One of the joys of being self-employed and a one-man band is that I know the guys that run all the departments. The head of finance is lost sometimes but he has good people to call. The head of marketing seems crazy but he gets results. The Chief Strategy Officer is a genius. The travel office is a mess. We outsource legal. And then there’s I.T.
Yes, all of those are me, including I.T., and here is what I’m wondering this morning. Unless you have a lot of years of med school under your belt you probably wouldn’t try and fix your kid’s broken arm by yourself but you’d pretty much HAVE to do that if it’s your computer that’s broken. I mean, yeah, there are services you can call but they’re expensive and we’re lean and mean here at Keith Ritter Media. There is software that contains diagnostic tools that are pretty good as well but if you really don’t know what’s wrong at all, except this evil machine keeps blowing up every 10 minutes, what do you do?
I went through this yesterday, fortunately with an older machine that’s not a primary box. It would boot but ran really slowly and crashed after about 10 minutes of uptime. It’s been doing this for months and I finally decided it was time to fix it. “Ah, memory problems” the geeks out there are saying. Nope. Swapped out the memory strip and nothing got better. I’ll spare you the blow by blow but I finally isolated it to a corrupted file in my anti-virus software. Uninstall, reinstall, voila – functioning PC.
Now, as the head of I.T. here, I’m supposed to know this stuff (which I say very tongue in cheek) but what do civilians do? My friends and family call me all the time with PC issues because they have no one else to call. What if they had no one and couldn’t afford to call Geek Squad or whomever else is out there? What if there wasn’t a service like that in your town? How many self-employed folks are having computer, and therefore business, issues? The diagnostic software that’s out there is more specialist than it is general practitioner and even though I run some tools weekly to keep the registry clean, to clear out temp files, etc. (the equivalent of a weekly check-up), my computer still gets sick once in a while. How about all the folks who don’t do even basic maintenance, the equivalent of washing your hands? How often do their machines get sick, run slowly, or just misbehave?
Whom would you call? How would you fix a sick computer or network or printer? And “buy a Mac” comments don’t answer the question – you can’t wait 4 days for your Genius Bar appointment when it’s your livelihood!