Tips to Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Making the switch to new technology harbors hidden costs. Steep learning curves compromise productivity, costing your company time and money. If you’re thinking about upgrading your technology, take a few proactive steps and minimize decreased productivity and increased irritation.

Recently my beloved PC went the way of electronic items and crashed permanently. I decided to transition to a new Mac. While I am falling truly, madly, and deeply in love with my shiny new laptop, the transition hasn’t been all champagne and rose petals.

Learning all the Mac keystrokes and shortcuts has been more than a bit frustrating at times, leaving me yearning for my defunct PC. But this old dog is determined to teach my fingers and mind to speak fluent Mac. Overall, it’s been a relatively smooth transition.

Here are a few pointers that helped me smooth out the bumps in my own technological transition. They may help you quickly get back up to speed after your next tech upgrade.

  1. Mental preparation—Mindset is the most critical component to a smooth and successful transition. If you’re resisting change and dragging your feet, you’re going to create a miserable transition. Save yourself a huge headache by going into the experience with the awareness that you’ll have to invest a little extra time learning how to operate your new gadget.
  2. Do your research—What do you really need? What are you going to use it for? What do you want it to do? Spend some time online checking out product reviews and Consumer Reports product reviews. Have a chat with the salesperson and let him or her know what you need from the product.
  3. Get the extended warranty—In my experience, the extended warranties are extremely worthwhile. As with any insurance policy, you’re buying peace of mind. And peace of mind is vital to an entrepreneur. Your time and attention are best spent running and growing your business, not occupied worrying over the sudden death of finicky electronic equipment.
  4. Read the manual—I’ve met several people who think owner’s manuals are an insult to their intelligence. Yet, a bit of time flipping through its pages can help you avoid frustration and wasting your valuable time. If you rankle at the thought of reading a manual, ask yourself this: is pride more important than productivity?
  5. Ask Google—It’s easy to take for granted the nearly infinite source of answers and solutions you have at your fingertips. If you’re stuck, ask Google. You will find a host of YouTube tutorials, forum conversations and other troubleshooting information that will quickly get you up and running.

Does the thought of a tech-transition light up your eyes or make you want to run and hide? I’d love to hear your experiences with upgrading technology in your business—the good, the bad and the ugly. Thanks for sharing!

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10 Responses to “Tips to Teach an Old Dog New Tricks”

  1. Michael Drew January 3, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    Congratulations on making the switch from PC to Mac 🙂

    • Kirsten Nelson January 3, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

      Thanks. My Mac and I are still getting used to each other, but it’s been a good transition. 🙂

  2. Aldous Irving Jimenez-Echegoye January 3, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    Kirsten, my all time favorite is “read the manual”.  It’s funny how many people never read the manual and then complain how complicated technology is.

    • Kirsten Nelson January 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm #


      Too true! When someone asks me a question about how to do something I respond with one of two questions in turn:

      1. What do the instructions say? 
      2. What does Google say?

      Amazing the things you can learn from those two little things! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Kelly January 3, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

    This is an excellent article! Google and I are best friends and we did a LOT of review-reading together on Christmas night and I selected the perfect PC the next morning. PC instead of Mac? Yes, because what I needed was anything but another learning curve. I did, however, get the PC that everyone raved was closest to a Mac. Baby steps.

    I’ve seen ego win out over a owners manual so many times, it makes my head spin! I’m a HUGE fan of owners manuals and glad they are online instead of microscopic books that come in the product box. Of course, if you don’t know how to get online with your new computer, that wouldn’t do you much good now would it? 🙂

    Thanks for the great tips!

    • Kirsten Nelson January 4, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

      Thanks Kelly! Good for you knowing your limits and what you want and for making a decision based on what you needed (not what everyone else is doing). 

      LOL on the online owner’s manuals! 

  4. Andrea Reindl January 4, 2012 at 12:08 am #

    Kirsten! Welcome of course to Mac land! 

    I love google…almost any time I have a question Google can answer it. Good advice.

    • Kirsten Nelson January 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

      Thanks, Andrea. I’ll admit there are times when I get a bit impatient with the Mac to PC transition and I shed a tear or two for my old PC. 🙂

      Google really is the best! I often wonder how we ever lived without it. 

  5. Jenn January 4, 2012 at 1:25 am #

    Love My MAC!

  6. Tony Holowitz January 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    Regarding your article about old dogs, I have the worlds most perfect solution, My website http://www.TeachAnOldDogNewTricks.com.  I offer more than 60 hours of free computer training and technology tutorials, most of which were created by me.

    Tony Holowitz | Chief Old Dog

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