Technology moves forward with you or without you. How do you handle that?
Do you choose to embrace the changes and the pace that technology is driving our economy and our society?
Or do you choose to hold back, using the old, “proven” tech that you learned many years ago and are still getting results from?
Either way works…for a while. Technology from years back can still be productive and help, but it loses its effectiveness and its impact as time marches on. It also has an impact on you and the perception that others have of you and/or your company.
A few examples come to mind.
Fax machines – these performed jaw-dropping tasks when they first appeared for business use in the early 70’s. The ability to deliver a copy, typically of a document or contract over the phone lines to someone else that also had a compatible machine changed industries. There was a real estate franchise called ERA Real Estate that’s entire attraction to attract new franchisee’s to sign up was a big blue machine about the size of personal printer today. You rolled up a contract, put it into a clear cylinder similar to the tubes the banks used to use in drive-up windows, entered in the phone number of the receiving office, and after 10-15 minutes, a copy appeared in the receiving office. Quality was passable, it was printed on thermal paper and faded over time, but it got the job done. Remember that this was before the days of the Internet or even FedEx overnight services like we know today.
Voicemail – believe it or not, voicemail was a revolutionary idea back in the day. I am old enough that I remember listening to my sales manager from IBM teaching a class about how to use voicemail properly, for internal purposes only. We used to receive a weekly regional update from our leadership via a voicemail once per week. Everything we needed to know for the upcoming week was covered.
Over time these technologies are either replaced, improved and morphed into other more encompassing technologies.
Another tendency that occurs is that in the early stage of a new technologies life, it is typically very simple in it’s use, focused on one key benefit or need. If they survive, over time they expand their capabilities and features, becoming much more complex and difficult to use.
Two examples come to mind for this:
SalesForce – In it’s earliest versions; this was a simple, easy to use tool that helped keep track of your customers and your activities with those customers. Took some time to get the data entered, but it was straightforward to use and to understand. Fast-forward to today and SalesForce is unrecognizable from its earliest form. You can now run your entire sales organization from SalesForce, however it has become bloated, un-manageable for only the most ambitious organizations. SalesForce Administrators (with typical salaries starting in the six figure range) appeared on the scene out of necessity to create the reporting and workflow that where now being demanded of it, and to interpret the data contained within to generate a forecast of business activity and results.
Palm Pilot – this small device was a palm-held device designed to capture contact information and your schedule with a stylus. The battery lasted at least a full day, the screen was in low-res black on grey, and the only connection to the world was with a cable connected to your desktop computer. Over time it added color screens and eventually a cellular phone into the package. It became unwieldy and new technology appeared to do these things and more faster and more efficiently called Blackberry and eventually iPhone.
Technology marches on at it’s own accelerating pace whether we choose to follow along or not. Early adapters can gain significant competitive advantages, yet there are those that continue to do well using old, outdated technology until they retire. Each has to decide for themselves.
You can imagine which side I fall on. I make a living seeking out, researching, testing and deploying the newest, edgy technology as it is emerging from the hands of many of the most innovative developers and creators on the planet, many times from locations outside of the United States. Global economy is nowhere more prevalent than it is in tech.
Which brings me to Websites and your online presence.
I started building business websites while still working at Dell, using tools like Microsoft’s FrontPage and Adobe’s Dreamweaver. Countless hours of trial and error, testing approaches and methods to get a website suitable for business.
Eventually I was introduced to WordPress in early 2004. It had significant improvements in it’s ease of use, and this new feature that I was very interested in called blogging. There were other competitors like Typepad and Blogger, but WordPress was a powerhouse that has grown to dominate the world of website creation. Research says that more than one out of four websites on the planet are created by WordPress. That is one heck of a market share for a company that gives its software away for free!
I have built over three hundred websites using WordPress and currently manage almost eighty for my clients and myself, including this site, and has been at the core of much of my consulting practice.
Similar to the earlier examples, WordPress has grown into a monster of power but also complexity. Similar to SalesForce, there are now entire industries and consultancies to help manage, build and monitor WordPress sites. No one will ever use only the base WordPress site builder today. All the power, customization and capabilities come from adding plugins, themes and external services. Backup, layout, user interface, membership sites, Lead-generation, email, security, video, audio, social media and much more are achieved by plugins and themes. And the complexity is that each one has to be regularly updated to the current release of WordPress core code. I have sites with over 20-25 plugins and a custom theme installed and each one has to be updated regularly.
As a result, it has changed from a technology that anyone can learn to something that smart business people outsource to others to build and maintain.
Every one of these is a separate piece of software, written by different people, in different languages, at different times. And yet they are all expected to work smoothly together. You know that is NOT going to happen.
I believe we are on the edge of another one of these major technology changes when it comes to websites and to WordPress. It is not going away any time soon. I will be managing client WordPress sites for years to come.
I was introduced to an entirely new universe of website building a while back. I was quiet for some time, because I was having a hard time believing what I was seeing and hearing. I didn’t trust my own eyes, and wanted to research, to talk to others that were using this new tech and approach to find out if it was real or just some well-written sales copy. What made this more challenging was that it was not being used in the US, but in South America, Australia and parts of Asia. Remember my earlier comments about being a global phenomenon – this was playing out right in front of me.
There are already over 10,000 people using this new technology, just not in the US…yet. But that is about to change.
After many, many months of research, testing, prodding and “playing” with this new tech, I finally had to admit – this is real and it really is a game-changer.
The result of all this – I made major decisions about the direction of my business and even the business model that I use.
I will be sharing much, much more about what all this means to me, and to you as readers and subscribers in the days and weeks ahead.
I have seen the future of online presence for individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses. It is here now. Some of my email subscribers learned about this early and are already using this new tech and tools. I plan on moving all of my online properties as time allows.
How does this affect you?
If you want to get an early-adapter view into what has had such an impact on my business, and me, click here to learn more about what I am talking about. My only request at this point is if you do so, go through the entire page. We are offering a VERY LOW introductory price for a couple of days to ease into this. This offer is designed for those of you who are early adapters and understand what you are about to see. You have a full 30 day guarantee to check things out. If that isn’t you, don’t bother checking it out – at least yet. You will be using this tech at some time, just at a much higher price.
You can learn everything that you need to know at this location: http://www.newrulesnewtools.com
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