A month ago, I attended a meeting where a friend was speaking. This was sponsored by a local faith/business association, and so I hoped to also connect with some other businesses in the area I might not have heard of before. I ran into a guy I’ve seen at other events prior and we got to talking about life, tech, and cycling (I biked to that talk). As we were talking about paradigm shifts in our lives, he got onto this meme about time. I can’t quote it verbatim, but I can pretty much summarize what he said in the following:
Time is our most precious, limited, and under-utilized resource. We track it, but it constrains us. We measure it, but in the end, its measures of us look like a dash (-). You have to ask yourself this one key thing about any and everything that you are doing in this life – how much do you value time. You can’t create more time (you’d have to exist outside of it to do so), and so you must submit to it, doing the best you can to make the most of each second that’s offered you.
That stung, and stuck. It ended up shifting my mind considerably, even to the point of a previous post here where I (rightfully) questioned the intention and focus of my actions in mobile and tech. I’d come to an unwavering conclusion:
If mobile doesn’t add time to your experiences, why are you letting it put so many demands on your values and $$$?
If that doesn’t stop you in your tracks to consider everything then you might want to just step away from the screen/speaker.
What makes the mobile so great? Well, one part of it is communication. Its literally an instant communication mechanism that takes what we’ve learned from writing, language, discourse, and media and put it all in your hands. Problem is that most of the conversations about what’s great and profitable about mobile start and end with the communication end of things. Many of the efforts around this connected tool forget that its always first in its respect to time that makes it preferred, fast(est) adopting, and potentially extinction-causing.
If the mobile didn’t improve the speed and efficiency that you connected with the people or opportunities that mattered to you, would you use it? Of course not. You’d not only say that it was a waste of knowledge, but that it was a waste of time to use it.
If it takes longer than whatever time you have in your mind to get through the service menu to connect with customer service, what is your opinion of the company (no matter how vital that service might be to your welfare)?
A friend said it nicely yesterday – if you valued my time you’d text me and not call me (love the sentiment by the way). Besides working most days in a high stress and high communication environment, the value of the communication isn’t in what the person on the other end wanted, nor even in the method they used, it was how they respected her time.
Which leads me to something else that I’ve said recently, and this was based on a tweet about Facebook:
Facebook is about spending time. Mobile is about redeeming it. A house divided
This was in response to a tweet remarking about how Facebook’s focus on mobile has diminished the IPO (public stock offering) value. Facebook gains its value by keeping you engaged within its world. In a very real sense, Facebook’s value is derived from you valuing time online = Facebook (and its partners). Mobile presents the opposite picture. The context of mobile, even Facebook, is that of snack-sized engagement behaviors. Mobile’s instant characteristic precludes it from being a time-sink in the tradition sense. Yes, people do use their mobiles in non-mobile contexts more often than not, but that doesn’t mean that the time on a mobile is meant to be wasted. Its very focused actually. And this means that for Facebook and its increasing smartphone swarm, that focus in use places the onus back on the user to value time, not on Facebook to set the value for you.
You want to change the world thru mobile? Change the way people associate themselves and what they care to be involved with to their value of time. If you will, add time to their day and you add money into your pocket. But if you want to have something that ultimately fails, no matter how high its valued and invested in, then waste time. We only get one dash. And believe it or not, the length of that dash is all that counts. If mobile and tech don’t increase that dash, then its killing it.