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Tallahassee Tech Guru Pens Business Technology Guide For The Masses

two men sitting behind microphones showcasing a book
Aegis Business Technologies
Aegis Biz & Tech Podcast where book launch was announced.

Among the biggest changes wrought by the pandemic is an increased dependence on technology. The CEO of a Tallahassee tech firm has now written a guidebook to help lead organizations and individuals through the cyber jungle.
Blake Dowling is the CEO of Tallahassee-based Aegis Business Technologies.

"Well, each year we sponsor a conference here in North Florida in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce. And every year I try to come up with a unique item to put into the gift bag that every attendee gets as part of their registration."

Over coffee one morning, Dowling shared that quest with his buddy, Tallahassee marketing and communications firm owner Jay Revell. He suggested Dowling write a handbook on more effective uses of technology in light of the pandemic and put that in the Chamber conference goody bags.

"And I'm like, 'That's a little aggressive!' But, as a writer for Floridapolitics.com and the Tallahassee Democrat, I had this foundation of my '20/20' columns. So we took the best 20 in our opinion, made it fresh with some introductions to each column with a foreward by Ken Block, the lead singer of Sister Hazel who I had a professional relationship in the past. And we came up with the title, 'Professionally Distanced' and that's our Chamber swag item."

But Dowling admitted it seemed like a lot of work for just a few hundred conference attendees.

"Once we went down that road we were like, 'We need to put this on Amazon and talk to Midtown Reader here locally about stocking it' and we've done both of those things. So the book is now a reality and that coffee conversation became a book. And you're right! It was not an easy venture. Once I set down the road, there was no going back. But I'm so glad we invested the time because now we have something that is tangible and is a great story from a business leader during the pandemic that everyone can relate to."

Dowling wanted to make sure the topics were timely.

"One chapter is dedicated to ransomware; the Colonial Pipeline situation and all the other instances that we've seen around the state and nation. I talk about ransomware, who it's affected and how you can prevent it and cybersecurity like some of my columns are about cybersecurity, that translates over into the book."

And then there's the online platform that became a business and organization lifeline overnight as COVID slammed the door on face-to-face meetings.

"I poke fun at the word 'pivot' and poke fun at the whole Zoom thing. But the flip side, as much as we love/hate, where would we have been without Zoom? If that company hadn't stepped in and filled that void, maybe Microsoft's Teams or somebody else would have. But it's become like Google; a word of its own meaning."

And even when the pandemic finally fades from the scene, Dowling expected the Zoom effect will fundamentally and permanently change the way business will be done.

"Now you just send out an email invite, everybody gathers and it's all good. So you take that on a national or statewide scale, the simplicity, the lower price point; why go to a conference in Vegas when you can send out a Zoom meeting?"

There are lots of other helpful hints regarding business technology in the book, which Dowling said will be available to general audiences after this weekend's Tallahassee Chamber gathering at Amelia Island.

"I'll be going out August 19th to an event at Midtown Reader at 7 p.m. You can drop by to see us and then go to Izzy's for some sushi."

After all, digesting expert advice on business technologies should not be attempted on an empty stomach.

Follow @flanigan_tom

Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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