I Am Not a Techie!

Posted by Lori Yaverbaum

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December 3, 2012 at 1:30 PM

I’ve heard so many of people say this over the years. And guess what? I am with you. I say the same thing. I am not a techie. And yet my role at Commonwealth is to ensure that our websites and applications are user friendly. I oversee the EasySite website program (which allows advisors to build their own websites), help advisors with social media efforts, and now I am writing for this blog.

All of this got me wondering. What is a techie anyway? Maybe I am one and don’t know it. In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, techie is defined (yes, it is in the dictionary) as “a person who is very knowledgeable or enthusiastic about technology and especially high technology.” Ugh! Excited about technology? No way. That is so not me! When I hear about the latest and greatest new gadget, app, or iPhone, the number-one feeling I experience is anxiety, and I immediately wonder how I’m going to learn enough about it to keep doing my job effectively. Sound familiar?

But then I started thinking. There is very little that excites me more than when I hear about a problem someone is having finding something on our website or figuring out how to complete a task in one of our applications. Immediately, my brain starts working, wondering what we can do to help. Many times, there are little changes we can make that will have a big impact, like adding drag-and-drop functionality to document sorting or adding a cookie to remember something you last selected in a dropdown. But, sometimes, there are big changes we need to make.

Some of the most exciting achievements in my career at Commonwealth have been the complete overhaul of COMMunity Link, our back-office web portal, in 2002 and then the creation of the EasySite program in 2004. Both solved major usability issues, helping our affiliated advisors do their jobs more efficiently and market their services more effectively.

More recently, we recognized that it was becoming increasingly difficult for our advisors to find marketing materials on our site. Ironically, we were providing so many pieces that you couldn't find what you needed—a sort of needle-in-a-haystack problem. This was very exciting to me because, although I do not consider myself a techie, I am without question an online shopper. Which led me to thinking: Wouldn’t it be great if we could apply a fun and easy online shopping experience to locating and downloading a marketing piece? And to generalize a bit, I wondered, can we make it so engaging that even a man would enjoy it?

You know how this story ends. After looking at a lot of shopping sites (and possibly buying a few things along the way) and doing a lot of brainstorming and a heck of a lot of teamwork, Commonwealth's Four-Corner Marketing Tool was born. I felt like a kid in a candy store the day we launched.

So back to my original statement: Is it true that I am not a techie? Am I “a person who is very knowledgeable or enthusiastic about technology and especially high technology”? Maybe, maybe not. I most certainly am not an early adopter of new technologies. But you know what? I love using technology that makes my life easier, and I am excited by bringing new technologies into tools that will help make your life easier. So, yes, I think I might be a little bit of a techie. (But that doesn’t stop me from loving to turn the pages of a book or smiling when I vote by coloring a dot with a black magic marker on a piece of paper.)

I guess my point is: I’m not going to fight it. I see how I benefit from technology. So I will continue to love what I do and adopt what I want and what I’m comfortable with. I will not be ashamed! “My name is Lori Yaverbaum, and I am a part-techie.”

Do you love how technology simplifies your life? It’s okay to admit it. Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.  

Topics: Technology

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