November 20

The Challenge of Technology: Make it Simple


The Challenge of Technology: Make it Simple

By Deborah Johnson

November 20, 2021

ATEM mini, Blackmagic, Blue Yeti, Finale, Logitech, podcast, tech challenge, technology

Challenge of Technology

With the challenge of technology, the phrase I hear most often is, I’m not good at tech! This is a mindset that is not easily overcome. Technology can be frustrating and a time-sucker. Even some of the most tech-experienced people realize that anything can go wrong.

I was recently interviewed for a podcast and the producer contacted me with the news that he could not find the recording of our episode anywhere. This had never happened to him with over 200 episodes to date. But the recording had seemingly disappeared in the cloud!

My response to him was to offer to redo the interview if they were willing to schedule it on their end. What I appreciated about this producer was his honesty because tech issues happen! Anyone who’s had a background in the recording arts or any type of public performance is especially aware of this. In today’s world, the challenge of technology has become even greater with the addition of virtual events, livestreaming, online course creation and social media. The good news is there are ways to simplify tech, but the harder news is that tech will keep growing exponentially. We will focus on a few main principles including your goals, adding one small thing at a time and simplicity.

Women at Halftime by Deborah Johnson The Challenge of Technology: Make it Simple 11-23-21
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Your Technology Should Align with Your Goals

If writing long-hand with pencil and paper or using a simple word processor will be enough to achieve all your goals, that is a valid method. In fact, that may be where you should stay. However, if Henry Ford had just focused on faster horses when he imagined what people wanted, we may not have had the automobile.

The use of technology should enhance your life and business, not complicate and stymie it. This is not to say there won’t be challenges, because there will be as long as there is new innovation. But when you add any tech tool, there should be a purpose for it.

I can use a simple illustration of a Breville Electric Citrus Press. For years, I used a small electric juicer for juicing  grapefruit, oranges and lemons on our property. It is still working wonderfully and there is nothing wrong with it. However, with the increased amount of citrus and the desire to freeze large containers of the sweet juice, we purchased the larger, commercial juicer. It has not only simplified the process, but increased productivity.

Using the Juicing Principle to Increase Your Productivity

Even if you never plan to juice a lemon or grapefruit, the juicing principle can apply to you. What you are using now may be fine as far as using technology until you need more. A phone call was fine until you couldn’t see or meet family members who were isolated, or business groups for important meetings during COVID lockdowns. Those who never thought they could use technology became proficient on Zoom. It increased the ability to communicate and even do business.

When considering a new piece of software, equipment or even a membership opportunity for a tech tool, consider first what you are presently using or doing. With the juicing principle, we were already juicing citrus with a juicer. The Breville commercial juicer enhanced that process.

Most computers already have a microphone for recording. Adding the Blue Yeti with a USB connection creates a clearer and enhanced sound for Zoom sessions. Most computers also have a camera, but a pro-webcam camera, such as the Logitech greatly enhances visuals for online engagements. You can see more resources here: Deborah’s Resource Page.

When to Add More Tech Resources

There is an increased challenge of technology when you add to your tech tools. This is when it is time to re-evaluate your goals. One of my goals was to create webinars and simple online courses without a lot of video editing. As video editing takes a lot of time and focus, I wanted to focus more on content and presentation.

The solution for my business was to add a switcher for camera shots that could switch back and forth between graphics with the press of a button. If you have a video team and are in a T.V. studio, you can have your camera crew do this. But that is not always financially feasible for most solopreneurs. We do much of this work ourselves.

My challenge of technology came with the number and type of connections needed work with the particular switcher I purchased, a Blackmagic ATEM Mini. It only used HDMI connections. Before tuning me out because you have no desire to do this, I want to share an important principle here that should apply to you. This purchase fit within my goals. That should be the question you ask first. Then, I was committed to do everything I needed to do to make the equipment work. There are many that just give up or never try to begin with. You have to be willing to venture out and not quit for what aligns with your goals.

Deborah Johnson-Life Goals-2

The Commitment to Not Quit

You may never have any desire to explore the amount of technology I use, but with whatever you decide to do, you have to make the mental commitment to not quit. There is usually always a solution.

There is a music notation program called Finale. After hand-scoring many charts, left with black fingers from calligraphy pens, Finale was a welcome tool. I have been using it since the first version came out in 1988. You would think I’d be super-proficient on the software and I am to an extent, even scoring some musicals for major publishers. But when I don’t work on the program for a period of time, it’s extremely valuable for me to keep good tech notes for when I use it again.

All it takes is forgetting one small setting in a program to make a particular feature not work. This can eat up literally hours of your time. I say this from experience! When you think Oh, I’ll remember that! Think again. You may not. So, creating some sort of file with good notes or cues for particular programs or software will be a lifesaver. It will help keep your frustration level to a minimum and greatly increase your productivity. Also realize there is usually a YouTube video available to help you through many tech issues. Some of those videos have really helped me through some of the challenges I have faced, where we used to have to wade through large manuals that were written by a person with English as their second language. This was especially true with music instrument manuals.

Make Technology Simple

My last point is to make this process of adding technology simple. You may wonder how the words simple and technology can be used in the same sentence. If you go back to your main goals, simplify them to the basics. Then, when you add any technology tool, add one small item at a time.

By adding just one thing, you won’t be completely overwhelmed. You can then build from there. Something I’ve noticed is that small businesses can be membership poor and technology poor. Jim Heitbrink, a successful businessman developer whom I interviewed for my very first book, Stuck is a Four-Letter Word, gave three principles for business. One of those was to Watch the Cash.

Evaluate your monthly membership dues every year. Most of this may be based on tech tools. Most every online program now has a monthly fee, so evaluate what you really need. Adding technology equipment carries the same principle. You do not need every new tech gadget. See what is possible to use what you have now in a new or expanded way. I was able to put my Yeti Blue mic on a shock mount that fit on a boom stand I already owned for more portable recording options. It’s worked extremely well.

Don’t be overwhelmed with the challenge of technology. Revisit your goals, add one small item at a time, whether software or equipment. Take good notes, then simplify your process as much as possible to you can spend more time doing what you love to do and feel called to do. I’m rooting for you! Make sure you check out more resources here: Deborah’s Resource Page.

Technology can be your friend if you build on what is already working.

deborah johnson

Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author

If you are interested in growing and learning, check out our online courses here: Online Learning

1,289 words

Deborah Johnson

About the author

DEBORAH JOHNSON, M.A., creator of Hero Mountain® and former president of Los Angeles National Speakers Association, is an international award-winning music artist, author, speaker and National Media Commentator. She also hosts the popular podcast "Women at Halftime." Deborah provides tools to create your ideal lifestyle and work at mid-career or during the halftime of life, getting unstuck. You can live your second half fulfilled, focused and free! Up for multiple GRAMMY Awards and spending over 20 years in the entertainment industry, she's an expert on how to constantly reinvent yourself in a gig-economy. She is also the recipient of the Women's Economic Forum Exceptional Women of Excellence Award. Deborah is the author of multiple books, over twenty albums and musicals and speaks and performs in both live and virtual events.

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