I consider myself a partially-tech-savy senior. I’m 62, and I have built several websites in the last few years. But there are things I simply do not understand. In my former professional life, I managed a large marketing database for a major bank, and my department built a Management Information System for one of the largest credit card operations in the country. That was in the 1990’s.
You might think, well, a guy with that experience should understand all kinds of technical stuff. The technology world is changing much faster than I can (or sometimes care to) keep up. I still haven’t figured out many of the functions on my Android phone. I still have not fully made the connection that my phone (it’s only a phone to me) is actually a very sophisticated computer.
A friend of mine gave me an Amazon Fire for helping him build his website – and that is another astounding piece of equipment. That little device kept me connected all during Hurricane Irma, and through the immediate aftermath. It became much more than a book reading tool, and I was grateful to have it. My mis-understood Android phone was my secure hotspot, and the Amazon Fire became my day-to-day computer.
The Hurricane Irma experience provided me with a new outlook – and believe me, it was not by choice. There are truly amazing little tools all around us, if we embrace them. My phone and my book reader became critically important in the blink of an eye, and made me extend my vision and acceptance of technology that surrounds us. Sometimes we don’t realize what we have right in front of us.
Please don’t wait for a disaster, like I did, to find out.
Now, as I am rebuilding my house in a post-Irma world, I am also trying to learn more about new technology that can make my life simple. I mean, simple – after the learning curve. I think with the newest devices, it’s not the sticker shock that gets me, it’s the shock I get after I open the box, look at the new device and say “What do I do now”? If you have ever had that feeling, you are not alone.
According to Pew Research, a major issue for adults over 50 is the learning curve: “… 48% of seniors say that this statement describes them very well: “When I get a new electronic device, I usually need someone else to set it up or show me how to use it”. This is complicated by the fact that the over 50 crowd is buying and using new devices at a very rapid rate. It is a strong wave fueled by the purchasing power of the Baby Boomers and the lack of knowledge of technological advancements in communications and the internet, including the IoT (Internet of Things).
When I came across TechStar Tutors, I applied to become a tutor. There are basic things I could teach, and I was also looking at it as a way to generate a little income while pursuing my interests in new technology. My logic was simple: the more I learn about technology and devices, the more I can teach. After talking with the owners, I am now the EVP of Business Development, and I am loving every minute of this gig!
We want to be there for all the people, like me, who need help when they open the box, or need help with a technical issue they cannot fix themselves. Right now we can help you in a handful of cities on a face-to-face basis, and we can help you anywhere via a remote connection (there’s that technology thing again – embrace it!). We are here for you. My job is to help expand TechStar Tutors across the country by opening satellite offices.
Sometimes things do not end up the way you see them in your mind. I have another experience that demonstrates that, which I will publish in another post. For now, grab that phone, book reader or laptop, and jump on the technology train!
Tim Grollimund is a published newspaper columnist, award-winning underwater photographer, Irma survivor and recently became the Executive Vice President, Business Development, for TechStar Tutors (https://www.techstartutors.com/).