Technology is Eating People

I read a Facebook post made by friend Eric Barna one day. He says:

technology eating people“One thing people have largely ignored when talking about "When are the jobs coming back?" is technology. Ever buy a piece of clothing online? You are helping put a salesman out of work. Ever book travel online? You are helping put a travel agent out of work. Ever accepted a meeting invitation through email? You are helping put an administrative assistant out of work.

You get the idea. Technology is about "eating people."* The S&P 500 companies are reporting 33% more profits than before the meltdown... but total employment is down since then. Technology, my chosen career path, has been great and I love doing it but it does "eat people" just like Soylent Green. A lot of the jobs people hope are coming back just aren't coming back. Capitalism is based largely on productivity... doing more with less.”

Eric goes on about the auto industry, how the US had peak employment in 2000, but today only 67% of that is employed in the industry. Technology (software and robotics) ate people/jobs.

My own industry, graphic design, has suffered because of technology. Software that was once exclusive to artists and designers is easily available and a little more affordable, and in some cases free, allowing “do it yourselfers” (DIY) to take on their own projects or young adults to get a little cash with their new-found hobby. The Internet and email has brought the world closer, and business owners are taking advantage of outsourcing design work to China and Slovakia. So, it’s no wonder my graphic design firm suffered.

It’s a harsh reality when a prospect asks for a quote and then later they show me what they did on their computer with a free software application. I politely say “that’s nice” and grimace privately when I see obvious errors and a lack-luster style or professional design. And I patiently wait for that prospect to come back to me with a problem with their design: the printer said it’s not “print ready;” my clients aren’t paying attention to it; I thought Word had a spell check.

One of Eric’s Facebook friends, Rob LaGow, said, “And it's why the jobs that are coming back are ‘service’ jobs. You can't serve someone a hamburger online.”

There is a lot of truth to that. Not everyone wants a service job, but that’s where technology is bringing our country. I don’t mean to be a downer here, but it is reality. Though this is big picture, let’s think about how we can change this in our own business practice. We can start by buying products made in America. We can insure our clients and prospects will receive super-duper customer service. We can find other ways to make ourselves unique or irresistible that clients just want to work with you.

Share how you will maintain the expertise in your field. Will you write a book? Start a new blog? Implement programs? I want to hear and celebrate your success!

*Eating People was coined by Andy Kessler, author of “Eat People: and Other Unapologetic Rules for Game-Changing Entrepreneurs"

Alicia White is the CEO of Back of the Room Productions, home of the Speakers Briefcase™, Authors Briefcase™, and The Speaklet™ and North America's first Back of the Room Branding and Marketing Materials Provider. Copyright 2013.


Logical Choices from the Heart

It’s funny where life puts you. Every choice you make is what got you to where you are now.

logical business choices or follow your heart
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Many times when I was younger, I made choices based on emotion, not logic. Haven’t we all done that? Some were great choices (going to college), others could have been detrimental (who goes backpacking alone in Europe!?). Some choices slowed my growth, others accelerated it. The best choice I ever made in my life was putting an ad on AOL’s love connection in 1995 – that’s how I met Rick, my soul mate.

Today, now that I am older, and by the way, I LOVE being in my 40’s, I am making choices that are more logical. I still rely on my heart to steer me in the “right” direction, but I listen to my head more now than I use to. For example, even though I started my graphic design business in 2004, it has taken me a long time to get "business sense;" acting logically rather than emotionally. Now, I have signed contracts before doing work and I base my merits on a job-well done rather than someone liking me.

Don’t get me wrong, the heart still gets in the way, like finding my place among other entrepreneurs. Recently, I discovered I have value to others and it continues to rise­ – a challenge I’ve had a lifetime. Don’t think that is what makes me weak. It’s not. It’s what has made me stronger. And even through life’s turbulence, I maintain this thought: I have value. Sure, I could stand for some polishing like improving my relationships in business and how to communicate better, but if I can overcome previous challenges, I can overcome these; and it is my choice to see this to fruition

If you have a strong personality like me, then recognize there is room for change. Learn to do it now not later; before you make mistakes you can’t fix. The choice is ultimately yours. Listen to others to improve your weaknesses; recognize those who help you; ask for help; think logically in business decisions; make a positive impact on someone’s life daily; and be true to your heart.


Entrepreneurs Think Differently

Okay, no judging! My first article review video. I promise it will get better!

Just a quick article review about left and right brain as an entrepreneur. Article written by Anya Kamenetz of Fast Company Magazine found here @ Fast Company's website.

Alicia White is the CEO of Back of the Room Productions, home of the Speakers Briefcase™, Authors Briefcase™, and The Speaklet™ and North America's first Back of the Room Branding and Marketing Materials Provider. Copyright 2013.


Yes, You DO Bring Value

I spent the last week masterminding and learning from brilliant business leaders. How blessed am I to have in my home at arm’s reach Business Strategist Shelly Rice and Branding and Marketing Advisor Carol Smith. The purpose for this gathering of brilliance was to attend a two day event, the Sought After Speaker Summit led by another amazing woman: Caterina Rando.

selfworth, your value, feeling alone, business partners, business value, swimming with the sharksThere were a few moments that I wondered to myself, and out loud, “What value could I, as a graphic designer, possibly bring to these powerful business leaders?” I have never worked for HP and implemented marketing plans that paved the way for other corporations. I’ve never built a nationally recognized company through events across the nation. And I questioned my worth and place in the group: I am a graphic designer. I am gaining TONS of advice from them. What exactly do they gain from me? Even writing this I get tears in my eyes, because I want to give back to them what they generously gave to me. I wanted to give powerful light-bulb moments and hear the words “Oh that’s a great idea, Alicia! Thanks!” Words I seem to say over and over to them because they are always turning on a light-bulb in my business strategy.

Fortunately, my friends took time with me and explained that I have my own value, my own brilliance. Even though I have a successful one-person agency and in the process of building a power-house business, I do not have the business experiences they have to impart strategy advice on their level. I do have stellar graphic design skills and develop professional business images for clients, of which they have no knowledge. So, I DID bring value to the group, not just because I’m funny and cute, but because of what I already do. I would give them the world if I had it, but I only have so much to give and it IS of value. And there was no doubt in their mind. I’m so glad I learned this sooner than later.

If you are struggling with “fitting in” or questioning your value to the group, stop it! You DO bring value! Want proof? Ask those you admire and respect for feedback on your value. You will operate with a totally new and positive perspective. And if you do not get the feedback you need? MOVE ON! Because you DO have value! Surround yourself with people who recognize it and will do anything for you to promote it. Because YOU HAVE VALUE and should share it with the world!

Alicia White is the CEO of Back of the Room Productions, home of the Speakers Briefcase™, Authors Briefcase™, and The Speaklet™ and North America's first Back of the Room Branding and Marketing Materials Provider. Copyright 2013.