********This post was also cross posted over at The MadAve Journal********
I was thrilled that the folks over at The MadAve Journal asked me to be one of the bloggers to write about the upcoming ad:tech. They gave me the topic of the personal side of technology, how it helps people in their lives, and how companies balanced personal and professional goals.
Sponsors were given a list of 6 questions and the folks at The Madison Avenue Journal collected the responses. Between these responses and my own answers to the questions, I've written this commentary, but you are probably wondering who Sam Negin is and why I named him in this post.
Sam is one of my college roommates from Rutgers (year withheld to protect my age) and when he graduated he joined a program with the Army that paid for medical school with the tradeoff that he had to spend time in the Army as a doctor. Sam always wanted to be a doctor to help people and even offered the roommates charter membership in a medical plan called the Samo in exchange for beer money.
Anyway, the Army deal seemed to have been a good one except that he was shipped off to serve in Iraq to help injured Iraqis as well as our own soldiers. Oh, in case you think this is a sad story it is not - Sam is back from Iraq and is currently stationed in Germany
[Check out: Evening Keynote: Old Warriors Don't Die! Wednesday, April 25, 5:00pm-6:00pm]
However, this doesn't diminish the fact that he gave up years of his life to serve our country so that when he finally paid his dues he can practice being a doctor; not for making money, but to help people which is the kind of person he really is. I've had numerous careers since Sam and I shared a Silvers apartment at Rutgers and of course I thought that all of them had improved people's lives. Looking back, I can see clearly now when I've impacted people in a positive way and when I was just buying into a company's strategy to deliver a return to their investors or as I like to say, playing the role of George Jetson as a money making cog at Spacely's Space Sprockets.
[Check out: Gamer Nation: Strategies and Tactics for Brand Immersion in the Gaming Universe Tuesday, April 24, 10:45am-11:45am]
While you might think it would be tough to find responses for this subject from technology and online advertising conference sponsors, they were there and their responses really do prove that technology can impact people in a personal way.
Eliminating the Distance Dimension
"Distance no longer has a hold on my life", declared Organic
Chairman and Founder Jonathan Nelson and this short quote speaks volumes as how
technology impacts every day lives. No more are you tethered to an office or a
factory to earn a living and the 9 to 5 days are becoming the latest extinct
[Check out: Mobile Marketing Ecosystem Thursday, April 26, 12:15pm-1:15pm]
My wife Mary once complained "the kids and I don't know when you are
working, reading email, or playing World of Warcraft because you always look
the same - typing away on your laptop." I work more now than when I did
driving to an office and I'm always on; I'm on when I coaching my kid's soccer
team, on when I'm looking at hot tubs on a Saturday, and I'm on the night of my
daughter's birthday as I type up this post.
[Check out: Tales from the Bleeding Edge: The New Mobility - A Hands On Experience, Tuesday, April 24, 4:00pm-5:00pm]
"Technology often gives us more time to do more work, so the time saving
idea is a fallacy," is a quote Harold Mann President of Mann Consulting
provides that proves my point with a caveat that while you might not save time,
you can squeeze more into the day without wasting your life on Route 78
commuting to NYC.
[Check out: New Media Universe, New Consumer Behavior Thursday, April 26, 12:15pm-1:15pm]
While on the surface it looks like a return to a sweatshop brought about by investors looking to squeeze more minutes out of an employee, it really is the exact opposite. You can work anywhere now and be more efficient. This lets you spend more time, not less with your family and friends. Commuting will (as it has for me) become a thing of the past, allowing you to be instantly available.
Need to attend a teacher's conference - done, because you can make up your time later during the day. The technology companies of today truly make your personal lives better by giving you the ability to reach out and touch the people important to you whenever and wherever you want. My kids no longer remember what it was like for me to commute - they really believe that Daddy has been home forever.
Someone Has To Make Money
Maybe this part of my post sounds very impersonal and perhaps the people that provided me the quotes that I'm referencing are cringing slightly to be associated with it, but I really enjoyed reading the more realistic responses. Stripped away were the party-line responses and left were blunt honest assessments that we provide a service that people or companies need.
And you know what, there is nothing wrong with doing a service or providing a product that as Dana Todd co-founder and principal of SiteLab International Inc wrote.... "We're here to make money for the company and for our customers. Our ability to continue to provide a great environment depends wholly on our ability to stay profitable." It may not be something that as Dana wrote, "reduces carbon emissions", but providing people with opportunities in a fun environment does make them have better personal lives.
[Check out: Publishing in the Digital Era: Feast or Famine Thursday, April 26, 12:15pm-1:15pm
"While the dream of becoming a .com millionaire is a driving factor for innovation throughout the internet... without investors desire to make a buck, Google, YouTube, MySpace and other sites would never have gotten off the ground," William Rice, President of Web Marketing Association pointed out. Providing products that don't necessary save the world or solve global warming, but enrich people's lives including the company's employees is a contribution to society.