In my last post, I talked about how “Star Trek” has shaped technology in many ways. I guess it makes sense that my metaphor came from an industry that I went to school for: Film.
I love movies; I thought it would be cool to make them.
That said, I didn’t go into film expecting to learn technology. It was 2001 when I bought my first computer. I could barely use the home row and typed a dismal 25 words per minute.
Ten years later, when I entered the association space, I also didn’t start as a tech guy or expect to become one, although I had now worked my way up to 75 words per minute. This speed increase was an indication of my growth in technology, not because I did so intentionally, but because computer skills had value to me personally. It actually helped me change paths and work my way into the position I now have.
I still don’t consider myself a “tech person” but the journey for me really began with film school. Looking back, I can see I learned three things that set me on a path of being one with technology:
Step 1: On the very first day, I realized I was going to need a computer. I enlisted the help of my roommate’s boyfriend, who at the time was taking electronic engineering. With his help, we literally pieced together my first computer. Yep. It took until university. That’s unheard of now.
I was soon taught the meaning of RAM and what it would do when I edited videos. This experience echoes every single one of my encounters with a new tool. I ask: What is this? What is its function? Most importantly, how will it help me?
Step 2: The next thing I learned was the power of programs, and that I needed to narrow in on the best ones. The task wasn’t easy, but the process was. I would use every application I could, and process of elimination would leave me either the easiest to use, or simply the ones I kept going back to. It was a never-ending cycle that had me learning over and over again.
Step 3: I learned the importance of file formats. When I went through university, everything was going digital. We were taking analogue tapes and converting them. Learning what the formats were and how to convert them to the appropriate ones helped speed up my work process. Essentially, it was about being as efficient as possible.
As time went on, I used other resources to help me out. Now, I’m never more than a Google search or online community away from knowing the necessary details to move forward.
Video was my technological break-in, but it grew into other realms. It wasn’t about the specifics of what I used, but rather the goal I was trying to achieve.
I’m not the guy assembling circuit boards, I’m not the guy writing programs, and I’m not the guy creating new formats. I’m the guy who uses the end-products of these things. I’m the guy these tools are made for, and I’m no different than anyone else. There is a tool for a job, and that tool has rules.
If you want to be good at your job, you have to learn the tools, learn the rules, and of course, learn that you control the tools.
I know it’s hard to be passionate about computer hardware or Microsoft Word, but I do get excited about the end results. That in turn gets cycled back into excitement of learning the tools for the next end result.
Why is this learning so important? Whether you like it or not, technology is a necessity at your association. You probably don’t give it conscious thought, but it drives everything you do – whether it’s a complex machine the size of a house or an app on your phone.
The necessity of progress lies in being bigger, stronger, faster, more efficient, more cost effective and less environmentally impactful.
Do you want to achieve everything you can?
Learn your tools.
We have the tendency to downplay the role of technology in our lives. I’m guessing It’s because we don’t think about how it affects us. When you do think about it, what’s your story? How much tech do you actually use? How did it all come about? What have you learned about your tech? What have you learned about yourself?
I am now the tech and multimedia guy at my association, and, unsurprisingly, I’ve worked with a lot of tools.