‘I miss my typewriter’

A discussion about the pros and cons of technological developments is a bit like talking about the pros and cons of gravity. Gravity is just as self-evident as the rapid developments in engineering and technology. Regardless of whether or not it would be a wise decision, we can’t just stop.

An acquaintance of mine recently had trouble with his laptop. ‘I miss my typewriter,’ he sighed. ‘You just put in a piece of paper, you type and that’s it.’ ‘Unless you make a typing error, because then you have to start all over again,’ I said, which resulted in a nostalgic discussion about Tipp-Ex.

August Bridge lives from technology yet is also frequently confronted with the imperfections of the complex world of information technology. You probably know all about it. Especially now you are working from home and there is no system administrator or other technician down the hall.

For example, you click on a button to print an invoice. That printer is not next to your laptop, but somewhere else. You may even know where that printer is, but you don’t know in which outsourced data centre or what cloud the file you want to print is stored. When you click on ‘Print’ an error message appears, and you realize there’s so much more you don’t know.

‘It doesn’t work,’ you tell a colleague on the phone. ‘There’s probably a problem with your browser or profile,’ he says. ‘Or you have a faulty internet connection. Try restarting your router.’ You shake your head. ‘There’s nothing wrong with my internet connection. Could it be the software? The programme we use for producing invoices? Or is it the connection between that software and the rest of our ERP system?’ There’s a pause at the other end of the line. ‘Do you have a good firewall? Hold on, does our company have such protection? Yes, surely?’

Ten minutes later you and your colleague have come up with ten to twenty other possibilities. And for each of those possibilities another department of your company is involved. Or another third party. You successively consider calling Microsoft, the internet provider, the, the company that implemented your ERP system, the hardware supplier and finally a therapist who is supposed the reduce your stress levels with a few mindfulness sessions.

‘The layout and implementation of our delivery notes, time sheets and invoices – that is done by August Bridge, right?’ you ask yourself. Indeed. So, give them a call. Even before we pick up the phone, you already know what we are going to say. ‘You are not at the right place. There is probably a problem with your browser, your internet connection, your data centre or you are just clumsy.’ A so-called “user error”.

It turns out better than expected. The August Bridge employee at the other end of the line says there are two possibilities. ‘The first possibility is that you are at the right place and we will solve the problem for you. The second possibility is that you have to turn to someone else, and we will find that who that someone is and how your problem can be solved as quickly as possible. So, please click on ‘Print’ again and tell us what happens.’