Mobile Only: Week 24
Benjamin Robbins, an EMF member, is spending the next year working solely from a single mobile device. Each week he shares his thoughts and experience with us on what it means to be mobile-only.
This past week my wife and I celebrated 15 years of marriage. It was an opportunity to have a night out (sans kidos), have a great dinner, and reflect upon the last 15 years. As we remembered the events of the past years we noted that there have been ups and downs, but overall we have really learned how to be a good team and appreciate what we have together. In some ways it is akin to my work on a mobile device. There have been ups and downs (seemingly more downs recently due to upgrade troubles) but overall I’ve rediscovered how much I really like working on the device.
Over the past month I’ve really been struggling with the phablet. Not so much the device itself, but the way it behaved due to the software. In some ways it felt like marriage. There were lots of little nit-picky things (and a couple biggies) that I was probably blowing more out of proportion than I should have. I was allowing it to compound and affect the entire experience. I was beginning to categorize it as a struggle and was feeling frazzled. The phablet and I seemed to be at odds all the time.
And just like marriage, the honeymoon has been over for a while. The coolness has worn and the device represented just plain old work. In the end I was still sitting at a desk, still staring at a monitor, still had deadlines, expectations, and pressure. Working mobile-only didn’t make that disappear. In some ways it only complicated it as I had to find work-arounds here and there.
There was even a spell of a few days where I desired another device. I had been doing testing for an app we’re developing on an iPhone. The platform looks great and functions well. The iPhone definitely has the cool and sex-appeal factor going for it. But, in the end, I remembered I went down the path I am on for a reason, and coolness alone won’t cut it. There are qualities my phone that I need for what I am trying to accomplish.
As with marriage, the magic can often be found in the seemingly mundane. It is in the everyday, day-to-day experience where the real work takes place. Mountaintop experiences can produce euphoria, but soon pass. They represent such a small fraction of experience. Lasting contentment comes from our ability to find satisfaction in the bulk of our experiences.
So I am finding that perseverance, patience, and perspective have paid off. I got over the OS upgrade hump. The process exposed all the warts, bumps, pimples, and morning-breath of the Android platform. But on the other side of the trouble was an operating system that clicks with me and the work I need to accomplish. Things are humming along, I am more productive than I was before, and I am having a great time doing it.
In the end, this isn’t a tale about making-do. It’s about rediscovering what I originally loved. It’s about sticking with it though the good and the bad. It’s about having a little fun and getting back to work. Are there still things that aren’t perfect – of course – but who, or what, ever is? But it’s not worth getting riled up over. I’m on the adventure of a lifetime and have a great device at my side!
Benjamin Robbins is co-founder and Principal at Palador, a firm that focuses on providing strategic guidance to enterprises in the areas of mobility, apps, and data. You can follow him on Twitter. Mr. Robbins resides in Seattle and blogs regularly at http://remotelymobileblog.com