Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
Opinion
Education Opinion

Avoiding the IBM Selectric Repairman Syndrome

By LeaderTalk Contributor — July 18, 2010 1 min read

Here’s a story: In my earlier years, I did all of my papers on an IBM Selectric Typewriter. I wrote all of my papers in longhand and then typed them up on the trusty IBM Selectric. For those of you who are digital natives, here is a link to what it looked like and how it operated—IBM Selectric. I thought it was quite effective—I could change fonts, simply by changing the type ball. It was powerful and it didn’t have many technical issues. On those rare occasions, I would take it to a person who could repair it—the IBM Selectric Repairman.

Five years later, I learned of this really cool thing called the computer. I did my graduate papers on a word processor and thought that it was a REALLY big deal to have my work stored on 3.5 inch discs. It was beyond my means to think of something like a hard drive, much less those that we have today with voice recognition software, mobile computing, and more power in our smart phones than we had less than 10 years ago.

I sometimes think of the lonely (and now likely extinct) IBM Selectric Repairman. The repairman did a terrific job—he repaired the typewriter quickly and efficiently. He was good at customer service, he charged a reasonable price, and he did everything that he could internally to ensure that he was helpful to all who needed their Selectrics repaired. Yet, the IBM Selectric was obsolete due to external changes. Trends outside of his business made shifts to what people needed. Even though he looked internally, the demise of the Selectric was due in large part, I think, to the outside environment changing.

Are there trends we need to be aware of and act upon to ensure that we do not end up like the IBM Selectric Repairman?

The opinions expressed in LeaderTalk are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Special Education Teachers
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
BASE Program Site Director
Thornton, CO, US
Adams 12 Five Star Schools

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read