Paths Forged, Lessons Learned, and Managing the Chocolate.

Updated: May 14, 2020

BLOG- Feb 2020

It’s coming up on 2 years since I left my “normal” job with the American Academy of Pediatrics and took a leap of faith that I could create a business that would help people spend a little less time staring at screens and a little more time connecting with each other in real time. You know... a simple goal :) I started out full of hope and ego that I could craft something that would speak to people. As to be expected, reality hit me smack in the face. Some hard lessons learned:

  • Using social media to suggest people take breaks from social media is quite the challenge - Saying I was "using my tech to get you to take a break from your tech" got a chuckle. While using social media is a necessary marketing strategy these days, it is ironic to some for sure.

  • Setting up an LLC was tricky - especially with a brain trained in non-profit mode.

  • People love their phones and hate their phones - getting some people to attend a presentation where they fear I may try to separate them from their metal appendages is akin to prying a lollipop out of a 2 year old’s hand.

  • Restaurants may love the idea of patrons unplugging but are fighting to stay relevant - many are afraid to offend even one customer who might go to the sparkly new restaurant down the street (not to mention the competition from Netflix and Uber eats who help us to never leave the couch).

  • Mom's with little ones are hard to reach - they have "O" syndrome. They are overwhelmed, over-committed, and over-solicited. Getting them together is like herding cats. To reach them I have to think outside the box and go find them.

All these things did set me back just a wee bit. I found that all the ego and passion in the world doesn’t always make things go as quickly as one would like. That said, it’s ok. Really, truly it is! I’ve got a treasure trove of valuable lessons in my pocket now and found them to be a necessary part of this journey, giving me an opportunity at some trial and error and the chance to find people to collaborate with. All super important details when diving into a problem with as big of a scope as digital dependency (the PC term we have to use because we can’t fully say that these gadgets are addicting yet- I have my own personal opinions on that!).

Things are certainly different than 8 years ago when I first started looking into this problem. Back then we saw the effects of too much tech for teens but there wasn’t much research or info about the scope of the problem.

We were worried about sexy selfies, bullies and online predators. Now the list has grown substantially and we can add mental health issues, sleep problems, tech neck, perfectly curated Insta feeds, comparison culture, and a mountain of apps reaching out to us 24/7.

The research is flooding in about the problems associated with too much tech time but much of it gets outdated quickly and we simply can’t keep up with the rapid pace of tech … it’s like an old VW bug trying to keep up with a Tesla. Not exactly a fair race. Add to that, we are at the very early stages of figuring out how to best help people. I do see similarities to the early 70’s when we were just starting to wonder if tobacco was a serious problem. I'm dating myself now but I recall driving (likely sprawled out in the back seat window minus a seat belt) with my chain-smoking Dad when I asked if we could please roll the window down to let some of the plumes of smoke escape. The response was to keep the window UP due to the noise. This was normal then. Thankfully, we know a lot more about the dangers of tobacco now. The digital wellness business will go the same route and we will likely one day look back and comment about the crazy wild west days of the internet.

Every week there are new stories of the dangers of too much tech time. As humans (most of us whom depend pretty darn heavily on tech to exist) we are left in a state of conflict over how to manage our devices so they help us but don’t