Is it really that easy?

I am always looking for ways to make collaborating with others, especially with clients easy. Actually, I should say “easier.”

Just when I think I have the solution, I am faced with something that is akin to mass confusion and chaos. That is the feeling at least.

I am forced to take a few steps back and view things with a different perspective. See there are different perspectives when you live in a digital world. There is the one where I stand that embraces technology with both hands. There is the one where my children stand where that is all they know and do not know any differently. Then there is the one where our elders stand. This is the one where there is hesitation, doubt, fear, and resistance.

These perspectives and the feelings that come with them – excitement, monotony, and even fear – are very real. As someone that is in the “excited” state and tries to help those in the other states I have to keep these things in mind. I have to be encouraging and also keep up with them. The younger generation I am not so worried about. The elder generation is constantly a challenge.

It is with this that I am constantly juggling to find solutions for an ongoing and ever changing problem. I actually hate to call it a problem. I will call it a challenge.

Many of these people think that they are computer illiterate or computer challenged. I do not like to think this. I prefer to think that we are just not skilled there yet. I firmly believe that we can do anything that we truly want to. There is an old philosophical saying:

Cogito ergo sum.
“I think, therefore I am.”
~ René Descartes

This is a Latin phrase that essentially implies that we exist to think and in thinking, we exist. Circular logic but philosophical thinking is not always the clearest unless you dig down into the deepest and most existential meanings. I prefer to stay away from those most of the time. I like to think. I prefer not to make my brain hurt.

That being said, I do believe that you are largely influenced by what you think. If you think that you cannot do something, then you will not be able to do something. If someone tells you that you are stupid repeatedly, you will believe it because you are thinking this. The thought does not need to be initiated by you. Thoughts are very powerful. If you have positive and strong thoughts, you will have strong outcomes. It does not mean that everything will be rosy and happy, it just means that you will have strong outcomes.

Alas I digress…

It bothers me that people are so hesitant to try things with computers. “I am a dummy with computers” or “I am not good with computers” are not phrases that I like to hear. I actually do not accept them as truths. I prefer to think “I just have not learned that yet” or “I have not been trained on how to do that yet” over these very negative thoughts. I personally do not care if you have to be taught how to do it one time or one hundred times, this is your reality. Computers and the digital age are your reality. The sooner we all accept the fact that this “is,” the sooner you can “be” comfortable in a world that will not slow down and wait for you to “exist.” My children will not wait for you, they have no need to, their world moves faster than mine does. They do not appreciate what I remember and respect from your world.

Be positive. Look forward. Life is about learning new things. It is ever evolving. Your knowledge should be too.

Which brings me to those moments when I have to step back and really evaluate things. Who really designs certain things anyway? I can honestly and truly understand how people can become frustrated and irritated with the variety of options for various tasks out there.

Right now I want to go back and focus on the “online collaboration” task I face in my line of business. With my clients I often have to share different documents and or image proofs. Sometimes this might be something as simple as sending a single file as an attachment on an email. Other times, however, this might be multiple files, multiple times a day.

I am constantly trying to figure out how to make this the least stressful for myself and the client.

I am okay with change if it makes it better for the client. I listen to their comments and complaints and I try to adapt and adjust accordingly. I have found that this has made my way of naming files more thorough over the last few weeks. I actually thought that I was thorough before, but after one question that I had received a couple of times I thought about it and I invoked another change that I hope is more clear. For someone like myself it is extremely redundant, but for people like this particular client I hope that it will make it more clear. I actually have one more clarification to make in the naming of his files. This is something that I will carry over to the naming in other client’s files as well. It is a positive change as far as I am concerned.

The constant complaint, however, is one that is universal – getting files to and from clients without problems. I thought this was a no-brainer so to speak. I attach the file to an email. The client saves the file attached to said email to their hard drive (downloads it). I upload the file. Client downloads the file. The process works in reverse if I need them to send me documents. This is not hard.

The problem is that we are running into problems. This is hard. Or so it seems.

How do you make something so easy, easier? Or I suppose the question I should be asking is how does technology make something so easy, so hard?

So I step back and I think about it. I look at it from their perspective, or at least I try. I do not always succeed, but I try. I have to say that the word try is a big thing for me. At least try. I looked up the word “try” in the dictionary and I was amazed at how many definitions it had. There are 18 definitions listed on for the word try. There are varying meanings, but a lot of them revolve around the general meaning: to attempt.

Part of the frustration I face is that many people claiming that they are “technologically challenged” fail to even “try” to change. They make no “attempt” to change this. There is no effort put forth on their part to change their reality. They prove the adage put forth by “I think, therefore I am.”

That being said, however, I try (there is that word again) to envision how these very same minds work. Why do they think it is too hard? What scares them? What do they think they will mess up? How can things be simpler? How many steps are too many? There are a lot of things to remember and I try to find the shortest and most direct route to the solution. Things should be easy. Technology should make our lives easy not hard. Although we may be accustomed to doing things in 5 very quick steps, people that are used to doing something in 3 longer steps may not see or understand the value of those extra steps. How do we simplify or educate them on the value or efficiency?

All of that to say that in collaborating with clients I am constantly going back to the drawing board because things do not work.

The other day, I came across this service or product. I am intrigued.


It is a nice and simple option to do just what I want to do with some clients. They do not need to sign up for anything. Something that many of them are very resistant to do. I can upload the items to a single location and they can go and view the items there. With the naming strategy I use on the files, it keeps things neat and organized and they will be able to see the files – old and new.

Once we near the end of the project I can delete the old and irrelevant files and only the current and relevant files will remain for viewing. This potentially will cut down on confusion on which files we are referring to at the time. When the project is complete, all irrelevant files can be deleted leaving only current and final files that are relevant to the complete project – logo files, image files, etc. This will prevent me from having to constantly send and resend files after a project is completed. I can refer them back to the Dropmark location for them to retrieve the appropriate files.

There are still some features in the user interface that I did not like from a “simplistic” standpoint. I think it could have been easier, however, I will not knock it entirely. I think it was better than Google Drive in ease of use. To solve some of the interface problems, I simply create a couple of documents that I clearly titled “How to download files” and “How to share files.” By doing this they can read and reread the directions however many times they need and want. They can also share the files with whoever they need to share the files with in the future without me needing to be asked repeatedly in the future (in theory) to send the file.

I am excited to use more of this service. Ideally, I would incorporate it into an user account on my own website and do it off my own website interface, but for now I think this is a workable alternative solution with something that already exists. Why recreate the wheel?

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