Derek Franklin of Personalized Computer Solutions can save you both time and money in getting all of your computer and technology needs met correctly the first time. He loves a good challenge and is always willing to try something new. Nothing is more satisfying to him than being able to solve a client’s dilemma. Whether you need help with diagnostics and troubleshooting, virus removal or data recovery, he is the person who can handle the job!
Derek thanks for talking with us today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what got you interested in technology?
I grew up in Santa Cruz, California, before moving to Ashland 15 years ago. I became fascinated with computers at an early age. The first one I was exposed to was a black and white Mac. We have come a long way since then! I was fascinated with this machine and what it could do. Since there was no Internet back then, I had to figure things out by trying programming. Every time I discovered something new, I was driven to go further. I guess that’s how I developed my problem solving skills. I had no idea how much they would help me in the future.
What got you interested in helping other people?
I discovered a lot of people didn’t understand computers, and some were actually intimidated by them. Technology was pretty rough when it first came out, so it was a lot more error prone and unforgiving when it failed. The desire to explore it was greatly reduced, as there was a fear that one could accidentally break it. I had a gift for helping people feel more comfortable with their technology by understanding it better so that it became more of an asset, rather than a liability.
How did you start your own computer business?
When I first moved to Ashland, I wanted to continue helping people with their technology. I had learned a great deal over the years and felt confident in my knowledge and problem solving skills. A friend suggested I start my own business, but I was a little scared that I might not be able to make it happen. Putting my fear aside, I made up flyers explaining the scope of my service. I then focused on going around to all of the small businesses in town, introducing myself to their owners. I let them know how I could help them and their employees with their technology issues. Before long I started getting calls for help, and that’s how it all began. I now have over 500+ clients and growing.
How has it been working with the people of Ashland?
It’s been awesome! People here are really friendly and supportive, which has been the reason for my success. I enjoy working with entrepreneurial, independently minded people who want to push the boundaries of technology. It’s fun for me tackling the challenges they face, making their relationship with their technology more user friendly and less intimidating. This area is really supportive of new and developing businesses. I never thought when I was passing out flyers that the business would grow like it has. I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity to pursue my passion and make a living doing it. I love being my own boss!
Derek, would you mind sharing a success story with us?
A local hotel had been waiting months for a server that would enable them to upgrade their hospitality software. One thing after another had contributed to unexpected delays – like not being given the login password once the server arrived, or discovering the hard drives were incorrectly setup. I was asked to help expedite the process and I discovered repair work wasn’t possible. Everything had to be erased and reinstalled from scratch. Luckily the managers kept the operating systems discs – that saved a lot of time! In less than 24 hours, the server had been erased, reinstalled, and configured to be ready for the migration and upgrade process. It felt good being able to resolve that situation so quickly.
What are the biggest challenges you see your clients facing these days?
Keeping track of the various passwords associated with online services is a big challenge for clients today. We find ourselves continuing to amass login credentials as we interact with companies on the Internet. Luckily we can reset our passwords when we forget them, but making sure the change is documented is the step we sometimes forget.
I have hundreds of passwords to manage. What can you recommend?
There are a variety of password managers out there. Unfortunately there’s not one super-awesome program that I can recommend for everyone, every program has it’s own strengths and drawbacks. However, there are a couple names I can share to help one get started: 1Password, OneSafe, mSecure, LassPass, and Dashlane. Most of the password managers store your passwords in the “cloud” so that they can be synced with multiple devices, and remain safe even when your device is lost.
Please talk more about cloud storage. Is this always a good idea?
Cloud storage is becoming more mainstream, especially as people look for additional ways to protect their data. In the past, we’d backup our information to an external hard drive and call it done. But with the danger of fires and other disasters, people are looking to store their information someplace they don’t have to consider should they ever need to evacuate. It’s a great service, when it’s working. When we were first introduced to the cloud concept, it was kind of primitive and some people (including myself) lost some information when it was entrusted to that world. Now it’s much more uncommon to lose information in the cloud and it’s considered a safe place. Just bear in mind that when your information is in the cloud, someone else is holding onto it. You don’t have control over it as you would if it was stored on your own hard drive at home. As long as your aware of the pros and cons of cloud services, it can be a great asset to your technology world.
What’s the best tip or advice you can offer?
Back your data up! That way it will still be safe if something happens to your computer or device.
What are some of the services that you offer?
• Syncing Information and Devices
• Diagnostics and Troubleshooting
• Computers and Devices Setups
• Network Setup and Support
• Technology Education
• Viruses and Malware Removal
• Hardware Installation and Upgrades
• Data Recovery and Backup Solutions
• Software Installation and Configuration
What do you find yourself doing when you’re not working?
I enjoy volleyball, laser tag, exercising, and videos games. I’m kind of hooked on Pokémon Go right now.
What makes you enjoy your work as much as you do?
Part of the fun is the unique situations I encounter while helping clients. I find challenging projects are the most exciting, as they expand my knowledge and help me become better at problem solving. I’m constantly learning something new! The other part is the amazing people that I get to work with. They make my job easier and worth doing.
Derek, I have called you many times and often times you are able to help me on the phone. On top of that, you always have essential information on-hand and can even work remotely.
It’s been an honor! You always throw fun projects my way and I enjoy working together. Technology does enable me to locate information fairly quickly these days. It’s nice having everything interconnected, as I can connect with people in different countries and assist them remotely with their computers. I can bring up technical records on devices without being onsite, which helps me solve issues much faster. It’s all stored in a database that is designed to maintain client confidentiality.
Over the past years of working with you I’ve always found our conversations to be straightforward, clear, and concise.
I like to get right to the issue and not waste my client’s time or money. I also try to make things easy to understand using language that’s not so technical.
Other than advertising in the LocalsGuide, your business in Ashland has been entirely grown from word-of-mouth referrals. Now that we’re doing this feature interview, I expect you’ll be even busier.
That’s right, word of mouth has been huge and advertising in the LocalsGuide has significantly increased my business. I look forward to taking on additional challenges, as I prefer to be busy and more active.
Paint a future picture for us of technology. What will life look like for our kids and grandkids?
Well, I’ve not been yet invited to interact with a time machine, though I’m open to offers. I imagine that our kids and grandkids will be talking about visiting other planets as easily as we discuss flying to other continents. And the question of whether we are alone in the universe will already have been definitely answered.
Derek, any last words or comments you would like to share with our readers?
I want to thank all of my clients for the opportunity they have given me to learn and grow, which has enabled me to serve them better. And thank you Shields, you’ve given me plenty of fun projects and business promotion. It has truly been an honor to work with so many amazing people and I look forward to many more great experiences in the future!
Personalized Computer Solutions