The American Monkey Trap
to from a Frustrated User Near You . . .
An article about how we Americans tolerate ineffective technology in the 21st century!
Another one of those Dan’s New Leaf Posts, meant to inspire thought about IT Governance . . . .
The only thing is . . . . he’s not finished writing it!
If you don’t know what an Indian Monkey Trap is . . . . and I actually first heard it described as an African Monkey Trap when Zig Ziglar used it in the nineteen eighties . . . . let me simplify it for you: apparently you can catch a monkey by staking a box to the ground that has a hole in it large enough for a monkey’s hand, unless the hand has a banana in it.
The story is meant to illustrate how sometimes we can get “attached” to goals or objectives or beliefs or myths or . . . . in the case of the American Monkey Trap . . . . technologies . . . that trap us.
Whereas, if we just let go, we are free.
And so I’ve been writing this article called “The American Monkey Trap,” and was hoping to publish it “by the Ides of March.” I was at first thinking that I could tie the whole “beware the Ides of March” with the theme of “we don’t have to use the technology” but ended up in a major state of writers’ block for many reasons.
Well, writers block, and a fear of showing people just how easy it is for me to break technology.
Thus, this placeholder has been here since March 6th, 2015, when I first realized I would not have the article completed on time. So now, as I continue to procrastinate on the release of my article, I have tried to provide commentary as to where I am on the article in the updates below . . . .
03/13/15 Update: Still not finished. Given that it’s Friday the thirteenth, right before Pi (03/14/15), I thought I’d at least note I’m about 75% finished. The article will center around the notion of the “Monkey Trap.”
04/11/15 Update: Okay, so I’ve made very little progress. I could blame that on the American Monkey Trap itself, but one of the points I’m wanting to establish with the article is that we need to take responsibility and accountability for our own protection, our own use, our own accidental misuse of technology. So instead, I’m blaming the weather. I mean, it’s been amazingly great out there, and thus my garden has taken higher priority than this article!
05/18/15 Update: It’s been a nice spring, and when I have time to do things like write articles about how technology doesn’t HAVE to work in the 21st century, precisely because of the American Monkey Trap, I have been forcing myself to log out, and go outside. The American Monkey Trap will have to wait!
05/27/15 Update: After saying “I just don’t trust e-mail” into a voicemail left to see if a colleague had caught the e-mails I sent over the weekend (because I did not hear back from her and that just isn’t like her), as I hung up, I started thinking about this article again. And then I thought . . . you know what, maybe I can justify not releasing it yet by doing an unscientific survey?
Maybe I should count how many times I hang up on a Client in a week. Do it for a couple of months, and get an average per week. Comparing that to the days when I proudly carried my first cell phone (1998?), when our company policy was “do not call Clients from your cell phone, as you might end up accidentally hanging up on them.”
And then, on the way in to update this article with my new excuse, I had to log in twice. It’s a “weird glitch” the guys are working on, that came when we upgraded our multi-factor authentication process. The point being, I forgot all about this particular monkey trap, and didn’t even realize how I had accepted it, until it caught me logging in to complain about another monkey trap that I realized could be an excuse, while I was apologizing for my lack of trust in the greatest monkey trap of them all . . . . e-mail.
06/03/15 Update: Interestingly, I don’t think I’ve hung up on a Client since my last update.
But in a recent committee meeting, with some darn good ISOs, they saw how the keyboard on my laptop “bounced.” They saw it in the document we were reviewing in our GTM session. I explained that my keyboard bounced, and in a jovial matter they kidded, “yeah, sure, blame it on the technology.”
I understand and agree with the sentiment . . . . it’s often the way we use the technology that causes it to fail. But my techs, who have been working on the bouncing keyboard, think it might be due to the laptop being a “gamer” laptop. They’ve shown me how to “tweak it,” but after several months of tinkering, it still “bounces.”
But forget that. I grant that it’s usually the way the user uses the technology that causes the failure. I actually teach and preach this notion in Awareness Training. And it’s ironic that I, a user, would complain about . . . . now wait, write an article about . . . technology not working.
But I think the point of this article is INDEED that it’s the way we use the technology that causes the problem. For example, after hanging up on my Client the FIRST time . . . driving down the road . . . I should simply put the phone away, and not call him or her back at all. Calling back three or four times is, indeed, the American Monkey Trap. And the entire point of this article is going to be:
If you do not want to take the time to protect yourself
from the technology THAT’S OKAY. Just don’t use the technology.
Assuming I ever publish it . . . . .
Original article by Dan Hadaway CRISC CISA CISM. Founder and Managing Partner, infotex
Dans New Leaf is a fun blog to inspire thought in the area of IT Governance.