|I have a question, but I'm concerned that once I ask it, you'll tell me it will make a good post for our website.|
|And, what is wrong with that?|
|Sometimes I simply want to ask a question – not have to document the conversation.|
|Says the former straight-A student who, to this day, takes copious notes?|
|Yes, but at business meetings or when we're on business calls. Or when I'm talking with medical experts. Or maybe when … Never mind. I get your point. But not with my sister!|
|But, you keep telling me our telephone conversations would make great podcasts, so how is basically creating a transcript of them any different?|
|They would make great podcasts. Especially since most people could relate to my frustration of turning to you for answers, but instead getting questions. Lots of questions.|
|You're right. Sometimes I get sarcastic remarks. Or you connecting dots that I think are unconnectable. I never know what to expect!|
|Actually, you do. You know that you will get sarcastic – and pragmatic. Just like I know I will get warm and fuzzy. The good news is consistency and dependability are valuable traits. Regardless, what was the question you originally wanted to ask?|
|I was wondering why do I feel like we're as busy as we've ever been, yet at the same time, we're as unclear about where we're going as we've ever been?|
|That is an "almost" accurate description. Sometimes you know where you want to end up but need to figure out the best way to get there. Right now, we are busy keeping all options open.|
|Well, that would explain why our daily posts are a mixture of real-life topics interspersed with our "commentary" on current events. And until we started doing them, I didn't realize that we'd touch on so many subjects, although I'm not surprised that you and I always seem to see things differently.|
|That is an understatement. But, the challenge is we have so much existing content, and are constantly producing more, that is of interest to broader demographics than I ever expected. Layer on top, we are in an ever-changing marketplace hungry for content.|
|That's been our problem ever since Neiman Marcus launched our self-published book, which at the time we thought could be the basis of a sitcom. But then the detours started, and we kept "throwing stuff against the wall" to see what would stick, and it seems everything did.|
|The hardest thing for me was to let Red & Black grow organically, riding along as we traveled down different roads when part of me wanted to grab the steering wheel and drive it in a specific direction.|
|You and your car analogies. But I've been shocked that you've been so patient. It seems very out of character, especially as you sign many of your emails "throttle on" and that's the last thing we're able to do.|
|When you race, you are either on the throttle or the brake. You "pick a pedal" and stick to it. The purpose of braking is to slow the car down to steer through a corner (change directions), and you "throttle on" once the car is pointed in the right direction. So, that is basically what I am saying when I sign an email that way. But, right now we are coasting along.|
|So keeping with your analogy, is the fact we hired an industry expert to help us identify the road to take to build the Red & Black brand as well as pitch potential partners (whether a publisher, an agency, a content provider, or even a consumer product company) like getting a new race car driver?|
|Exactly. But, in this case, we are replacing an amateur (I know my limitations) with a professional because he successfully developed entertainment franchises for Disney and Hasbro. The fact he sees the potential for Red & Black to be a "franchise" is one thing, but having the experience and industry contacts to help make it happen takes it to a new level.|
|It's funny. At first, I was confused when he used the term "franchise" as that term makes me think of buying a McDonald's, not building a brand or "franchise" like Power Rangers. But I guess every industry has its own terminology. Meanwhile, there's not much we can do right now except to let him get to work, have patience, and continue to "coast" …|
|And, look forward to the day we can say, "Throttle on."|
Want to read other columns? Here's a list.
Quick! Define literacy (without Google or Siri's help). Ok, finished? We bet that you may have stopped at the ability to read and write. Which, technically, isn't wrong. It just isn't completely right, either. Which is what Red found out when she discovered, much to her surprise, that it includes such critical areas as financial, digital, and health literacy.
Red even admitted to Black that she didn't understand all those terms, although she had another concern … was Black going to use her as a poster child for her lack of literacy skills in this month's column, "RED & BLACK … A Blueprint For Life?!"
P.S. – This month's column is in honor of September being Adult & Family Literacy Month.
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|I can't believe how quickly the year's flying by. And that tomorrow's already the fall equinox.|
|I cannot believe that you know that but did not know when Rosh Hashanah fell this year.|
|I got the dates mixed up. And I'll admit I had to look up the fall equinox date because it also varies slightly from year to year.|
|Technically, the equinox is not a day, but rather an exact moment – when the Sun crosses the Equator.|
|Picky, picky, picky. But if I remember correctly, although science class was decades ago, on the equinox, we have 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of nighttime.|
|Not exactly, but close enough. But, why are we even talking about this?|
|Because it marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall.|
|Only on the calendar. We live in Texas, so if you use temperature as a guide, fall weather is at least a month away. And, if you are waiting for foliage season, you will have to head north as it does not happen in Houston. Or, settle for some spectacular photos.|
|That's one of the things I miss most, but I love everything about fall – from the early morning "chill" in the air to pumpkin spice lattes (well, really, pumpkin "everything" these days) to the fall holidays. Especially Thanksgiving.|
|OK, but you have always referred to that as the "silly season". That once Halloween arrives, it is full speed ahead until just after the New Year.|
|Thanks a lot. I was thinking about how it's my favorite time of year, and you had to remind me that it goes by way too quickly.|
|So, maybe forget about the Sun and the Equator, and use the fall equinox as a "reminder" to try to stop and enjoy … not only the official beginning of fall but the entire "silly season".|
Initially, I just chalked this up to being "old" and accepting the fact I remember telephones before they were "smart" (and will admit they can make me feel "less-than-smart"). I am old enough to remember rotary dial phones (see the image above) where you had to place a finger in the hole associated with the number, then rotate the dial round to the end-stop and let the dial return under its own power. I will not go into the science behind it, but it was extremely reliable – although very hard on your manicure.
But, this is not about the history of telephones or the associated technology that has improved to the point computers that once required a large, air-conditioned room can now fit in your back pocket or handbag. This is not about us all (regardless of age) needing to be digitally literate. It is not about the fact the older we are, the larger the screen size we prefer, although we might claim it is a function of what we are used to versus admitting to declining vision as we age.
Rather, this is about a recent experience that first made me feel old. Then roll my eyes. And then open my eyes to an opportunity.
I was on the phone (a cordless landline – not a rotary dial or even a phone tethered by wires) with a customer service representative from a high-end designer company. We were discussing an order, and he said they would keep me updated. However, they could not do it via email (my preferred method of communication) but would text me using the phone number associated with my order and that he saw on Caller ID. I said that the number would not accept text messages as it was a landline, but they could leave a voice message.
Apparently, that totally confused the rep, as he repeatedly said he did not understand why they could not text me. And, I kept repeating, almost like it was a mantra, "because it is a landline." Finally, he admitted that he had no idea what a "landline" was … and I started to suggest he find someone "older" to explain it. But, then realized this was my opportunity to explain it to him.
I explained the difference between mobile phones and landlines, but also suggested he discuss the situation with his supervisor as the company sold very expensive consumer goods, and I would think many customers were older and might be using landlines. Surprisingly, he was interested in my perspective and admitted to never having thought about it. And then, he thanked me for taking the time to explain it versus just complaining. (As a customer service rep, I would guess almost all his conversations were complaints – not actual conversations).
There is so much for us to learn and share when it comes to technology and how we communicate. Some people prefer emails while others can only be reached by text; some want phone calls while others can only be reached with a "chat" feature. Regardless, our ways of communicating can be used to divide us – or unite us.
I will admit that I can be confused when confronted with new technology if you will admit that you can be confused when confronted with old technology.