Looking Backward…Seeing Forward

I was talking with one of my office employees last week, and we were discussing how my Blackberry was behaving ( poorly I might add). He is a young “device geek”, and quickly pointed out that I needed to move to the new iPhone, a move I have admittedly considered for various reasons. However, as he was “schooling me” on the plusses of the iPhone and many minuses of my poor Blackberry, I began drifting off to an earlier time…a time when a hand-held mini “computer phone” was nearly science fiction to me.
As COO of a limo service in Chicago, there are plenty of things to keep me from remembering what happened to me yesterday, much less a month ago, or a year ago. So much is always going on that “tripping down memory lane” isn’t an option. But last week’s conversation got me to take a little trip to the past…some 30 years ago, when I started driving for O’Hare-Midway Limousine Service.
The two things that jumped to the forefront of my thoughts are navigational units and cell phones, obviously due to the fact that both devices are entwined in what we all do. Not only have these devices changed what we do in the world of limousine service, they have changed daily life for a multitude of people from every walk of life.
It seems incomprehensible that a mere 30 years ago, I was trained to use a set of maps to find a client’s address. The problem was, these maps were old and inaccurate. Each town had its own page, so if you weren’t sure where you were going, it would be difficult to get onto that “page”. Navigational units have taken a lot of the stress out of finding addresses, and while not perfect…they are really amazing pieces of technology. Just think; you have a tiny box on (or in) your dashboard that talks to you while you drive, telling you how close you are to your next turn, or when you have arrived at your destination. Who would have thought of that in the early 1980’s? Yet most drivers are familiar with them now.
Cell phones are “The Holy Grail” of technology. They haven’t just changed the way we communicate (or fail to communicate), they have changed how we live. Now hit the “reverse” button to the mid-1980’s. Every chauffeur knew where each payphone was in every town, and what kind of shape they were in. If there was a problem, you headed to the nearest payphone and called for help, weather permitting of course. And you always carried change. Today, all you need to do is say the name of your contact into your device and speech recognition software will auto-dial your phone to track that person down.
While it’s exciting to think of how far we’ve come in the 30 years I’ve been in the limo business, it’s more exciting to think of where the world will be 30 years from now. Flying limousines….? Who knows?? It could happen.

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Dale Schahczinski
Goal driven team leader, with industry experience spanning all aspects of operations and administration.