One Mobile Year: Three months of good and bad

Kit Hughes, Managing Director and Head of Strategy for strategic branding studio Look-Listen, recently spoke at The Mobile Marketing Conference. He is living one year not using a personal computer and blogging about it at The following is his summary of the first three months of the project. Read the original post here.

It’s been a mixed bag.
As I talked/ranted/joked during my session at The Mobile Marketing conference yesterday, the past three months have been enlightening. If you were in the audience, you heard me say things like:
  • I’m a mess.
  • Skype sucks.
  • Why am I doing this? Because I’m a masochist.
  • Amazon is a disappointment.
  • A year ago I would have gone to battle for Google Docs but now I won’t give it the time of day.
  • Running a business on an iPad is painful.
  • I spend more money with Zappos because of their app.
For most of you that were not there, let me give some dimension to these comments.

I’m a mess
Well, I am. In the past three months, I’ve been trying to run a fully humming design studio and launch another business using only an iPad and iPhone. This involves more than just email; it involves managing payroll, refining an operating budget, collaborating with remote teams, invoicing, drafting agreements, etc. (See “The Net Net” below for more details)

Skype sucks
Seriously, it does. I used to rely on Skype for hours and hours of seamless communication when I was on a laptop, sometimes spending 4 hours a day on it. I still spend a lot of time on it but it’s an unreliable and unintuitive step-child to the version I used on my laptop. Bad Skype.

Why am I doing this? Because I’m a masochist
This was a joke, which was not received well at 9am. Nick Sheth (from Gap) didn’t warm up the audience enough when he spoke. However, by the time Catherine Roe (from Google) spoke, the audience was putty! You’re welcome Catherine.

Amazon is a disappointment
I hold Amazon to a very high standard and admire the leadership of Jeff Bezos and team for blazing new ground in internet retailing and e-readers. However, Amazon has shown slow leadership in mobile web. I hear chatter about how Amazon is making the site more tablet friendly but it’s a fail: they need an innovative, dedicated tablet site.

A year ago I would have gone to battle for Google Docs…
It’s a shame that the mobile version of Google Docs is as buggy and feature poor as it is. Seriously, there is no reason it can’t be better. They have coded their own operating system after all. Maybe they neglect it because they want people to by an Android device and use Google Docs on that? I’d like to think they’re better than that.

Running a business on an iPad is painful
Apple’s fault? Nope. In fact, I draft agreements in Pages and create proposals in Keynote very easily and iCloud syncs them with both devices. The pain is from the B2B software providers. Even a company I once loved, Freshbooks, disappoints. I plan on pontificating pretty hard on this area in the coming month.

I spend more money with Zappos because of their app
It’s true. They have an elegant app that lets me dig into the purchase process. They’ve given me a very easy way to browse and buy products on my iPhone and iPad, so that’s just what I do.

The Net Net
It’s unfair for me to leave my first three months with sound bites and minimal commentary. I said I was a masochist, not reckless (any funnier?) Seriously though, I am going to spend time over the next several days outlining the experience of the past three months, writing posts around key topics in work and life. Then, I’ll start to review apps and accessories I come in contact with. This will help give more context to the insights and opportunities.

Now, for the big finish: I’ve spent no more than 10 hours on a desktop in the past three months. 10 hours would have been a normal day for me in front of a laptop before this mobile year.


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