In the Trenches: Managing from the Road
I've spent the last week and a half on the road in three different cities, and if one thing has been made clear, it's that connectivity is more important for me now than it ever has been. I'm thinking a few upgrades are in order, because my current situation is just killing me... slowly.
I first realized that being connected on the road was important about five minutes after starting my business. Soon after, I decided to buy a netbook with a built-in mobile broadband card so that I could be reached anywhere. Yes, I realized that this wasn't ideal for my sanity, but hey, I had to sacrifice to make this work.
I chose Verizon knowing that its footprint in the U.S. was unmatched. I figured that even on road trips, I would be able to get online when I needed. If not, I could always just call that obnoxious Verizon geek and have him come see why my service was down. Turns out, this setup has worked well, though there have been some problems.
The most obvious issue is that my Verizon data card doesn't work outside the U.S. That's OK. I get worldwide email on my T-Mobile BlackBerry, so if something urgent comes in while outside the U.S., I can always duck in to a Wi-Fi hotspot and get online. That leaves one other obvious place where I can't connect: at 30,000 feet. But even that's relatively easy these days. You can get almost anywhere in the U.S. on at least one airline with Internet access, though I somehow picked a flight last week that was 5 hours long and had none. Sometimes a break is nice, but these days I find myself worrying that I've missed a client with an urgent need.
(Yes, I need more help, but that's an entirely different discussion.)
The biggest issue I'm finding lately is that my netbook is so sluggish that it takes me twice as long to get anything done on it as it does at home. That's a huge problem since it just wastes my time, so it might be time to start looking for a new system. The options today are much better than they were a year ago. I can give in to peer pressure and buy an iPad or one of its many imitators. I suppose I can also just look for a more traditional laptop, but either way I know I just need some more power, and quickly.
Brett Snyder is President and Chief Airline Dork of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. Snyder previously worked for several airlines, including America West and United, before leaving to create a travel search site for PriceGrabber.com. Snyder did his undergrad at George Washington and earned his MBA from Stanford.