Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: processes

What Do You Mean You Don’t…?

A previous post discussed the risks that can come with, ba-dum, assuming! Yet here I have done it again. What about this time? Computer usage. More specifically, saving/backing up.

It was freshman year of high school. By then, the internet was a thing, yet not nearly the eponymous concept pervasive throughout society. It was for tech-savvy people to play and others to exchange e-mails and instant messages with family and friends found through Classmates.com.

Put it this way: No Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.

Without these kings of distractions invented yet (there was MySpace), I did my homework. Towards the end of the year, I had a research paper on China. Yes, as a freshman I summarized the entire history of China into a few typed pages (double-spaced!); there might have been a few things left out.

Anyway, I wrote and wrote, saving regularly. Every day or so, I copied the file onto a 3.5″ floppy (remember those?). However, towards the end of composition, I had forgotten to do the disk backup, and added most of the final content. Just as I finished it, ready to hit print, the computer froze. Upon restarting, it wouldn’t even boot.

The hard drive died. In computers, that’s about as bad as it gets.

To say I was upset would be an understatement. The paper was due shortly and I had lost a large portion of my work. In a fit of desperation, I kicked the computer (we still used desktops). I heard a few clicks, then a whine. The hard drive was struggling to spin! By refining my kick into strategic knocks and taps, I managed to get the system running (it took repeated restarts as it continually froze), then finally copied the treasured file onto a floppy.

I got lucky. But I learned a valuable lesson that day: If you care about it, back it up.

Today, my backup routines consist of more than blunt-force impacts. I use a combination of cloud backup, external drives, synced computers, hosted servers, and cloned operating systems. I’m thankful to say that since that fateful day, I have not lost anything of value.

Why tell this whole story? It turns out, my situation from long ago, which I think of as a helpful lesson, happens daily even now. I had assumed that people no longer lost content, since we have so many easy and free ways to back up your data. An Amazon Student Facebook giveaway showed me otherwise. To enter, they wanted you to post a technology nightmare. Almost every one told a tale of data lost.

So I want to help. My next post will explain all of my backup routines, the services I use, how often they are done, and what is best to go where. A few minutes per week alongside an understanding of what software will protect your data is all it takes to reduce the odds of losing anything of value.

Isn’t that end-of-quarter finance report worth protecting? What about your family photos?

Here’s the backup advice, available as the next post (look, I’m writing from the future!). For now, the old advice stands: Save early and often!

Who’s Your Imagineer?

This post is a continuation of a previous discussion: R&D…Not Just for Tech Firms. If you are on a time-crunch, this one can be read on its own too, though I would strongly suggest you return to learn about how Research & Development can create more than the next phone or car.

As a lifelong Disney-geek, an easy way to send me into a “Mufasa!” frenzy is by leaning in and whispering the word, Imagineer. “Imagineer, Imagineer, Imagineer!”

Imagineers (ooh, do it again!) are the people behind creating Disney magic. From ensuring animation matches reality to creating a slice of the African Serengeti outside of Orlando, they bring ideas to life. Why did Bambi move just how a deer would? Imagineers studied small deer in zoos and the wild to gather all the intricacies of their behavior. How did they know Aladdin’s magic carpet would hold both his and Jasmine’s weight? Imagineers tracked down the oldest surviving magic carpets, then rode them with varying weights (turns out, a well-maintained magic carpet can fly with up to 500 pounds).

These are the people who dream it, then build it. The Epcot globe (Spaceship Earth) was an idea in the mind long before construction teams ever broke ground. In fact, it was said that it could not be done, that the supports wouldn’t hold it up. A giant geodesic sphere rolling through World Showcase was not the image Disney wanted the public to have. But there it is, time-traveling ride inside it and all. On behalf of many EPCOT (in the original all-caps) geeks, thank you Imagineers.

Disney is a place where magic and reality intersect for visitors of all ages. That’s no accident. Thousands, perhaps millions, of hours of brainstorming went into creating every attraction, process, and procedure to make the difference between a great experience and a magical one.

Look inside your own credit union. Do you have any Imagineers on your staff? Maybe they’re dormant because no one has asked for their input. Or they don’t feel it would be valued, since it’s not their department. Within the Imagineering department at Disney, every cast member is an Imagineer, from the master engineer to the front desk secretary. Talk about empowerment.

So, who’s your Imagineer?

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