Smart Watches

Almost six years ago I published a post entitled, The Timepiece as Art. I am still into wristwatches and have added to my collection significantly since then (Thanks, Dad!), but I wrote a line in that post that stated that I wanted a watch to feed me information. In addition to the local time, a typical mechanical watch can offer one or more of the day, date, month, world time or other time increments. But there are limits of what information can be offered. All of that is about to change.

Smart watches that link to a user’s phone is not a new concept; fitness trackers and other smart watches have been on the market for many years and have been meaningfully improved recently. But similar to my post below, because of the Apple Watch that was further detailed today in San Francisco by Apple, I am excited at the possibility of what the coming years hold. When the iPhone was announced in 2007, competitors’ phones began improving immediately. The Samsung Note 4 that I use today is a great phone, but is the sum of the successes and failures of prior phones across the global market the last eight years. I would expect a similar trajectory for smart watches.

But here is my conundrum. I still love mechanical watches. Having the time, day, date or other information in my palm or pocket on my phone has not caused me to stop wearing a wristwatch on my left wrist everyday. But when I can get all of that information and more on my left wrist, what do I do then? I don’t think we’re going to see the days where people wear multiple wrist accessories that are intended to do the same thing – for example, no one will be wearing an Apple Watch, FitBit, Rolex, etc. There will be only one winner in this game and the big losers will likely be the Swiss and Japanese watch making industry.

I have yet to join the iOS ecosystem and have been a Google/Android user since 2006. I don’t see myself with an Apple Watch, but I do see myself one day with a smart watch – probably an Android-based device several iterations from what is available today. But that prospect concerns me when I think about my wristwatch collection and what the future holds for it. I know classic watches will never go away or out of style, and I hope the prevailing style is to find a way to use both mechanical and high-tech watches, but I hope I don’t eventually become a wearer of solely a niche item.

Transition Time

I am transitioning again. It feels just like the other day I was in a conference room in New York City providing a brain-dump to my more junior colleagues as part of my transition to another job. This week, I am doing the same thing again: sitting in a conference room with the team I have managed trying to tell them all I know about the job so that they can move on without me. Yes, once again, I am on the move, but this one does not come with a physical move and we can stay where we are. I had an opportunity in front of me and struck while the iron was hot. I am excited. I know I will miss things about the company I am leaving, but it hit me today that I will not miss the actual work. I hope I will enjoy my new role more than the one I am leaving. I am making a bold move not to.

A Lifetime View

A year ago today I had a job interview for a position that I thought was made for me. After multiple interviews and discussions, I received an offer, but eventually turned it down because it didn’t feel right in my gut. Three months later, I had accepted another offer at a completely different company in a different city. And I have no regrets.

Today, out of the blue, I was presented with a job opportunity I did not see coming. I don’t think I am going to act on it given the recent start at my current employer, but I was flattered that I was thought of for the position. And who knows, perhaps one day it may be something worth considering. I definitely don’t want to close the door completely.

This is my 400th post on this blog, started at a time when I was two months into my career in 2006. I have come a long way in the last seven and a half years, but have still only worked for a fraction of time compared to what a lifetime career looks like. It’s just reassuring to know that some hard work has paid off, knowing how hard I worked to get that first shot, to get my foot in the door to prove myself, I now have people presenting opportunities to me. The privilege to choose what I would like to pursue is truly a blessing I am aware not everyone has.

Back to where it all started

When you know, you know.

I was supposed to spend today in Minneapolis. I was looking forward to it and had an exciting day planned out. But I knew it was not the right thing. Instead, another offer arose much earlier than I once expected and that is the one that I have decided to pursue. It felt right. It made sense both in my mind and in my gut. And so, once I knew, I proceeded and canceled my trip to Minneapolis.

So we are embarking on more changes, both for my family and me professionally. There is a lot of work to do and a lot to accomplish. But despite my current lack of sleep, I am excited. I believe that this will be a positive move for our family. I am asking my wife to leave a job she enjoys at a good employer and exchange it for the unknown. It took her a few days to process the idea, but she is fully on board now and I appreciate her trust and support of me. I couldn’t do any of this without her.

And now I’m taking her back to where our relationship started and where I thought I would never return to live. But it will be our new home.

Leadership

Just a few quotes on leadership for a Thursday afternoon:

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Before you become a leader, success is about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.

-Jack Welch

Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success. Leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.

-Stephen Covey

On the Road Again

A year ago this week I was in London for business. It was a memorable and exciting trip for both personal and professional reasons. I took a direct Virgin Atlantic flight from San Francisco to Heathrow, which, on Virgin’s Upper Class, was a nice vacation on its own, and spent quality time with colleagues at work and explored one of the great world cities after hours.

But that was then. My reality now is working predictable hours for the U.S. government, where, due to budget shortages, only “mission critical” travel is permitted (not that going to London would have ever been an option anyway regardless of the budget). As I recall that trip a year ago, I am reminded of my many prior travels for my last job and realize how much I enjoyed them after not traveling for these past six months. Business travel provided something for me to look forward to, broke up the routine and provided a needed break from time to time (not to mention allowed me to catch up on books and movies). From New York, to London to Zurich to Milwaukee and so on, I had a schedule that took me out every six weeks or so. Now, I couldn’t tell you the next time I will be traveling for work. But, at least I have a job and have one that may lead one day to a position that allows me to travel again one day. Let’s hope so, for in trading my family for a few days of my own, I came to better appreciate the family and life I truly had waiting for me at home.

EDM

I posted on my Twitter feed the other day (@soundtosound) the following: Who knew I would see the day when Swedish House Mafia was played on the mainstream radio station. And I’m serious, but I guess not overwhelmingly surprised. I should have seen this coming. Ever since 2009 I have tried to follow the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) scene the best I could from a distance, but it is plainly obvious that EDM is here to stay. Remember thirty years ago when many thought that Rap was a fad and would ultimately fade? Well, it hasn’t, and neither will EDM. Whether it’s trance, progressive, house, dubstep or drum and bass, this is not the techno from the 1990s. The music and technology is much more sophisticated, the audience is young and global and the DJs behind the music are raking in millions. I dare someone to turn on the radio to any pop or Top 40 station today and not find a song that does not include EDM elements – they hardly exist anymore. In fact, Calvin Harris and David Guetta are radio stars these days and attract mainstream radio and media coverage, even though they are only the surface of the entire EDM scene. Just look at the numbers and the audience that Electric Daisy Carnival brings in – and it’s growing every year (see the 2012 EDC trailer here). This is the world’s future generation and perhaps the future of music. Personally, I credit Tritonal’s Air Up There podcast over the past three years as one of the largest reasons why I am into EDM today. Thank you, Chad and Dave, and keep up the good work.