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Throughout the years, the best piece of advice I’ve ever received happened to come from my Dad. 

“Use the right tools for the job, Aaron.” 

These days, I find myself using screwdrivers a lot less to drive in nails, and my Dad would probably have a lot more intact tools if he were still with us. 

My Dad taught me a lot of things. One of the things I’m most important to have learned from him was the lesson of using a computer to earn a living. 

As a child of the 80s, personal computers were still somewhat of a new phenomena for my generation. Most of my friends had a ‘family computer’ if they had one at all.

Meanwhile in the Plaat family, each one of us had at least one of our own computers – if not multiple devices…

My Dad held a keen interest in the latest technology trends. He was one of the first people to own a Compaq Concerto; the precursor to the modern-day iPad/Tablet devices. 

My favorite device Dad ever procured was the Vadem Clio. Years ahead of its time, the Clio had a modular screen, touchscreen and ethernet dongle that allowed it to connect to the internet. 

Vadem Clio C-1000 Full Device Specifications | DeviceBeast.com

As an adult, I chose to follow my Dad’s footsteps and become my own boss. He had an IT consulting business/light agency (iDesign) that showed me it was possible to put food on the table for a large family and still spend time with your family. Years ago, I founded Tripleskinny and the rest is…mystory. 

What Dad got right about technology is that he saw it for what it was. Most people viewed computers as little more than an expensive toy they didn’t know how to operate.

Dad was different.

In computers, Dad saw devices that could change the way we work, view the world, present ideas, connect with others and organize our day-to-day lives. 

Dad saw tractor combines when others were still harvesting by hand…

“Aaron, come downstairs. I want to show you something!” 

A younger me walked down the basement steps to enter my Dad’s home office. He proudly pointed to his computer monitor, where two windows appeared side-by-side. 

One small icon showed a file with wings, moving from one box to the other. 

“Aaron, that’s information coming from California!” He beamed, as he proudly showed off the T-1 internet line he paid $685/month for to be installed at our home. 

I remember looking at the screen in total awe. The flying files slowly transferred from Los Angeles to Columbus at a rate of less than 500kbps.

A lot has changed since that day. Ever since then, the seed of fascination my Dad planted in me for technology has grown and blossomed. I’ve built my own life, powered by the lessons and methods passed down from Father to Son.

I think that as a Dad, all of us hope that we’re leaving the world a little better for our future generations. I personally hope that Atlas will enjoy a more beautiful world than the one I experienced. 

My Dad took time out of his own life to instruct and guide each of his children. Truth be told, I don’t know where I would be if it weren’t for the loving guidance and care both of my parents provided. 

If you haven’t noticed, the world is a little crazy right now. It’s hard to figure out what direction to go, how to think or what to believe. It’s disorienting, to say the least. 

Raising your children to navigate this world is one of the biggest blessings life gives parents. It isn’t the job of anybody else in the world to set an example or teach your children. 

Today, I’m thankful to have been raised in a family that bucked the traditional path of education, occupation and convention. I’m thankful to have been raised in a family that never knew wealth. I’m thankful to have been in contact with those who needed help. It taught me to see them as equals, rather than lessors. 

Most of all, I am thankful to have had two parents that were willing to sacrifice their own lives and ambitions in order to properly raise up their children. It was the best investment they ever made. 

As I’m sitting here, I’m waiting for a new internet connection be installed at my home. 2 gigabytes….

1,333% faster than that $685 T1 line…

Dad, if only you could see what you can do now with computers…

…it’s a whole new world. 

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