Let’s put the tool talk on hold. . .

Posted by Adam

It took much more than paint and brushes. .

When it comes to technology, it seems that the only thing that everyone wants to talk about are the “tools.” We hear all the time how all of these technologies, be they social media or otherwise, are just “tools.” Heck, I know that I have even said this, myself, on occaision.

I can understand the desire to learn about new tools. On some level, we all like shiny new things. Today’s technology has the ability to deliver shiny new things to us on an almost daily basis.

I think this desire to learn about the tools has created a void, however. As the talk about the new tools grows, the talk about the concepts and techniques that are critical to successfully using the tools is diminishing. We are becoming so distracted by our desire to hear about new tools that we are forgetting to ask how to use them.

This is a problem.

“How?” Matters
This desire to learn about new tools can easily be understood as a desire to answer the question “what?” In fact, that is often how questions about new tech tools begin, e.g. “what apps are available for CRM?” or “what is the best twitter app?” or “what is the best mobile real estate search app?”

The thing is, “what?” is a relatively easy question to answer. Heck, google search is built on the human desire to answer the question “what?” So the answer to some of the questions above is literally only a few keystrokes away. . .

The question that really matters, the question that has the ability to make or break your success with any of these tools, is “how?”

Without understanding how to use any of the tools, simply knowing that they exist is rather meaningless. Think of it this way– I know all about the tools of painting. I can go any local art supply store and buy the finest brushes, the highest quality paints, and the best canvas in the world on which to put them. None of it, however, will help me paint beautiful artwork. The reason why is becuase I don’t know how to paint. I don’t know the first thing about perspective, using light, applying shadow, composure, etc. All of these things are critical to properly using the tools.

I brought this example up to friend of mine, Bill Lublin. I said, “I can buy the best brushes and paint in the world, but I couldn’t paint the Sistine Chapel.” Bill quipped, “well, I could, but it would just be painted white.”

What Bill was expressing, in the very witty way that Bill often does, is that not having the answer to “how?” prevents us from using the tools in a way that enables us to realize our full potential.

To bring it back to the topic of real estate and technology, we should be asking less “what is the best twitter app?” and more, “how can I best use twitter to help my clients and my business?”

Where do we go from here?
I am asked, from time to time, why I don’t talk or write a whole lot about tech tools. For me, the answer has always been simple– I’m not nearly as interested in learning “what?” as I am in learning “how?” Similarly, I would much rather strive to help you discover the “how?” that is necessary to put all of these tools together in a way that is meaningful and rewarding.

Going forward, you can expect to hear a lot more from me about the “how?” Join me as I look for ways to lay a strong foundation for using all of these great tools that we have.

I’d also like to know what kinds of “how?” questions you are trying to answer, and I’m interested in hearing your own answers. So. . .

How are you using technology tools successfully?
How are you finding answers to your “how?”

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