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What’s Your Backup Plan

Hand drawing boxes on a whiteboad

Technology has infiltrated almost every part of our lives, to the extent where it is becoming something we give no thought to.

Electrical power points on train, charging points in shopping centres, free WiFi in public places and a host of other enabling measures are now commonplace and very reliable, but what happens when it does go wrong.

I was recently in the suburbs of a city I had never been to before. I used google maps on my phone to find a restaurant and navigate to it. When I got there the restaurant was full. I just did another search and navigated to another restaurant. That one was full, as were the next two.

I decided just to go back to the hotel and eat at one of the many fast food chain restaurants I had noticed close by. As I went to pick up my journey history and navigate back to the hotel, I made 2 discoveries.

  1. I had no WiFi or mobile data signal.
  2. I didn’t know the name or address of my hotel as I had been relying on my technology to book and navigate to the hotels on my road trip.

After a moment of blind panic (being effectively lost in a strange city will do that) I realised I could just drive back in the general direction of the last restaurant and I would pick up a mobile data signal. I did this and soon picked up my journey history and found my way back to the hotel OK.

I have become so blasé about my technology that the idea of a backup plan hadn’t occurred to me.

This got me to thinking about my speaking engagements. I do avoid technology for the most part, but sometimes a picture really does paint 1,000 words and a good slide can really enhance a presentation. So far I have only had 1 issue, where I went to a venue and they could not provide the promised projector (I now carry my own as a backup).

I did manage to get through the presentation and the audience seemed to like it but I felt uncomfortable the whole way through as I was constantly thinking ahead to make sure I could get through the next bit without displaying the slide that illustrated a point.

My experience in the suburbs of Cheyenne has reminded me that “winging it” is not a backup plan and perhaps “Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail” is not as worn out and hackneyed as it sounds.

If you don’t have a backup plan maybe it’s time to get one.