As every businessman knows the more you understand the less likely you are to get ripped off. The same is true for technology services. The less you understand about the tech service your company is buying; the more likely you are to get a bad deal. As technology becomes essential for productivity and marketing this becomes a make or break it factor for your business.
I could give many examples of even small non tech-related companies suffering from low quality technical systems and services. I’m not talking about the front end stuff any businessman can easily understand, like “I need a better website” or “I need an app”. I’m referring to what looks like a beautiful looking website to you, might actually be a disaster in terms of malware and SEO. Even if you hired an IT guy that you trust or even your own employee, you don’t know what you’re paying for unless you know what he’s doing.
You might be thinking: “How could I understand that stuff? it’s rocket science to me”. The answer is, it’s not rocket science. You don’t need all the details to have some idea of what’s going on in the big picture. What you should be looking for is a better broad understanding of all the high tech services that your business is using.
There are some companies devoted to teaching tech to non “techies” such as decoded.com, but they cost around $1500 a day. Not surprisingly, this method was found to be neither cost effective or conducive to learning. As a result, the industry of tech consulting seminars of the 80’s and 90’s has been replaced by the world of self learning online websites.
PluralSite, Lynda, and Coursera are probably the biggest players in the online self learning industry. The beauty of learning online is it’s exactly what you want, available whenever you want. Here are some tips for quick and effective ways of getting the knowledge you need:
Look for beginner courses on services you are using (e.g. “web development” or “AWS”)
Find well rated courses and see if the “overview” or “big picture” lectures are free (thats all you need)
In EdX all the courses are free with professors from top Universities.
In conclusion, it’s worth the small, smart investment even if you hate everything tech. Don’t assume you know everything about apps or websites when all you really know is your current user experience. Think about costs, security, SEO, maintenance and futurability of the product you are paying for.