Technology can make life far more fun
A few months ago I had lunch with my good friend, Dr. Bill Conerly. He told me that just after school starting last fall, he called his 18-year old son who is a freshman at Boston University back in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After they talked for a while, Bill asked his son if he had had an opportunity to do any laundry yet. Bill reminded me that when you're out on your own for the first time, you might forget how important remembering to do the laundry can be. His son answered, "Oh, yes, I have done laundry the fun way. I program the washer to send me an email when the machine is available, then I run down and load it. After loading the washer, I scan my student card – no need for correct change, no quarters required – then I program the machine to send me an email when the wash cycle is done. I program my computer to send me a text message when it receives the email from the washing machine, then I go outside to play Frisbee. When I get the text message, I go in, transfer the clothes to a dryer, scan my student card, ask the dryer to send an email to my computer when my clothes are dry, and my computer to send me a text message, then I go back outside and continue playing my Frisbee game."
It's very easy for us to take for granted the many time and labor saving advantages technology brings us. Of course, there is a learning curve. The initial learning takes time. After you have mastered this initial learning, you can delegate to machines the tasks you used to perform manually. Now you can get a tenfold return, or maybe a 100 times return on your initial learning investment.
I've had far more time with my nephews and nieces in my extended family over the past few days than I've had in decades. I was sitting with my nephew, Tad (46 years old) and he remembered the telephone I had in my new 1972 Chrysler New Yorker, baby blue 4-door hard top with a white
vinyl roof. It had every option you could buy. I paid about $4300 for it.
The cell phone, he remembered, really wasn't a cell phone. It was a mobile ship-to-shore phone installed in the car. I paid $2,100 for the phone and 25 cents a minute for operator-assisted calls. This is an example of being an early adapter! I wish I could say that I've been as good at adapting to the many, many, many labor - saving, time saving devices that have come along in the meantime. Putting these purchases into today's dollars, a similar Chrysler today would cost about $50,000, the calls would be $1 a minute, and in today's dollars, the phone would cost me about $25,000. I bought the phone because I knew it would make me more productive. It was a tool I used to dramatically improve my performance. We're all challenged to find tools, adapt those tools, and use tools that will help us be more productive to enjoy our lives more.
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