeves, for you can’t reach customers, and get good and dirty in a business operation or within the managing and leading of people if you’re stuck behind a desk.
And aren’t tech products just the fancy new toys of the desk jockey?
Conventional desk resistance is wise in theory, for it’s meant to coach managers into working with people more and “pushing paper” less. But here is the important question (as any overwhelmed manager will quickly point out): What was on the paper, and can it be so easily dismissed? Isn’t “real work” much more complex than simply saying it is about being with your people and your customers?
I know that my own tech habits have changed dramatically since I was working in the corporate world full time and not coaching (I made the switch in 2003.) I still consider myself a manager, managing and leading a small team, and were I managing a larger one, not only am I very confident that many of my every day tech tools would be instantly integrated into my work, I am also sure I’d be adding more of them (such as Yammer, an internal version of Twitter, and everything offered by 37signals).
We talked about it a bit before in this post: The Digitally Savvy Workplace. My IT team would be techies who love to teach, and they would be instructed to give everyone in the company internet access (yes, EVERYONE), and get everything we do off hard drives and “into the cloud.” After decades opening Windows to the digital world, I am now learning to use a MacBook Pro, and I would expect my managers to be fluent in both platforms.
Just for fun, this was my own break-down of Arrington’s list, with a few additions of my own. At first I thought, “24! Is he kidding me?” but then I saw I am not that far off. What about you?
On my every day list: MacBookPro, Gmail, Google Docs and Spreadsheets, WordPress for blogging, Tumblr for aggregating, Twitter (Helped by HootSuite), and my iPhone (we won’t go into the apps…)
On my weekly/ often daily list: Skype, Digital Camera, Flickr, BlogLines, LinkedIn, Basecamp, TripIt, Delicious
Use it, but honestly not an everyday necessity: Pandora, Audible
Craving: Apple Magic Mouse, Kindle – which I was surprised Arrington did not include
Should be using it much more, must get with it: Ruzuku, Kodak Zi8
Want to learn, and soon: Animoto, Diigo (to replace Delicious), Google Voice, Skitch, Docstoc and Scribd
Would definitely use it if back in the corporate world: Yammer, all of 37signals, YouTube
Very curious, but doing fine without them: Dropbox, Evernote, Hulu
Not yet remotely interested: Foursquare, Loopt and Gowalla, TechMeme
Have vehemently rejected as a time sink I cannot afford: Facebook
Greek to me, had to look them up: MOG, Spotify
As little as a year ago, I was very tolerant of managers telling me, “I don’t have time for tech” because I did see that they could survive relatively well without much of it. Today, I am much more assertive about tech learning being part of our managerial core competency.
The evidence is overwhelmingly clear to me that being more tech savvy helps you in three significant ways:
1. Tech tools CAN boost your productivity significantly when you choose the right tool for the right job, and not as a new “toy.” Match up tech features to work you do individually versus within a team. Their new “wow” factor is a dud if not aligned with the work you actually do (or want to do).
2. What the (two most-mainstream) forces of blogging and social media have brought to tech isn’t simply about digital programming (blog platforms) or ninja-networking outside your company (social media) though those two things are great fringe benefits. Tech has enhanced the way we communicate, making every workplace a more mobile, and thus more nimble one.
3. Tech tools and their updates foster lifelong learning, making learning much more cool and sexy in today’s world. In the process, tech is helping us bridge generation gaps as well, changing that way we communicate and helping us to better share life experiences with each other.
So managers, don’t snub your nose at tech tools. Get with the program, and improve the quality and efficiency of your life and your work. Bring advances and progress to the workplace as a means of culture turbo-boosting.
And whatever we choose, don’t we all want this? Arrington says, “I would not be as productive or happy without all of them.” and I must say, I doubt I would be as happy without my tech stable of goodies either.
More tech from the archives:
- How we used Ruzuku: Become a Better Listener with these 5 Skills and The D5M Ruzuku Report on The Daily 5 Minutes
- Get the Gift of Learning Throughout the Year by joining a virtual learning community, at Joyful Jubilant Learning
- 5 Twitter Tips for Leading and 5 Twitter Tips for Managing
- Welcome to a Brexy Presidency: Brex was the name we in the Ho‘ohana Community had given to the learning initiative we embraced during all of 2008: Braver Experiments [with] Digital Learning.
- In Communication is our Killer App, how “Technology has revolutionized our landscape.”
- Hiding from the Web is Foolish: 5 Steps to Smarter