Kick Some Bottom Line
Stay tech savvy and kick some bottom line!

A toned and lovely woman takes long, easy strides to conquer a steep incline. “I’m over the hill,” she laughs. Another knockout with ripped arms makes like a rubber band to execute a back bend. “My body just doesn’t do what it used to,” she says, smirking. Both women are well over 40 and in a TV ad for cereal whose message is a recurring one in pop culture—50 could be the new 30, filled with power, promise, and mastery.

What? Did you really think that the original “me” generations were gonna loosen their iron grip on culture and business and shuffle off to Buffalo? Just Google 54-year-old Madonna, in a garter belt at the recent Billboard Music Awards, collecting her trophy for Top Touring Artist.

There’s an obvious chink in Boomer and Gen X armor, though: a crippling insecurity many feel in the face of a tide of tech tools, gadgets and apps, and of the Millennials who so effortlessly wield them. Instead of letting this rising tide float their boats, many feel like they’re taking on water and will sink. My message here is simple: do not go gentle into that good night. Do not throw up your hands and give up on keeping up when it comes to new strategies and tools that can help you profit.

Whatever field of endeavor you’re in, if you’ve been at it for 20 to 50 years, you probably have lashings of wisdom, insight, and value to add. Technology gives you new means to keep demonstrating and applying your value. Don’t get sidelined because you failed to learn the latest software in your field. Master it and watch your personal stock rise.

Starting today, make “technology is my friend” your daily mantra and bear these pointers in mind:

  1. In his book “Overcoming the Digital Divide,” our very own Shelly Palmer reminds us that the two groups with most tech smarts are typically those under age 25 and those over 45. The latter are often parents who have their own on-site geek to school them: the 16 year-old playing Xbox in the den.
  2. Speaking of Shelly, reading daily blogs like his that do the heavy lifting to sift through tech stories, and bring you only the stuff you should focus on, amounts to a five-minute read that keeps you in the know.
  3. Learn by doing. My friend Ellen has been a photographer for over 40 years. When her craft first started going digital, she felt lost and threw up in the bathroom. “Then,” she says, “every time I got an assignment that required new software skills, I hired a kid I’d found to coach me through the job. I still use him. It’s how I keep up to date.”
  4. In his book “Hooked Up,” Jack Myers advocates two-way mentoring. Teach a young person how to relate skillfully in the real world, and get him to teach you how to relate well in the virtual one.
  5. Go into a Verizon or Apple store and don’t just grab the latest shiny object—the device with the most press. Tell a sales associate what you do for a living and ask her to show you the smartphone, tablet or device that’s right for you.
  6. Always ask for device demos that focus on the specific functions, tips, and tricks that can boost your personal productivity. I’m a writer and sometimes creative director, and I just bought the Galaxy Note II after the Verizon salesperson showed me how I could jot down notes and art direction with the stylus and instantly email them to a graphic designer.
  7. Now go one step further and sign up for the workshops that Apple and others typically offer to help you master relevant programs.
  8. Remember that older is wiser. New York Times science editor Barbara Strauch, who wrote a bestseller on the teenage brain, later turned her attention to the maturing brain with her book “The Secret Life of the Grown-up Brain.” Research shows that we don’t “lose it” as we get older. Sure, processing speed slows, and as we cram new stuff in the noggin, we often forget a bunch of older, sometimes important stuff, but the good news is that, in some ways, our brains actually get better in middle to early old age. Pattern recognition, or what researchers refer to as “gist,” goes up so that we can walk into situations and assess them accurately — get the gist of things and make sound judgments. It takes years to acquire this massively important skill.

Come on, you smart, mature people: I know you’re whitening your teeth with that fancy toothpaste; eating more fiber and protein and fewer carbs; cutting back on the booze; and trying to hit the gym more. Make the same commitment to staying tech savvy. Every day, there’s at least one snarky twenty-something suggesting you just move over and get out of the way. Ignore him. Whip out your smartphone and stay put.



About Penelope Holt

Penelope Holt is a writer, publisher, and co-founder of Mobelastic, a new mobile marketing joint.



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