Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Burn the Phone

You may be familiar with the legendary story of the Conquistador, Hernan Cortes who, upon landing in Mexico/Aztec territory, wanted to motivate his men to go forth to victory.

How did he do it?

By burning the boats! 

There would be no return to Spain for these men.

Innovation is, I think, sometimes similar. You just have to force yourself into a situation where innovation is required.

After finally seeing the light with a hand me-down iPhone, I decided it was time to upgrade from my Samsung Blackjack 2, a sturdy email workhorse of a device running Windows Mobile. A Blackberry clone, it was reliable, dependable and I was blazingly fast on it when typing.

Surveying the landscape of smartphones, however, I couldn’t help but come to the conclusion that the physical keyboards were going the way of the horse and buggy. Sooner or later, it would be all virtual keyboards.

Frankly, I’d had a hard time with the virtual keyboards. I made a lot of mistakes. It was frustrating.

But, this was an inflection point.

I’m at the age where it is easy for me to say “well, this is how I like it” and not adapt to change.

But, in my opinion, that attitude would land me in a position of “out of touch/irrelevance” down the road.

So, when it came to my phone, I “burned the boat” and after careful consideration, ended up with the Sprint EVO 4G phone (more on this decision later).

Day 1 was tough, but once I realized “this was my phone and I’m stuck with it,” I sensed a mental change in how I approached it. Instead of frustration, I now had patience. (I suppose this attitude also explains how my wife tolerates me, but I digress).

Like my 6 year old with her “hand me down” iPhone, I looked at the challenge of the new tool through eyes of wonder and curiosity. I discovered new things because I was exploring, not trying to do the same thing on a new device.

Was I less productive for a day or two? Sure.

But, am I more liberated and capable now? Hell yeah!

So, what boat will you burn today?

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