Have you ever walked through a restaurant only to see every person around a table engrossed in their smartphones instead of talking to each other?
It's an experience Debbie Dove Larson, vice president of sales, north central region, at Sirius Computer Solutions, used an example of how absorbed people are in technology these days, sometimes to their detriment.
"Don't underestimate non-device communications … Sometimes you actually have to talk to people," said Dove Larsen Tuesday during the Women of the Channel West Career Pursuits Workshop in Napa, Calif. The workshop, which preceded The Channel Company's Women of the Channel West conference, brought together area high school and college students with female channel executives to encourage young women to consider careers in technology.
Dove Larsen extolled the virtues of MBWA, or Management By Walking Around, a concept she was first introduced to during her college years at Baylor University.
"We're all very tied to this technology, and we think we can solve all the world's problems on this technology," Dove Larsen said. "If you don't have relationships with people, and if you don't get around, walk around and see what's happening, and understand what's happening, and try to do something about it, you probably won't meet the goals you've set for yourself."
By way of example, she pointed to her own management technique at Sirius, No. 27 on the 2016 CRN Solution Provider 500, where she makes sure to talk to people to gather all the information she can to help clients out. "I make it a point to call people in accounting and say, 'I see there's a credit problem with one of our customers, can you tell me about that?'
For Anika Bagga, a junior at Cupertino High School who attended the workshop, the pull of technology is something she and her friends are conscious of.
"[When my friends and I go out to dinner,] we always try to put our phones in the middle of the tale and have that face-to-face conversation but, yes, it's very easy for us to get occupied in our own phones," Bagga said.
Of course, the next generation's obsession with technology isn't all bad, she said.
"It's really important to be plugged into technology because they're going to be the next generation that's using this technology and they can see the next applications of how technology can improve people's lives," she said.