How I signed off one hour of my life!

Madhav

By MADHAV KOCHUNNI

The digital divide

Claim: Technology makes life easier. Reality: Not for the simplest of tasks!

Have you tried to sign and send a digital document?

Being in the digital industry for the past two decades, I thought it was a simple job. I scheduled the task in Asana. Or was it Trello? 

By the time I finished the signature process an hour later, I had pulled out all the stops. And a few hairs!

Last week my client in India returned an invoice requesting my signature. I have not signed anything in a decade. My thumbprint did everything from unlocking passwords to getting the coffee at Starbucks.

The easiest option was to print the existing invoice, sign the paper, scan it and send it as a PDF.

I dusted my dozen-odd fountain pens and filled ink in two of them. The others had dried out! For practice, I went on a signing spree. What began with a flourish ended with a scrawl. I could not recognize my signature anymore!

The ink in the printer had dried out. I changed the original cartridges to an online one bought from Amazon. The wireless printer refused to go past the warning that I’m not using company approved ink and that it may damage my computer! 

I should have taken the paper to Staples or sent it to my wife’s office to get it printed, in hindsight. But the digital chip on my shoulder would not allow any of these courses.

Software

I fired up Quickbooks Online [QBO].

QBO is an incredible piece of software, a boon for small businesses. With APIs between content management, eCommerce, marketing platforms, and QBO, doing business online by integrating and automating mundane tasks has improved tremendously. 

When it came to signing a PDF document digitally, I realized one had to start from scratch. I opened QBO and set to edit the invoice document template. 

The template options were limited. But then QBO is not a designing software. I downloaded the available template and started to redesign it. 

Trimming the budget

Thanks to the virus and cutting costs, I had cancelled subscriptions to software, including the MS Office suite. Instead, I had started using LibreOffice. No bells and whistles, but a great open office suite of products. 

 

Rather than waste time learning the new software, I went back to good old InDesign. I designed the invoice to my creative heart’s content.

 

I had to sign it now. I signed on the notepad and took a picture with my iPhone. The image was very sharp; it even captured the writing behind the paper!

 

Then I remembered that one could sign directly on the phone. Have you tried that too? After ten plus attempts with my finger, I gave up. 

 

I went to Staples and bought a digital pen. After a dozen attempts, I managed to get it to look like my genuine signature’s cousin many times removed!

 

Snapped the image with my iPhone. Saved and air-dropped it to the MacBook Pro. Opened Photoshop to take out the white background. Dropped it into InDesign. Placed it on the invoice. Saved it as a PDF. Uploaded it to the Adobe document cloud. Shared it with the client. Crossed fingers. And toes.

 

All this has taken a ‘digitoll’ on me! All for a simple signature! 

 

Wonder if I can provide them with my thumbprint next time? Since our virtual life is locked behind those concentric circles, I think not!

Ideal solution

The best solution here would be to edit the QBO invoice template. One can send the invoice from within QBO, which makes life easier. You still have to create a template in LibreOffice, save it as a .docx document, and import it into QBO.

As a small business owner, what’s your digital peeve?

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