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Tech Club Mixer an Eye-Opener
By: David Retz
Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Solvang, CA - On October 17, the Santa Ynez Valley Tech Club hosted a mind-expanding presentation on technology and communication at Solvang's Royal Scandinavian Inn. As one of the quarterly presentations by the Tech Club, this was a rare and sorely-needed departure from the glory of technology and the reality of human communications in the modern world.

The speaker, Mr. Kevin Mills, was raised in England, received his bachelors degree at a small college in the mid-west, and his MBA from Harvard University. He is currently serving his second appointment as a Chief Executive Officer of a high-tech company: Demarc, in Carpinteria. Demarc is a computer software security company, and was a provider of part of the communications and computing infrastructure for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Completely engaging the audience (especially by introducing himself to individuals at random intervals), Mr. Mills used this to aptly emphasize the key phrase: business is about relationships. His presentation started with examples of the impact of modern telephone and cellphone technology, which makes possible the interruption of your conversations through special features like “call waiting”.

Mr. Mills demonstrated the dilemma: the decision to use ever-new features of communication systems may, in fact, lead to the inability to carry out a meaningful conversation. Mr. Mills showed several examples of how the misuse of new technology has impeded our ability to converse, and thereby trustfully establish customer relationships. The well-advertised “interrupt-driven, multi-tasking” capability enabled by modern technology might work well for robots, but not for humans. (Ironically, his presentation was interrupted at this point by a ringing cellphone in the audience.)

Of interesting note was his query of: “who is an avid user of instant messaging?”, at which point he was engaged by a 9-year old attendee. Point taken: new paradigms (methods of communication and language, for example) are quickly adopted by quite young people – and these become the formative influence of new company culture and direction.

The Santa Ynez Valley Tech Club meets quarterly, and provides technical presentations/programs for the public. The Club promotes the development of technical careers, serves as a resource for sharing ideas, and raises the profile of the Santa Ynez Valley as a professional location for technology companies.




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