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Famous Technophobes: Are you one?

We all know how painful it can be when your organization introduces a new CRM system or moves to a new update of, well, anything. There are many obstacles to digital transformation, and guess what — you might be one of them. Consider that some folks are naturally disinclined to embrace technology, and ask yourself: Are you on this list?

Mikhail Prokhorov: When a billionaire calls technology a waste of time, people notice. Mikhail Prokhorov is known for his tech avoidance. He doesn’t even own a computer. When he sits down to write a message, he uses pen and paper, not email. But when Prokhorov decided to launch a Russian-language magazine in New York, even he had to consider all his options — and that included going digital. (And thanks to Wikipedia, I learned while writing this that Mr. Prokhorov, the Russian politician,is the owner of the American basketball team the Brooklyn Nets.)

Prince: A musical genius at the forefront of musical innovation for four decades, Prince wasn’t too keen on technology. “The Internet is completely over,” he stated in a 2010 interview with British publication The Independent. “All these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.” But even Prince changed his mind, eventually viewing the Internet as a powerful marketing platform. He joined Twitter in August 2013, using it to communicate with his fans from around the world. Prince came to realize the power of the Web. And surely he would have been impressed with the outpouring of appreciation for his music we’ve seen recently all over the Internet! Thankfully, Prince’s legacy lives on.

Andy Rooney: Andy Rooney was an innovator in broadcasting. “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney,” which aired as part of CBS’s “60 Minutes” for 33 years, provided satire on a range of topics in a bite-sized format. The journalist, who died in 2011, shared his reluctance to embrace technology: “I’m not interested in having my books on an electronic device,” he once said about e-readers. “I want them in books. I want my words in books, I like having these books behind me.” “Andy Rooney: 60 Years of Wisdom and Wit,” which chronicled Andy’s opinions on American public affairs, was released on Kindle in 2009. Despite his objection to the technology, his e-book likely attracted a new generation of bookworms who shunned traditional hardcovers and paperbacks for digital reading devices.

These three powerhouses, all considered leaders in their industries, had technological inertia at some point. They pushed through it and came through on the other side, probably wondering what took them so long. Like Andy, Prince, and Mikhail, you might think some technologies are not for you or your organization; however, ignoring digital trends could stunt business growth and truly affect your brand. Trends like cloud-based solutions, for example, could provide you with a hefty return on your investment if you have the right vision and can get through the minutiae.

Technology has revolutionized the American way of life. The population of those unwilling to adopt digital trends is slowly shrinking as more people realize the potential technology can bring to their lives. And organizations are no different. Stay at the front of the digital curve, move quickly, embrace it — for if you don’t, you and your organization will soon be scrambling to catch up. As for Mikhail, he may not use a computer, but that didn’t stop him from putting up a website. His magazine, Snob, might not be for everyone (particularly if you don’t understand Russian), but it certainly captured its target digital market.

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