Just a few months ago, I decided to leave my job leading marketing for one of Fidelity Investment’s businesses to start my own company. Many of you know what that feels like! And many of you also know there are hundreds of decisions that have to be made when starting a business. One of the early decisions for me was determining what computer systems were needed to operate, and specifically, what technology would make me effective when meeting with prospects — being “on the road” as some say.
For the past 10 years or so, probably just like you, I’ve worked from a laptop and carried it on every trip and to every offsite meeting. It was certainly a core part of my “system” for staying organized.
So I debated for weeks whether to buy a laptop or use the iPad I purchased earlier in the year. When it comes to laptops, put me in the camp of a “power user”. I want speed, space and every application imaginable so I’m as efficient as possible. At the time (back in late summer), the iPad was still relatively untested for business since it was so new. But I was convinced of the iPad’s potential. So I decided to give the iPad a try as my only road device (other than my mobile phone).
Now, many weeks into the new business, I’ve had a good chance to try out the iPad in just about every scenario possible. I’ve traveled by plane and by car…conducted brainstorming sessions…led project meetings…participated in “small group” meetings…and certainly made sales visits and given presentations. So far there hasn’t been a single instance where I needed a laptop.
But even better, I’ve learned where the iPad (and likely other forthcoming tablets) hold tremendous advantages over laptops. For example:
- Instant on! No more waiting 5-6 minutes for anything to boot up or down.
- Fast applications. Again, no waiting.
- Long battery life. I get about 10 hours on one charge. No more searching for outlets in the airport or at a client site!
- Light weight. My bag (when I even need it) is lighter and my back appreciates that.
- It’s more engaging. I can easily hand it to a prospect and have them interact with my presentation.
Now, you have to have the right apps for sure. And it can take some time to figure out exactly what you need to accomplish your day to day tasks effectively. After all, there are tens of thousands of apps out there for the iPad. Here are a few apps I’ve found to be very helpful in going mobile with the iPad:
- Pocket Informant – this great looking app is now my calendar, my project manager and my task list. It syncs with Google Calendar and even helps me manage tasks using the Getting Things Done methodology.
- Evernote- I simply couldn’t stay organized without this unbelievable app. I can now easily find any note I’ve ever typed, scanned or snapped from my desktop, mobile phone or iPad no matter where I am.
- Good Reader – a very versatile app which opens nearly any type of file. And it connects directly to my “cloud” storage.
- Flipboard- a whole new spin on staying informed. Industry news, tweets, Facebook posts…this app makes it easy to scan and read just what’s relative. It’s my personalized newspaper.
I firmly believe tablet technology will change business in a dramatic way. What do you think?
Check back in a few days for a more in-depth look at some of the tools I mentioned in this post.