I wish someone had told me that one day technology would keep me employed, connected, caffeinated and entertained

“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that’s recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week’s post is by word nerd and accidental technophile, Colin Ford.

It’s crazy, this world. But imagine how absolutely impossible it would be without technology. Who would have thunk it five years ago? Or even five months ago?

Okay, the human race managed to get by during the so-called Spanish Flu pandemic 100 or so years ago. And Shakespeare wrote some of his best works during an outbreak of the plague in the 17th century. But we’re luckier in our modern world. We have tech. And tech will save many of us from going crazy in the current plague. It’s certainly saved me so far!

I am fortunate enough to have access to a host of technology that keeps me employed, connected, caffeinated and entertained.

Staying employed

I’ve worked on some amazing projects under lockdown, all without leaving my home.

The RMB building lights project was particularly exciting. The initiative, led by the madly creative Carolynne Waterhouse, saw RMB’s Sandton offices being bathed in light (who remembers Jean Michel Jarre?) to show solidarity with all Africans – particularly frontline workers – in these exceptional times.

Speaking of things artsy, it’s been a total privilege to handle the South African PR for Marquee TV, which streams recordings of the most amazing international shows. It’s well worth checking out.

Apart from generating a bunch of press for Marquee TV, we also spoke to its CEO, Simon Walker, in our “State of the Arts” webinar, which was very well received. Other speakers were Janet Baylis from the Festival of Excellence in Dramatic Arts (FEDA), Savannah Feeke-Fortune of Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) and the difficult-to-define doyenne of the local art world, Ann Roberts (a.k.a. Ann of Many Hats). You can watch the full webinar on the CN&CO YouTube channel.

It’s a bit of a secret, and not really aimed at the South African market, but I also worked on the set-up of a fantastic career advancement and assessment tool called developmycareer, which promises to “help you to better understand your strengths, interests, capabilities, career path, inhibitors and preferences at work.” The process is totally online and administered by industrial and organisational psychologists. developmycareer offers corporate-grade feedback to anyone looking to make changes or improvements to their working lives.

I’ve also loved working with Blake on the PR for the RMB National Rowing Squad. We have seen some great stories being published under lockdown, including reports on how the squad carried on training despite the tough social conditions. By the way, if you haven’t watched A Story of Courage, a brilliant doccie on the squad’s mettle, do yourself a favour and check it out. You can access it here or check it out on Showmax.

Staying connected

There are so many virtual events popping up these days it’s difficult to choose which ones to attend. My favourites are TED Circles (which happens once a month with Josh), InsureTalk (also a monthly event – this one put together by the CN&CO Events team and headline sponsored by Santam), and Cartesian Talks (with Anthea Gardner of Cartesian Capital).

Book here for Cartesian Talks, 9 July, 11am
Book here for TED Circles, 15 July, 4pm
Book here for InsureTalk4, 16 July, 10am

My good friend Danielle de Grooth runs a mean virtual quiz night, which is always loads of fun and a great way for friends and colleagues to interact in an informal setting. In fact, we’re having one tomorrow night in lieu of the Thursday Next Book Club. Drop Danielle an email if you’d like to find out more. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

I also connect regularly with family and friends via WhatsApp and Zoom – a couple of great pieces of tech. (Who remembers Skype?)

Staying caffeinated

I think our coffee machine has more tech in it than the first moon rocket did. It’s very bossy – always telling me to fill the water tank, empty the grounds, blah blah blah – but it makes seriously good coffee, so worth putting up with the nagging.

Staying entertained

I was devastated when Hasbro scrapped the Facebook Scrabble app. I found a round of Scrabble the ideal time-filler between … well, anything, really. I have subsequently discovered Bridge Base Online, which I regularly play solo and with company (viz. Carel and Penny, who are both seasoned, fabulous bridge players).

On to my iPad… seriously… I couldn’t live without it. I use it to read – especially since we can’t have book club under lockdown! – play bridge, (used to play Scrabble), watch videos in bed (notably Netflix and Marquee TV), stalk people on Instagram, listen to podcasts (The Moth and 99% Invisible are my favourites) and stream music via Deezer.

I have also used my iPad many times to watch YouTube videos that explain how to work my coffee machine.

Isn’t technology amazing?

Colin is our resident wordsmith. He can write absolutely anything and loves to read, too. He even has his own book club.