Convergence, Diversity and the Right Tools

The life of the road warrior has fundamentally benefited from the improvement and convergence of technology. They can take less with them and do more with what they have. The cell phone has probably enabled the lighter and more capable office than any other device. In one device, we have a digital music and video player, digital recorder, HD camcorder, gps, camera, mobile hotspot and phone as well as a place to do limited document creation and updates, email, reading and note taking (not to mention audiobook player – I love Audible). Combine this with something like Microsoft’s Surface and you have a quite small footprint to do a ton of work. 

Now, not everything is about convergence; nearly by definition there are compromises taken in multi-purpose devices. Price of more focused devices have come down considerably, for example, the least expensive Kindle can be had for $70 while their best Kindle, the Paperwhite, it still just $120. So, now you can take your library with you in an eminently readable format that’s easy on your eyes. Moreover, with the reduced sized, e-reader, smartphone and tablet with keyboard come to under 3 lbs. Throw in a notebook when you’re feeling old school, you’re still at less than 4 pounds. That’s what a regular business-class desktop notebook would weigh. My particular poison is a Kindle Paperwhite, Microsoft Surface RT, Nokia Lumia 920 and Moleskine Large Ruled notebook. There is very little I can’t do with these tools. 

Whilst our dear friends, the road warriors benefit, so do those of us blessed with (mostly) staying home. This mobile office also works when I have a quick meeting at Starbucks, catch up on reading at the dentist office or hunker down in the bedroom when vociferous friends are watching movies with your kids downstairs. My visits to in-building conference rooms for meetings are now with the Surface and Moleskine notebook. So our micro-traveling in the daily course of our lives is improved and more productive, whether for work or personal goals. It even helps when trying to fit your work on those little café tables at Starbucks. The largest dimension of these items is under 11″.

Where it’s a trip across town or across the pond, our lives have been significantly easier and more productive (other than our actual airport experience). To help put this in perspective, let’s think about that travelling life not long ago:

Going to a conference: Old School
Going to a conference: Current
  1. Prep & Pack
    1. What you need to remember – you have lots of things to bring with you. 
    1. Prep for being out of touch
    2. Schedule to check-in
  1. Prep & Pack
    1. Throw in minimal
    2. Minimal prep for access
    3. Update notices pushed out for your review

    1. Travel
      1. “Dead” time – books, magazines
      2. Find a plug
      3. Forced to listen to conversations
      4. Work & Synch
    1. Travel
      1. Books, Music & Video
      2. Hunker down anywhere
      3. No more “TMI
      4. Work
  1. Present
    1. Laptop to big projector
    2. Everything local
    3. Everyone local
  1. Present
    1. Tablet to pocket projector
    2. In the cloud
    3. Over the web meetings
    1. On-the ground
      1. Where to eat – Yellow Pages
      2. Need to pick new shirt – where?
      3. Hey bud, where’s the nearest Starbucks
      4. #@%!, how do you get from the hotel to the conference center?
    1. On-the-ground
      1. Nokia City Lens
      2. Nokia City Lens
      3. Starbucks locator
      4. Maps/Drive
    1. Follow-up/Collaborate
      1. Calling card/dial-up phone
      1. talk -> email -> talk?
      1. Email presentation
      1. Lock & load locally
    1. Follow-up/Collaborate
      1. Bluetooth over cell
      1. Talk/update presentation together in real time
      1. GoToMeeting.
      1. Skype