THE WORD ON VOCATION STREET THESE DAYS IS "Technologize or die." If you don't join in the automation nation, your competition will kick you in the dirt and laugh at your folly. Computerize, or run the risk of becoming an anathema of the business world.

I hate to say it, but it's probably true. And I really do hate to say it.

I'm torn. While part of me adores having unlimited information at my fingertips via the Internet--a recipe for white navy-bean hummus, a fully annotated version of T.S. Eliot's "Lovesong of Alfred J. Prufrock," concert dates for Siouxie and the Banshees--I still love the experience of browsing through stacks at the library. Microsoft Word makes life as an editor much simpler, but it lacks that luscious pen-to-paper quality. E-mail limits the amount of time we spend on the phone making small talk around "important" issues, and yet, doesn't it dehumanize our interaction?

This month's issue is all about the revolution of technology and how it affects self-storage. From management software to online solutions, we have included the most comprehensive information available on industry packages and systems and the companies that provide them. If you're shopping for software, read this first. Are you looking to add online reservations to your menu of services? You'll read how. Concerned about the security of automatic payment processing via the Internet? Never fear--you'll read about it here.

Whatever you decide to do about this technology thing, just remember: It's only as good as its ability to make your life easier. Don't be a slave to software! And don't automate to keep up with the Joneses. Do it because it makes your business better--for you, and for your tenants. Automatic reports are wonderful, as are full-color graphics and e-mailed notices. But sometimes, it's just nice to drop someone a handwritten note saying, "Thank you for your business." We are, after all, still human.

One final note: You'll notice we're making some changes to Inside Self-Storage. This is largely in response to reader wants and wishes, but also, we're just taking the next inevitable steps toward progress. Read our newest section, "Inside Events," page 20, which will keep you apprised of ISS events and happenings. Please continue to contact me with your thoughts and suggestions.

Best wishes,

Teri L. Lanza
[email protected]

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