By: Doug Stefanini

I have recently been reflecting on how technology has changed our day-to-day lives by uniting people and places that before were isolated and disparate.  Maybe we have become too dependent on technology, but, at times, it is a wonder to behold.

Nine years ago, I married my partner in life’s dance, my wife, Hailee.  She is from Liuzhou, China, a country we try to visit at least once every year.  We have recently returned from China having spent most of June there.  Shortly after arriving in Liuzhou, my wife and I took a trip to the remote area of Lijiang, near Tibet, to enjoy the beauty and splendor of the high-altitude views.

During the day, we visited many small roadside shops, breathed in the fresh air, and used umbrellas and rubber shoes to fend off the rain. We delighted in the amazing art and textiles that had been created by the local artists and skilled craftsmen. We enjoyed the unique dishes and unusual ingredients (goat, Himalayan yak, rose petals) of the local cuisine.   After an amazing and eventful day, we were both ready to turn in for the night.

At around 1:00 am (1:00 pm in Atlanta) I received an incoming email from a client in Florida about a desire to purchase a car for his wife.  Although I had a dedicated team at LongView to provide service for clients while I was away, I was wide awake at 1:00 am (jet-lag!), so I decided to assist with this request. Armed with only a VPN (Virtual Private Network) and an iPhone, I proceeded to contact both my client and the appropriate channels to facilitate my client’s request.  At around 4:00 am I was happily able to get to sleep, knowing I had been able to help a client and his family.

Can we be slaves to technology?  Well, maybe.  But it is comforting to know that during that brief period of near total isolation, I was able to assist a client with just my phone.  Yes, it was 2:00 am in Tibet; I was in one of the most remote places on earth; but I was also as connected as if I were sitting in my office in Atlanta.  I cannot ask more of technology than that!