From the October 2002 issue of Startups

When it comes to tech savvy, I'm no slouch, but I'm no programmer, either. I can find my way around a computer for the most part and, when pressed, learn a new program fairly quickly. Yet there are many things I don't know how to do--and really, that's just fine with me. I get out of computers what I need to, which is mostly e-mail communication, Internet use and word processing.

I do know, however, that many of you have grown up learning the ins and outs of computers since a very young age. It's part of your life, always has been and always will be. In many ways, that's a good thing. Your generation is prepared for new innovations when they come up--you quickly learn to integrate them into your lives, and you find uses for them. Plus, they lead you to start new businesses, and that can only mean good things for our economy.

At the same time, I wonder about the level of personal communication that happens in your lives. With all the e-mailing and instant messaging and text messaging, is human interaction still happening?

I truly hope so, because without that, you won't have much of a business. Personal relationships are so important to business ownership, from the vendor who supplies your products to the customer who becomes a regular because you've gained a steady rapport with him or her.

If you're thinking of starting a business or own one already, let me congratulate you. But let me also encourage you to develop real human relationships with real human beings. Pick up the phone. Drop a hand-written thank-you note in the mail to your best customers. Get together for lunch with your angel investor or mentor. Get out there and be human once in a while.