technology and the human experience

15 05 2011

I just sat down to eat breakfast and turned on the kitchen TV.  CNN was airing an interview with Google’s Eric Schmidt.  As a baby boomer and avid tech student, I am always interested in how our lives, both personal and professional, can be enriched by the warp speed changes in technology.

Eric Schmidt said something that just grabbed me at the right time in the right way.  It wasn’t anything new or something that I hadn’t thought about, but it was the way he said it and how it landed for me.  As he was discussing the iPad and the Droid version of the same concept, and the differences between closed and open sources, at some point he said that “technology enables the augmentation of the human experience”, or something close to that.

WOW!  This is so true. Some of my fellow baby boomers, think of these mind-blowing advances as a “replacement” for human experience.  But when we can re-frame our thoughts about tech innovations as augmentation instead of replacement, we have a whole new ball game.  Go Bulls.

I can’t help but ponder how these augmentations will continue to impact the restaurant industry and how we will all benefit.  We already have servers with mobile units entering orders so the kitchen can run more efficiently, more lean.  We have POS (point of sale) systems that keep track of our inventory, menu mix and sales, and enable us to market promotions directly to our customers.  QR codes for smart phones which link to mini mobi sites which enable our customers to get the info they need when they want it.  What’s next for cloud computing?  How will it help keep our businesses lean, strong and healthy?

It’s Sunday and I’m heading out for some human experience visiting friends in Milwaukee.   I’m taking my Blackberry and  iPod with me in my GPS and Satellite Radio equipped ultimate mobile device …. at least it was when I was sixteen and gas was 36 cents a gallon.

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the gracious gift of hospitality

6 05 2011

As the 5th of May comes to a close, I reflect back to this morning when I woke up dreaming, thinking about and remembering my mom.  She was a phenomenal cook and an amazing host and she would have been 78 today.  I miss her terribly, but I also find tremendous comfort knowing that she is always with me.

It was my mom who contributed her gracious gift of hospitality to my DNA, and I am so completely and totally grateful.  As the owner of a catering business for 20 plus years, and now in my fifth year as a business consultant to the catering and restaurant industry, I can honestly say that this is a gift that keeps on giving.  Thank goodness.

Whether I am dining or cooking with friends and associates, visiting a gazillion restaurant websites in the name of “research”, or consulting with my clients, she is with me.  Channeling that gracious gift of hospitality in everything I do.  It makes me nicer, it keeps me humble, it helps me to help others and surrounds me with a comfortable and approachable aura.

I treasure the gracious part of this gift, it’s something I try to carry with me every day.  The warp speed change and advancement of technologies that has proven to make our lives better, more convenient, more efficient and yes, breathless … challenges our graciousness.

Thanks mom, for this lovely gift.  Happy Birthday and Happy Mother’s Day always and forever.