A one-device world?

PB-logoHere is my October Management Matters column in Prairie Business Magazine

During a recent three-day, 1,700-mile road trip, I decided to see if I could “survive” with just a single electronic device. Normally when I travel, my bag is overflowing with a bevy of gadgets including a laptop, tablet, smartphone, e-reader, GPS and streaming device.

Bombarded by media campaigns suggesting smartphones can do everything, I wondered how realistic these claims really were. The rules of the challenge were simple: Everything related to the trip had to be completed with a single smartphone. The first step was to make sure that all the necessary apps were loaded. I used a map program to plot the route, a couple different apps to get some hotel and restaurant recommendations, loaded some e-books, and downloaded my favorite podcasts.

The preparation seemed simple enough, but of course, I had not left the comfort of my very connected world. Would all of this work once I started driving? As I left home, with just my phone, I felt a little uneasy, but that all changed when my phone connected to Bluetooth and the map app told me to turn right. The journey unfolded much better than expected and I really did not miss the bag of toys that usually weighs me down.

As fun as the experiment was, there is an important moral to the story. I only used hotels, restaurants and other services that had an easy to use app and great customer reviews. Everything else disappeared from my radar. This brings up two important questions that are vital for all business leaders: When was the last time you checked how visible your business is in the mobile world? What have you done to cultivate a loyal online customer base?