It’s 5 p.m. on April 17.
I’m sitting in a conference room at the Hilton on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. I’ve been sitting in conference rooms for two days now, and you might expect me to be drooling on myself, eyes crossed in boredom after listening to speakers drone on and on and on about something I’ve already forgotten.
You’d be wrong.
I’m laughing. I’m laughing so hard tears are streaming down my face. And I’m not alone. I’m sitting in the middle of 1,200 people, all engrossed and entertained by four members of the ABA TECHSHOW faculty, who teach us 60 Tips in 60 Minutes.
I laugh so hard I snort, causing the woman sitting next to me, who I’ve never met, to laugh at me and with me. Instantly, we’re buddies for the rest of the conference.
That was my favorite moment of all of the ABA TECHSHOWs I have attended. This is the third year in a row that I’ve gone to the conference, and I have served as a member of the faculty these past three years as well.
ABA TECHSHOW is a great conference. The presenters are all very knowledgeable (no, they didn’t pay me to say that), the exhibitor hall is full of bright shiny new technology to try, and there is a sense of optimism about the future in the air.
I’ve met brilliant people from across the country, and even across the world at ABA TECHSHOW. I’ve learned so much from them about new technology, and how it can enhance my life and the lives of all of the attorneys I work to help.
But the most important lesson they’ve taught me has nothing to do with a specific technology, and everything to do with what it takes to successfully adapt to new technology. I didn’t learn this lesson in any one session, or even any one TECHSHOW. I learned it by talking to these people and getting to know them better over the years.
It turns out that you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room or a super geek to successfully adapt to technology.
You just have to have a good attitude about it.
The people who successfully utilize technology don’t dread it. They don’t view it as work. Instead, they actively enjoy using it.
Take Mark Rosch, for example. My first year on the TECHSHOW faculty, Mark was my track leader. He could have reached out to the faculty on that track via email, but he didn’t. Instead, he set up a Google Hangout so we could meet face-to-face as much possible, given that we lived and worked across the country. I will never forget the look of glee on his face when we all got together that first time. Instead of dealing with a dry email, we all got a glimpse at each others’ work lives—we could see each others’ bookshelves and desks, and more importantly, each others’ smiles and enthusiasm.
And then there’s Philippe Doyle-Gray. I first met Philippe at last year’s TECHSHOW, when I needed a co-host for a Taste of TECHSHOW dinner. Philippe was exhilarated about how well he could manage his law practice and his life using Evernote. He was so excited he came to Chicago all the way from Sydney, Australia, to share what he’d learned.
Anyone who attended TECHSHOW this year knows about Randy Juip and his infamous selfie stick. Randy annoyed the hell out of people with it, sure, but nobody can deny the joy he had for using it. He had a blast with that selfie stick, and he dominated the ABA TECHSHOW conversation on social media.
Last, but certainly not least, I have to mention my mentor and friend, Diane Ebersole. Diane came up with some truly fabulous tech tips for the aforementioned 60 tip session: a solar panel tech recharger you can carry on your backpack, a device that will allow you to text and update social media from the wilderness with no mobile signal, and a measuring tape that will remember measurements for you and then divide them in half to show you where to hang your law school diploma on the wall.
But Diane decided to crowdsource tips as well. Jokingly, I suggested she discuss the poop emoji as one of her tips. I had belly laughed through an article a week earlier that detailed the huge problem of emoji illiteracy among older people, and the particular problem of them confusing the poop emoji for chocolate ice cream, leading to some hilariously confusing text conversations. Not only did Diane take up the poop emoji as one of her tips, she turned it into comedy gold. Which is why 1,200 people were laughing hysterically in a conference room at 5 p.m. on April 17.
Learn from Mark, Philippe, Randy, and Diane
If you struggle to adapt to new technology, stop viewing it as work. Find a way to enjoy even some small part of it, and it will become immensely easier to adopt.
Find your selfie stick, Google Hangout, or Evernote. Find your poop emoji and the world of technology will become the pearl in your professional oyster.