Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: travel (page 1 of 2)

Living In Airplane Mode

“No, it was 1963, I’m sure of it!” “It’s 1964, really.” “Oh just Google it.” “Hmm, it says here 196…WHAT IS THAT?!”

Pointing out the monster on the wing is way better than being proven wrong by the omniscient Google. It wasn’t always this simple to drop a knowledge bomb, though.

How quickly we forget. In 2007, Apple ushered in the modern smartphone era. Before the iPhone, we either had “smart” phones or Blackberry’s. Neither category was particularly good at browsing the Internet. No Siri or Cortana in those days, either. Unless it was essential, you waited to research when back at a computer. But the web still had hold.

Let’s go back even further, before the Internet, like, the 80s. Big hair, boomboxes, leg warmers, neon clothing…got it? If you didn’t know something, you asked another person. Or, crazy as it sounds today, drove to the library. Society operated without all the answers at our fingertips and Def Leppard had no idea how much reverb they used.

Last month, I met a group of friends in Peru to hike the Inca Trail. 5 days, 4 nights of grueling steps, towering mountains, and no wi-fi. We used our phones solely as cameras and flashlights. Roughing it, I know. The separation from our always-on culture began on the flight to Lima. “Please switch all cellular phones to airplane mode.” My phone remained in this state until landing again in Florida. Have you seen roaming charges?

A number of times during our trek, a question was posed. Nothing too substantial, just, “hey, what song has the line?” or “how long is that other trail?” Yet we couldn’t look it up! Being disconnected caught us all off-guard. And it was wonderful.

When instant answers are available, conversations falter. With no reason to think, debate, or discuss, you move on to the next topic. No depth, no connection. Call me old-fashioned, but I enjoy a chat wherein we don’t have every fact at our immediate disposal. Imagine a debate about sports stats…done with a Siri request. Sure, now we all know, but where was the fun, the light-hearted arguments, the silly bets, and the social bonds?

Lifestyle guidance sites sometimes recommend disconnect periods, full separation from technology, to get back with yourself. Whether it’s an hour a day or a week per year, the effect is the same; active thought coupled with in-person communication.

It’s tempting to want every new technology for your members, and I’m not suggesting abandoning any of these efforts. Millennials and other generations alike seek the simplicity of modern conveniences. However, once you have these things, everyone is the same. Whether you’re a $5B national credit union, a $25M community charter, or a bank with America in its name, the experience is similar. If your member turns on Airplane Mode, do you stand out?

Image credit: https://support.apple.com/en-us/ht204234

Pages of Your Passport

The passport. Perhaps the item most representative of travel, exploration, distant places, and adventure. Do you have one? What stories does it tell? Flipping through the pages is a journey through the past. From my own: Cayman Islands, what a dive trip. Galapagos, islands locked in time. Belize, the meeting of conservation and sustenance. Peru, where Machu Picchu was only one of the spectacles. Canada, because Niagara Falls from the U.S. side is only ok. Bahamas, because boating from island to island doesn’t get old.

The State Department gives 10 years between renewals. How many pages can you fill in a decade? For me, fewer than I had hoped. Don’t get me wrong, each stamp has hours of tales, but there are far more countries not represented. My next one is here, and it will tell new stories, becoming the anchor for more memories of adventures gone by.

Look at your credit union’s passport. Are the pages full? Is it tattered from use or still crisp as new? Consider it your 10-year review. How many journeys did you take for your members? Can you look back and say, “we did it all, and I’m happy to retire it for a new set of pages”?

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily crises and opportunities. We can sometimes lose sight of the overarching mission. If that happens, grab your passport. Relish in the memories of your many accomplishments, then find the blank pages, and imagine how you can serve your members in new ways.

Bonus: No waiting in customs lines.

Image credit: https://openclipart.org/detail/170991/passport-and-ticket

Earshakes vs. Handshakes

Hello, can you hear me? I’m currently flying back from LA after two days of meetings with partner companies and clients. Geek fascination: This iPad is online…while it’s magically floating over 30,000 feet above the western United States. Is the connection any good? Not particularly…no video and the streaming audio struggles. But, hey, Twitter and Facebook!

Of course, the travels got me thinking (oh no!). Much of our business is conducted over the phone and computer. It has proven an efficient and effective manner of communicating. We are able to include multiple participants spanning large geographic ranges in a single conversation. Often on short notice, something just not possible with face-to-face. Take a morning meeting with a partner in Texas, joined by others in California. Enjoy a break for lunch, then go to NYC for an operations update. Sure, since the advent of phones we could do such things, but adding the file and screen sharing really seals the deal. (Out of respect for all parties, we rarely ask for video-based meetings. If sweat pants are your thing, that’s quite alright.)

Simply put, we would be unable to build or support our client base without such technologies.

Yet there’s a value to being more than within earshot.

A partner summed it up perfectly yesterday as he explained, “we have been speaking for months; I know all of your voices and your names are a familiar sight in my inbox. But it really is great to put a person to those things!” He continued with an even more astute observation, “It was beneficial to see everyone’s faces as a question was asked, or to see their body language. On the phone, you can cover that up. In person, it’s all there.”

Could it be? Does our trust of others revolve around observing them directly? At least to some point, this is true. We make consciously-imperceptible movements when interacting with another person. You may not notice, but your brain does. Ever just “get a feeling” about someone, good or bad? Thank your brain for catching those subtle cues.

While we will always embrace the technology, efficiency, and convenience of online meetings, this will be a year of handshakes over earshakes. Are we working with you? Will you be reprinting this blog in the Metropolis Daily Bugle? (How did you get it past Jonah Jameson?)

Then grab your sonic screwdriver, open up your tricorder, draw your light saber, because you might just get a visit!

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