This past weekend I was playing with a nifty bit of technology called a QR code. It’s a little code that you can scan with the barcode scanner on your smartphone, and get data. There are a ton of uses for them. The service I was using allows you to put all your contact information on their site, and then it generates a QR code for that page. All the information on that page can be downloaded into a vcard, which means that someone can easily add me to their electronic contact list. So if I decided to add the QR code to a business card, I would save several minutes for the person I gave my card to, if they decide to scan the QR code.
You also see these QR codes popping up in lots of other places. One of my Facebook friends in real estate told me these are popping up all over the place in the Arizona real estate market where she works. Some local businesses around the country are using QR codes to offer their customers discounts. Scan the code and a coupon pops up your smartphone you can use when you make a purchase. Lots of cool uses.
But what I found most interesting this weekend is the conversation that popped up around QR codes and the rapidly changing pace of technology, when I posted my QR code to my Facebook profile (just playing.) People were saying things such as the fact that they found them annoying, because they didn’t have the technology to use them, and others said that it was all a scam to get people to spend more money on technology instead of important things. (On the flip side, there were others who thought it was cool.)
And it got me to thinking about how we should approach technology. Should you participate in the rapid advancements, or not?
And I guess the answer is, how do you want to build your business? To be sure, at the moment, there are plenty of ways to build your business without new technologies like smartphones. But what about 2 years from now? 5 years? 10 years? The fact is that as more and more people adopt these technologies, your option to opt-out will become an option to make less money. Because people’s expectations are slowly being shaped around these technologies.
Sure, QR codes are new now, and not a lot of people are using them. But what about Facebook? In 2006 most people didn’t see the need for it either. But now it’s becoming an invaluable way to keep up with our customers. If you decide now that you’re not going to participate any more in technology as it advances, you could be leaving yourself behind. Because most likely, your customers and prospects are going to keep up.
The pace of technology can be dizzying, and I am in no way telling you that you must be an early adopter. That’s what you have people like me for…to keep you abreast of the trends. (Are you subscribed to this blog?) But don’t close your mind to technology. Like it or not, it’s the way the world is moving, and if you want to have a viable, long-term business, you must be where your customers are. And unless you want to only service the rapidly shrinking group of people who are also choosing not to participate in technology, it pays to remain aware, and participate when things become widely accepted. It’s the only way to build a sustainable business for the long term.