A Computer for Business

by Robbie Schlosser · 4 comments

Thanks in advance for reading this article. I appreciate your interest and hope you get a few good ideas. I'd love to hear what you liked. Please write me a little COMMENT below. Start a conversation. Tell me what you think, and I'll reply. Promise.

Computer for Business?  Who doesn’t use a computer for business these days?

You?  Me?  Every day I use my computer to manage and track my band’s business.  And to communicate with my friends and colleagues.

And to communicate with my clients, of course.  Especially to help people find songs for their celebrations.

You’re using a computer right now.  Are you searching online for particular songs for your next event?

Maybe not yet.  But whenever the time is right, you should.  You can ask endless questions.  And you can easily find answers unavailable anywhere else.

Searching online is SO powerful and SO easy.  Dozens of search tools like Google, Yahoo, iTunes, YouTube, even Pinterest, can answer hundreds of questions like these:

  • What songs were popular the year I was born, the year we met, the year we were founded, or the year we married?
  • What song titles refer to San Francisco, or New York, or Paris, or Georgia, or California?
  • What song titles include my name, or my spouse’s, or our guest of honor’s.
  • What songs complement my theme:  New Orleans Mardi Gras, Great Gatsby, Roaring 20s, Big Band Era?
  • What songs refer to my business?  My industry?  My product?  My service?
  • Name the most popular songs by the Beatles, Elvis, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong, Willie Nelson, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, or Fred Astaire.  Or by George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Rogers and Hart, or Antonio Carlos Jobim?

These questions never end.  Customize your own.

So here’s a tip:  Whenever you’re hunting for the perfect music for your next celebration, be sure to search online.  Use your computer.  And ask me to help, of course.

Now, let me change perspective.  When did I begin using my computer for business?

Several years ago I posted on Facebook a list of “25 Interesting Things About Me”.  You did, too?

My list said nothing about using a computer for business, but there’s a huge story behind how I got started.  Can’t believe I overlooked mentioning it, so let me tell you now.

In early 1975, when I formed the Magnolia Jazz Band, I’d never managed a business before.  I did my best to keep track of all our records (employers, clients, engagements, addresses, personnel, fees, phone numbers, etc.) with only my home telephone and a little pencil in a little spiral notebook.

My first telephone answering tape recorder was still a few years away.

To make brochures and flyers promoting our public engagements, I’d go to art supply stores, buy “press-on” letters, and take the “master copy” to Kinko’s or to a printer.  Back then “cut and paste” really meant “cut and paste”, and this always was a time-consuming job.

Business correspondence was similarly tedious.  I could easily dash off a hand-written “thank-you”, but a type-written letter was something else.  Believe me, there were LOTS of letters.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the band usually worked as a trio.  We would occasionally assemble as a six-man old-style New Orleans dance band, and we’d appear at big traditional jazz festivals across the country.

One afternoon in 1983 I was typing a letter to a festival producer in Colorado.  I made a typo and had to start over.  Another typo and re-start.  And another and another.  I’m a limited typist, and I’m afraid this kind of frustration was business as usual for me.  Grrrr!

Robbie Schlosser's first computer, the Apple II

“This was the last straw” I screamed, and I went out and bought a word processor.  It was a used Apple II, and came with a modified electronic typewriter for a printer.

I spent twice as much as my recent Macintosh Mini cost.  For you history buffs, here’s a photo of my first computer for business.  Thanks to oldcomputers.net for the picture.

When I told my wife, she cried “You did WHAT?  Well, at least you didn’t join EST or some cult!”

The rest, as they say, is history.  Buying a computer for business was one of my all-time best moves.  For business letters, I’d type a draft, edit it as much as I’d like, and then print a perfect copy.  First time!  Amazing!

The software I used was Apple’s primitive “Appleworks” program, which combined a word processor, a data base, and a spreadsheet.  I learned how to keep records in the data base and tally my reports in the spreadsheet.

The information I stored became more useful in a hundred ways, and I could accomplish a ton more work in a fraction of the time.  Who could have guessed?

Mind you, the Macintosh computer, the laser printer, page-layout and photo-processing software, and the Internet and email hadn’t been created yet, but man, was I ready for them!

So let me ask:  Is this your story, too?  Or did you use a computer for business the first day you set up shop?  Or do you still take care of business with pencil and paper, while using your computer mainly for social recreation?

It’s now many machines later, and I’m still using a computer for business.  I’ve never met Steve Jobs or Steve Wozniak, and I barely know how I would thank them.  Their vision and passion transformed my life, and the lives of millions of people around the world, for the rest of human history.

Think I’m exaggerating?  Tell me.


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Thanks for reading this article. I appreciate your interest and hope you get a few good ideas here. Got one or two? I'd love to hear what you liked. Please write me a little COMMENT below. Start a conversation -- I'll reply. Promise.

By the way, does a friend need help selecting wedding or party music? Do them a favor: EMAIL this article, or SHARE it on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

And if you find my blog useful, please LIKE it, TWEET it, and SUBSCRIBE for more ideas. Use those cute little icons below.

Meanwhile, the Magnolia Jazz Band entertains at weddings and parties throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. If you are ever nearby, you’ll love catching us in action, seeing and hearing us create a great mood.

How can I help you? Call 408-245-9120 or use Robbie@MagnoliaJazz.com. Planning a celebration? Ask about our availability.

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To remember the old times and days on how we handled our calls, marketing, accounting and more! Love it! I may be a bit younger than you, but I remember those times via my parents and we pass along to my kids so they know these wonderful fantastic machines we have today didn’t exist while we grew up.

Robbie Schlosser

Thanks Leona,

Glad you enjoyed this post, and I hope you picked up one or two good ideas. Nice that you’re setting a context for your kids to appreciate what must seem so natural to them. I’m not SO old, but I appreciate the same perspective from my parents, who grew up before TV was invented, and from my grandparents, who grew up before airplanes were invented.

Besides commenting on blogs, how else do you use your computer?


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