For the past ... probably 3 years I've tried to articulate this idea I've had into words that would make ANY bit of sense. I've tried various angles and had a few different theories and finally, this is what I came up with. Since my first attempt, I've witnessed different forms of this and have drawn a conclusion with utmost confidence. "It's all about the people" isn't a cliché but solidly ... no one gives a damn and they should. Now, before you start saying "well duh" or make some excuse, hear me out.
I love technology. I love how it's now getting to the point where access of ANY kind of information is just a few minutes away if not less. Need to look up a part for the car? No problem. Hey, what's that centipede that someone posted up, is it dangerous? (that actually happened by the way) You can figure it out! How do you get to that place someone mentioned? DONE. It's all there, ready for anyone, instantly. How awesome is that?! What's missing though? I didn't have to ask anyone to figure it out.
Let me take a step back and talk about something simpler. Something everyone's used -- a drive thru. Think about the process involved with that. You talk (yell) at a speaker, get half understood response and maybe a screen for validation, drive up, pay a person, maybe get the food from a different person and you're off. Minimal. human. interaction. I think this is where it started. In early 1940s - that didn't exist. Ask your grandparents what their opinion was of the people working there ... was it negative or positive? What about the local bank? ATMs and drive thrus didn't exist then so human interaction was required -- and things were very different.
Am I saying that the 1940s were better than the 2010s? That I can't say for sure. So what am I getting at? Why would that matter? Why should you care? Two reasons. Service and Identity. Think about a good friend for a moment -- would they let you take a loan out on a house you can't afford or serve you beef that's a bit questionable? Hell. No. (If you do, get better friends, immediately) If someone tried to tell that same friend I was you, how long would that last? But instead, companies exist that "monitor your identity" and will happily loan me money that I wouldn't be able to pay back, ever. I don't know if I've ever known that I'm NOT me or that I can't afford a half million dollar home, but places out there ... they try to tell people I've never met otherwise.
I find that terrible. For the past five years, I've made a conscious effort to not use any "convenience" ways of doing any kind of business. More times than not, it takes the same amount of time but I get a lot more out of it. I know the bartender that's going to school for an education degree (he's great), the girl the works at a coffee shop that's working towards criminal justice and got to do a few ride alongs (one was kinda intense) or the guy that runs a small sandwich shop that's proud of his roast beef (best in the state as he puts it, he might be right). All these things I wouldn't know without interaction with these ... humans. And it's all free but so valuable.
I'll end this post with a simple, semi related thought. I can't remember the last time I wrote a hand written letter to ANYONE. It's not easy, it's time consuming, requires thought and effort but it's amazingly personal. The writing itself, the corrections, the emotion during the writing and that's before you get to the content! I'm not talking about small updates you put on christmas or birthday cards; I'm talking about legitimate updates to someone you care about enough to write it down, slap a stamp on it and send it. I haven't in such a long time and I need to ... I have to.