Why tech?

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m equal parts geek and nerd.  To those who don’t know me, they are often shocked when I start correcting them on technology information.  When you get to know me, you know I just find comfort in tech.  I don’t know why exactly, I guess I just do.

Did I start out my career thinking this is what I wanted to do?  No.  Not at all.  When I was at school, I wanted to be a fashion designer.  People find that even more hilarious – me, having a sense of fashion, again that’s often surprising but it’s a post for another day.

Then I wanted to be an interior designer.  That’s my part time passion, interiors.

I fell into my career in a rather haphazard manner.  Started out selling computers, and blagged my way into an IT support job with ICL.  From there I became a bit of an autodidact.  Only ever had 4 hours of training in 17 years, and that was my first day on the job.  Being taught how to hard code autoexec and config.sys files on windows machines.

So why exactly would I choose technology?  Perhaps I could see the difference that technology could make.  I got excited at the prospects of taking something that you always had to do by hand and using computing technology to make it better.  It’s somewhat grandiose to say it, but I believed (and I still do), that computers have got the power to save lives.

It’s rather sad that we’re still not pushing the boundaries of what they’re capable of.  In this big data revolution we still throw around words easily because they’re fashionable without considering what the meaning of them really are.  Instead of just saying things we should be doing more with them.

So it was the article on Sky News a couple of weeks ago (the link to which I can’t find which is typical), that made me smile.  A pilot scheme run in two hospitals using iPods to monitor patient vitals had saved around 300 lives.  Amazing huh?

Just think… if transforming a paper process into something digital with only a tiny bit of what’s possible, and it can save 300 lives, why on earth are we not doing more?  Technology doesn’t need to be big and expensive, it can be small and plausible.

MVP or MK3?

As mentioned previously, I’m researching for the conference I’m talking at.  This means reading, a lot (nothing new there).  What is new is my reading material.  Normally I’ll surf from one article to another rather than reading whole text books (seriously… snore).  I’ll pull little bits of information from one place or another and glue them together to come up with insights.  My brain has been called wikipedia before (along with a comment about it being a bit freakish).

So at the moment I’m reading The Lean Startup by Eric Reiss (great book, well written).  I won’t go into details about it as I suggest you read it.  However, he obviously talks about the MVP quite a bit (minimal viable product for those of you who don’t know).  My reading has also coincided with the latest Apple launch this week.

Before I go off on one, I’ve mentioned that I read a lot and I retain a hell of a lot of random bits of information in my brain.  Anyway, earlier this year, Nike canned their fuel band.  Which was a little odd, as the market for wearables is picking up a pace, they had also released two versions of their product to the market.  Very odd, as a third would mean (if they had learnt anything from Apple) was the right type of market space holder.

Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t go out and buy first generation Apple products.  Whilst the first release of an Apple product that you’re likely to see is a damn good one, it’s still in their eyes an MVP.  You can tell it from the design and that features are missing (remember the first iPhone, no 3G and no cut / copy / paste?).

So why am I rambling?  Well the speculation was rife when Nike let their team go, that they didn’t let them go very far, they handed off the team into the waiting hands of Apple.

Nike don’t build tech.  Lets be clear on that.  Whilst the fuel band is a great concept it has turned their system into a proprietary product with ‘fuel’ instead of things that we recognise (like calories0.  At the time bloggers were speculating that Apple wanted access to the social network that Nike had built (and maybe that was the case).  Then if you add in the mix of the Beats purchase for cloud music you sort of see where they’re going (although IMHO, those two products would probably be bolted together in some way – can you say cloud music for athletes?).

There are startups out there or smaller tech companies who can do it better and faster.  They can get a product to market that’s better and people will want.  It makes sense that Nike would ditch the fuel band.  The thing is, following the launch of the Watch this week (oh come on, it wasn’t a surprise to anyone), closer inspection of the sport versions look very close to the fuel band but with a bit more oomph.

So now I’m wondering, is Apple really releasing their standard MVP MK1 product, or is it for all intents and purposes Nike Fuel MK3?  If so, the product could well be more stable and better than any other product launch they’ve done to date.

They will only make it work if they can offer something unique to it (and I’m sorry, but wifi music distribution and calls from a watch are just adding things in for the sake of it and not diversifying the product).  Think outside the box Apple, don’t give us a regurgitated iPhone – give us a piece of wearable tech that has strong health benefits built into it – calories, heart rate, blood pressure, perspiration, fluid intake, pedometer – done WELL, would be a good start.

Will I jump on the bandwagon? I haven’t worn a watch in about 10 years, and even when I did, I didn’t really find them comfortable so possibly not.  For me a watch would need to provide me with some value and not be intrusive to wear.  If it can’t get over those stumbling blocks I really won’t care too much what else it can offer to me.

Talking out loud

Next month I’m going to be doing something I’ve never done before.  Well, two things, but the first is likely to be the more scary of the two.

I was asked to talk at a conference my company is running in London (link at the bottom of the page, if you’re interested in what I do, I can recommend it, the line up is amazing).  For some reason my mouth went ‘yeah OK’ before my brain had chance to go ‘are you completely bloody barking mad?’

To be clear, I’ve only worked for my company for about 3 months.  When I was asked I think I’d been there for about three weeks.  It’s not like I had a clear idea of what I was going to talk about, I just thought yeah, what the hell.

You see, I do completely bonkers things like this when my life suddenly starts getting a little bit out of control.  I do it to regain a sense of control.  Also, because I like to operate outside of my comfort zone.  Where’s the fun in being normal?

I now know what I’m talking about, although I keep looking at what my topic is and I’m starting to feel like someone else has written it.  It’s not like I can’t do it.  I know I can do it, I mean getting up and talking is not going to kill me (well, OK, in theory, yes it could but it wouldn’t be directly related to talking, well, unless I suddenly got electrocuted or something… active imagination, I might have mentioned this).

What I guess I’m saying is I’m turning procrastination into an art form and I’m hoping beyond hope that I don’t stand up and make a complete and utter pillock of myself.

http://2014.interactconf.com 

Signs you’re probably losing the plot

You know, you have all these wonderful ideas, and thoughts and think ‘you know, I really should be blogging that’.  So when you finally get around to sitting down and moving your domain to point at standard WordPress hosted blog.  You faff around with the themes thinking ‘ffs woman, keep it simple, you never use anything else anyway’.  You reconfigure all your login details and act like a total nerd.

Then you sit there and think.  What the hell was I going to write in the first place? Yeah, so I’m having one of those days.

Sure I have a ton of things to write.  Predominately from the perspective that with any hope, downloading them out of my head I might actually stop processing them.  Like the actual act of conveying them to paper (yeah, I know, it’s not paper it’s 1s & 0s) will stop them from clogging my head.  I live in perpetual hope (no, seriously I do).