It was a great “gotcha” moment. I had been negotiating the sale of all of the assets on a receivership in another state for a month. The deal was pending in a motion filed with the court. The attorney for the other side had been dragging his heels over every development. But of course, when I go on vacation, he goes to court and tells the judge that he needs a change and that I’m not a professional receiver because we’ll have to delay the change for a week while I’m gone.
So I get an email from my counsel, who is in Boston, telling me the other side wants to amend a document and they need my signature. Not such a big deal, right? Well, it is if you’re on a boat traveling from Sweden to Russian and just after I received the email, the Internet and all of the electronics on the boat, including printers, stopped working.
All technology was dead in the water – no pun intended.
I figured there must be some Internet available somewhere on the ship, and sure enough, turns out the Captain has his own proprietary system that they use for navigation.
Now I had access but how to get a document signed from onboard? Fortunately, I had an app called SignEasy that allows you to legally sign documents from smartphones and tablets. I had the attorney send me a PDF of the document I needed to sign, inserted my signature and sent it back.
Yes, it cost me $150, the minimum the Captain wanted to access his Internet, for a job that took less than five minutes. But in my clients’ eyes I need to be seen as a guy who gets things done and is accessible to them, no matter what the circumstances. The attorney in Boston was so impressed with how fast I turned that document around (and that he could tell the other side to stuff it), he referred another piece of business to me. “If you can get stuff done like that, I want you on my team,” he said.
I’ve learned that using the right technology can make you look smarter than you are. Before I had gone on a previous cruise I took some computer classes at Apple, then hired the teacher for an additional two hours to sit with me and educate me on the best iPad applications for my business. It was well worth the investment. I wanted to be able to conduct business from anywhere in the world, whether I was on land or at sea, with just my iPad.
Another app he told me about that I now use daily is called Evernote. I can make notes, take photos, create to-do lists on any of my devices and they are updated on all of them. These notes are also completely searchable so I don’t waste time hunting down a phone number or note I’ve made. I can share notes with friends on social media and record voice and audio notes, perfect for when I’m traveling.
Some people seem to pride themselves on not owning a smartphone or don’t see the use for an iPad. I would just say this, if you’re not using the latest technology, you can bet your competition or the guys on the other side of the negotiating table are. If you want to compete in today’s world, you need to use every tool available to you. And that includes the latest in technology.
Don’t you want to have your own gotcha moment?