Is Your Phone That Smart?

I’ve sent my smartphone in for repair. It turns out it wasn’t so smart when it came down to running the battery. It kept telling me the battery was disconnected. So now I am saddled with a little loan phone for a week or more and, I must say, it’s a real pain not having access to my regular phone.

Smartphone Evolution

Smartphone Evolution (Photo credit: Phil Roeder)

Aside from the fact that I don’t really want to spend a week learning how to properly use the loan phone, and the fact that it has nowhere near the functionality of the other, I don’t have email handy, texts are more difficult to access and track, my calendar is not on the phone, I don’t have my contact list, etc. etc. etc. Even though I could carry a diary around with me (and sometimes this is better for planning, anyway), carrying around a book with hundreds of contacts would be awkward. It would also be awkward carrying a laptop to all of my meetings, simply to check a fact quickly on the internet, or search for a location, or book an appointment, or easily look up a company or client’s details.The smartphone has become such a ubiquitous tool in our business and personal lives. And I mean ubiquitous. In Pakistan, there has been an explosion of mobile phones in the last couple of years. You’re more likely to find someone with a mobile phone in Pakistan than you are to find scheme water, household electricity or sewerage treatment.There are so many features on smartphones that are useful. Of course, there are so many that waste our time and can decrease our effectiveness. The fact that people access so much information so readily means that their memory capacity actually diminishes over time (it’s been demonstrated in Japan), we can fool ourselves into thinking that we can multitask (MIT and Stanford have conducted some great experiments including using fMRis to demonstrate that we can’t), we think things are quicker on the phone than on paper or in our head (my 7 year old will easily recall facts while adults around them are scrolling through their iPad trying to find a reference), we think we’re planning well with technology when using paper would be vastly more efficient, more and more people avoid face to face communication when a meeting with people who can actually talk would be far more productive, and the list goes on …

I don’t have nomophobia (an irrational fear of having no mobile phone). And really, we should not become reliant on them.

But, I am really annoyed at not having my phone. I want it back.

Go With the Flow – Goofy Driving

Driving through Perth’s city tunnel this morning, I was once again reminded how bad Perth drivers are on freeways and highways. Therefore, in the public interest I am posting this link to a youtube video of a 1950s Goofy instructional video on how to drive on the US highway system.

Every Perth driver should watch and learn from Goofy. In fact, a giant videoscreen should be erected on the so-called ‘tiara’ of our new BHP tower so that the entire city can see it repeated again and again and perhaps finally learn the lessons: merging means going with the traffic flow, properly indicating or using lights, not stopping, not slowing down as you enter a freeway, not speeding up so that you can keep your spot, or otherwise driving like an idiot.

Things get going at around 1:50 minutes. You can also see the related videos, with various types of drivers at the following, including a further 3 categories of problem drivers:

‘Stupidicus Maximus’ doesn’t recognise that his actions affect others and that he is actually disrupting the flow of traffic. Put a cell phone in his hand and you have the 21st Century driver all over.

There are many parallels that one may apply to work and leadership: people not working into the flow, not preparing or ‘packing’ properly for the trip, lack of attentiveness, overtiredness, etc. etc. etc.

I saw the first video when I was a little kid (no, it was not the original broadcast date!) and remembered it clearly when I started driving – I’ve remembered it around the world, in fact. Goofy – and Disney – were on a winner with these sardonic instructional videos.

Watch. Learn! Comment!