Ubiquitous Computing Comes After the Mobile Phone

I love new technology. I remember the day that iPhone came out. I stood in line for 3 hours at the Apple Store in Arlington, VA. Most of my friends thought I was CRAZY for spending $700 on a mobile phone. But I knew I was seeing the start of a revolution that would change the world.

Everyone wants to know… what’s the next iPhone gonna be? We all waited with baited breath. The iPad was a relative hit. Then came them Apple Watch, Apple TV updates, Apple Airpods, which were all fine but nothing of iPhone caliber.

What if the next computing revolution isn’t a device like the iPhone? Ubiquitous computing is the next revolution. Everything is a computer. Your watch is a computer. Your ear buds are a computer. Your house is a computer. Your car is a computer.  All of these are platforms that you can build apps on on top of.

Apple, Google, Microsoft start creating systems that allow us stitch all of these systems together into something even smarter and more useful.

It makes the Apple Watch seem like less of a disappointment in the shadow of the iPhone and more like a piece of the puzzle.

My Inbox Is NOT My To Do List

With a house, wife, kids, and a job that’s getting increasingly more complex, I have to be productive. I have to know what I need to get done and then get it done.

There are so many inputs. I have email. I have a text messages. I have instant messages. I have social media. I have work group messaging. Everyone is vying for my attention. Everyone is asking me to do something.

For work, we especially love email and group chat. It’s far too easy for it all to fly back ‘n forth. You lift your head and find that you haven’t actually gotten anything done for multiple hours.

I work very hard to not use email as my to do list. I use Apple Reminders as my to do list. I work off of what’s in Reminders. I’ll regularly check what’s in my email, evaluate it, decide how it compares to what else is on my list, and add accordingly. If needed, I’ll re-prioritize.

I’ll do something similar with a number of different inputs.  I go through my meeting notes, look for action items, and put them in Apple Reminders. I go through my project planning in Trello and put my to do’s in Apple Reminders.

My goal is that I have ONE LIST that I use to manage what I want to get accomplished during the work day.

Apple Reminders has been really great for my family too. You can share your lists with others. That way my wife and I have common lists for joint projects, things I need to do, shopping lists, etc.

Net net — It’s important to find and be disciplined about a system that works for you, where you can prioritize what you need to do and be in control.

Important Things Are Hard

Sometimes some of the biggest and deepest truths are the simplest. I’ve had one on my mind lately… important things are hard.

We all have those things that we want to do. We want to be successful entrepreneurs, we want to be thinner, or we want to be richer… you get the idea.

I was on Facebook and friend posted something to the extent of “Do you want to be thinner without putting in all the work?” And instantly everyone said YES, YES, YES.  Well it’s all a lie. Losing weight and being thinner isn’t something that you can do without making sacrifices. It may mean not eating that ice cream that everyone else is.

I want to have more time to read by myself in the quiet. That meant I had to get up earlier and forgo sleep. There are days that it’s REALLY hard. I have force myself out of bed but I’m always glad that I do.

I want to get back into writing more often. That means I’m going to have to set aside time to write more often. That means I’m going to have to not do something else.

It’s almost like we’re trained to try and look for shortcuts. We want to be lazy. By cheating the process, you’re gonna not get where you want.

Stop Overthinking Your Marketing

All too often, I think people really overthink their marketing strategies and tactics.  They come up with these really complex marketing plans that feel too clinical or transactional that don’t think about real life. It ends up feeling awkward and inevitably ineffective.

Great marketing is about building a great relationship between a brand/business/org and the customers. Prior to the digital age, this was done offline. Growing up my dad and I would go grocery shopping together.  We got to know one of the sample ladies really well. That relationship helped her sell a lot of product.

Fast forward twenty years. The principals till hold true. Great marketing is still about building great relationships. You have to really care about your customers.

What’s different? The Web enables you to build relationships with audiences at scale. You can have meaningful interactions with A LOT of people that are mediated by social networks.

When I wake up in the  mornings and page through Facebook and Twitter, I’m looking with the eye of how I can affirm, serve or add value to the people that are in my network. This may be a simple as a fist bump emoji or something more complex. They’re all meaningful interactions.

In the age of social media, you can interact with your audience early and often… like a normal relationship. I talk to my wife, family, and close friends more than once a month. Yet, too often brands who want a relationship feel comfortable emailing their audience more than once a month.

When people think about marketing, they get all nervous and anxious and forget that in the end it’s just about building relationships. They start doing things online that’d feel really uncomfortable in an offline relationship. STOP!  A relationship is a relationship regardless of whether it’s online or offline. Start marketing like it.

Welcome to My New Blog!

Four or five years ago, I owned the domain name JustinThorp.com. I was an idiot and let the domain name lapse. This is why my blog for the longest time has been Oatmeal Stout on DrinkingOatmealStout.com.

About three or four months ago, JustinThorp.com became available again and I jumped on it. I plan on keeping Oatmeal Stout alive with all of its content. All new posts will be here.

I’ve started to organize my essays & posts from here, Oatmeal Stout, and Medium.

The world is constantly changing. To survive in our current economy, you have to love learning. Join me on my journey to process the world around me.