Thoughts on the Pad

A few weeks ago I was able to experience the iPad for the first time. It’s an impressive device overall, although I refuse to be an early adopter. Think, though, for a moment about what you might think of this device, its OS and user interface if you weren’t already used to the iPhone. This device would blow your mind. Apple has certainly set the bar high the past few years. And, have you paid attention to the numbers released from Apple last week? The number of iPhones sold in Q1 2010 is amazing when compared to same quarter sales a year ago. Think what the iPhone would do if it was sold across all four networks similar to RIM’s BlackBerry. The phone would dominate, but largely because of the iTunes infrastructure and its ability to distribute content, which Apple has learned to do very well. Everyone else is still trying to catch up.

Which leads me to this: the future of computing is mobile computing. There is no doubt about it. Apple wasn’t the first to come out with a tablet computer, but there wasn’t a significant demand or market for one until the iPad came out a few weeks ago. Now there is a rush for companies to match. Palm, once a leader in mobile devices, is now all but dead with no buyers in sight. Microsoft is trying, but is still playing catch up despite its resources and is straying from its core business which is about to be lost to cloud computing. Hardware companies such as HP and Dell are trying to compete in the new tablet space as well, but their own proprietary OS will never get them too far.

Realistically, the one company positioned to battle Apple on the tablet computing front will be Google. Besides Apple, Android delivers content to its users the best and will continue to get better. And unlike Apple, Google won’t have to worry about creating the hardware as well – that will be outsourced to companies such as HTC or Asus. Google can focus its efforts solely on the OS and will, in my mind, come out on top. Apple has no doubt been revolutionary for the industry, but I will not be buying an iPad. I will be buying a competitor in a few years (it will take that long to convince my wife I need one of these) that runs Android. And I won’t look back.

For the next few years these tablets will remain somewhat of a status item, but by 2015 they will be ubiquitous – it will be the same story as the smartphone market. For those that have them, these devices will know our preferences and will anticipate what we want or think before we know we want or think it. All of my social interaction or communication will to some degree occur through my tablet and increasingly business will be transacted through the device. Cable television and timed programming will become obsolete as wireless streaming video becomes more efficient. Almost everyone will be connected all the time with whoever they choose and the world will consume information in real time like the world has never seen. Whether this is good for us or not is not up to me to say, but this is where we are inevitably heading. As convenient as this might be, the result could be a world that is a much lonelier, anxious and self-absorbed place.

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A Philly Cheesesteak

Everyone has heard of Philly cheesesteaks, but not everyone has been to Philly just for the cheesesteaks. Well I did just that last Saturday and visited the well-know institution of Geno’s in south Philly. I was passing through Philadelphia after a day outside of the city with the family, but went out of my way to swing by and grab a cheesesteak on our way home. Of course, a trip to Geno’s, the open-twenty-four hours-a-day home to the Philly cheesesteak is no brief trip. But I should have known that on a Saturday evening there was going to be a wait. When I arrived I had to find parking in the old Italian neighborhoods, which was no easy task. I then had the full Geno’s experience – the line to order was a thirty minute wait. The only tables to eat at were the few tables outside of the restaurant. And the service was bad, if not downright rude.  But it’s worth it if you have the time, even if just once in your life. The cheesesteak was good (although I wouldn’t say it’s the best sandwich I’ve ever had), but it’s the overall environment that is just as much part of the experience. A visit to Geno’s is a visit to a piece of Philadelphia history and a institution among one the country’s largest and oldest cities. At least that is how I view it.  My visit to Geno’s in south Philly last weekend with my wife and two young daughters was about much more than just wanting a cheesesteak. It was about an experience that will be unavailable to us once we leave the east coast.

LinkedIn for Life

The latest issue of Fortune magazine profiles the professional networking site LinkedIn (read the full article here). The article states how more and more companies are relying on LinkedIn to recruit new talent and how individuals not yet on the site are disadvantaged in the job market. As I read the article on the train last night I recalled my direct experience with LinkedIn’s networking capabilities.

By the spring of 2008 I was in full-blown job searching mode. Although I had a job at a law firm, I wanted to try something else. I contacted recruiters, I submitted resumes on my own and I was networking as best as I knew how. LinkedIn was just one of many sites that I had my updated credentials displayed publicly. By the summer of 2008, the legal job market had started to slow down and I was having difficulty obtaining quality leads. Until one day when I received a call out of the blue. A recruiter for a Fortune 25 company had found my profile on LinkedIn and contacted me inquiring as to whether I would be willing to relocate. I smiled and told her I was willing and started the process of interviewing with the company. One month and three phone interviews later I found myself in Minneapolis at the company’s corporate headquarters. It was a great experience, but I knew halfway through the day as I was discussing why I was interested in the position that I was full of bull. The opportunity sounded intriguing all along, but by the time the curtain had been pulled back, I saw that it was more of the work that I did not want to do. Fortunately, I had contemporaneously been in discussions with my current firm and concluded as I was sitting in Minneapolis that it was a better opportunity for me in the long run.

The next morning I returned to my office in lower Manhattan early to call my current company’s headquarters in Switzerland and accept the job offer. I still feel that I made the right choice. But I’m also glad I managed my LinkedIn profile. It’s clear that many employers may turn almost exclusively to what the web is telling the world about a potential candidate in making recruiting decisions. Google yourself often and manage your online profile wisely.