by Matt Villano

IT Services: High-End Therapy for PC Phobics

Feb 15, 20042 mins
IT Leadership

You might think that in 2004 it’s unlikely?if not impossible?for a CEO or CFO to have reached the executive suite without much fluency in the ways of Windows and PCs.

You’d be wrong.

Meet Jennifer Shaheen, the entrepreneur behind Technology Therapy, an often-clandestine service for the high and mighty to learn the lowdown about desktop productivity tools.

Technology Therapy is similar to the one-on-one tutoring that the Dummies books provide to novices. Over the phone and in person, Shaheen, 29, founder and president of E-BusinessCreations, the company behind the service, guides powerful clients through whatever IT issues they can’t solve on their own. The sessions are as cathartic as they are didactic, hence the therapy moniker. “These people are admitting and sharing ignorance and insecurity on the highest levels,” she says. “The meetings are very private, much like you’d find in a psychology counseling session.”

Shaheen says her clients place a big value on the privacy her service ensures. Many aren’t comfortable turning to IT folks at their organizations because they are afraid of revealing a weakness, she says, adding that some of her clients also blame doting secretaries, who handle e-mail and all other computer chores, as the reason why they haven’t learned PC basics.

For $160 an hour, Shaheen delivers tech support over the phone?a personal help desk, if you will. For $250 an hour, she makes house calls and delivers computer lessons after-hours in the privacy of an executive’s office. And for upward of $1,750, Shaheen says she’ll spend one full workday on site, instructing clients on the ins and outs of anything from iPaqs to tablets, and Palm devices to the latest Windows software.

“When we got a new PC system, it would have taken us weeks without [Shaheen’s] help,” says Mike Brenner, an IT executive recruiter at Brenner Executive Resources in New York City. Brenner possessed rudimentary PC skills but knew he needed to learn more. “She taught in one lesson what would have taken me hours to figure out on my own, and that makes my life easier.”

Making life easier. Freud (if he were still alive today and conversant in Windows) would probably click his mouse on an “OK” button at that idea.