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Taking My iPad on the Road

To explore how the iPad is a tool for road warriors, I decided yesterday to collect my thoughts about this new Sales 2.0 tool on the fly:

Apr8_2 I had a conversation with my cab driver on the way to San Francisco International Airport. He was planning to puchase an iPad, and I was impressed by how much he knew about this new productivity tool. He agreed that laptops will disappear. He reminded me of why laptops became popular: People wanted to be mobile and take their files with them and work on the road. Now we can grab our files and our applications in the cloud. With Apple's Mobile Me service, there is no need for a hard disk drive. If you ever need to access your desktop, there is an app for that.

I was standing in the security line at SFO and placed my iPad in the gray bin. It was an instant conversation starter: "Excuse me, is this an iPad? When did you get it? Was there a long line?" The lady who asked the questions introduced herself, saying, "I work for Newsweek and am in sales. I am so tired of schlepping my laptop from meeting to meeting."

As I was sitting on the plane waiting to take off, my seat neighbor pulled out his laptop and stared at the screen as he waited for it to come to life. I smiled, since I do not have to wait for a program to launch, to save a file, nor for the iPad to shut down. I can simply hit the off switch. Saving a file, closing a program, shutting down a laptop – that's history.

I took an American flight and missed the wireless connection you get on other airlines. I noticed someone across the aisle firing up a Kindle II, which is a little larger than the iPad, and I smiled and thought, "That’s a one-song band." I’ve got all my Kindle books stored on the iPad.


The plane was delayed and I enjoyed a conversation with my seat neighbor, who works for Toshiba. He told me about a YouTube video featuring a young man who filmed himself last Saturday going into an Apple store and buying an iPad. After he left the store, he unpacked the iPad and then grabbed a hammer and smashed the iPad into pieces. My seat neighbor thought that this was a reflection of how people feel about technology invading their lives.

My take: This clever kid wanted to ride the coattails of Apple's media hype. In this case, his price tag for two minutes of fame was $600. I doubt that he bought the 64GB version. I wonder what this kid will do when he grows up? He might go to a car dealership and buy a Bentley convertible for $375,000, then drive it to a scrap yard and ask to reduce it to a 4' x 5' scrap package. After posting his video on YouTube and getting 5 million views plus free news coverage, he might declare the scrap package and video a work of art, call it the "Bentley Box," and sell it for $1 million.

My seat neighbor told me that Toshiba sells the memory chips that drive the iPad. Apple's business model is not to build the best product, but to leverage existing technologies more intelligently and leave manufacturing to others.

Morten Hansen, author of the book Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Apr8_3 Unity, and Reap Big Results, believes that Apple has become the corporate poster child of intelligent collaboration. In his book, he describes how Sony tried in 2003 to create a portable music player to compete with Apple's iPod. Sony had all the pieces necessary (hardware and software), but the key executives at Sony were unable to collaborate effectively. The result: the loss of a huge opportunity. Sony's stock stumbled and Apple's stock skyrocketed.

As I wrote my blog post on the iPad, I realized that I turned “scrap time” into productive time. But it wasn’t all work. I watched an episode of The Colbert Report and laughed out loud, and I read a few more pages of a new book I downloaded last night. I was also able to write email that I planned to send as soon as I got connected, and I jotted down a few notes that I wanted to weave into my upcoming keynote speech in Dallas.

My seat neighbor shared an article from USA Today about the iPad. It's obvious that the writer just recycled other bits of news that appeared online the day before.

The big story is that newspapers are no longer reporting what's new. They are in the information recycling business. The other big story is that the linear world is disappearing. The world has moved from 1.0 to 2.0. It's a more dynamic place for those who are willing and able to adapt. The plane landed and I finished my blog post convinced that the iPad will become the ultimate Sales 2.0 productivity tool.

At the W Hotel in Dallas, I checked into my room and tried to connect my iPad with the hotel's wireless network. The iPad recognized the network, but the signal was not strong enough to get online. When I asked the front desk about the connection problem, I was told to go to the lobby, where the signal is strong. I then realized the wisdom of getting the next version of the iPad, which will offer 3G coverage for use in areas where the iPad can’t connect through Wi-Fi or where the Wi-Fi signal is weak. The price of $29.99 a month for 3G service will be easily offset by eliminating the daily wireless fees charged by hotels. My advice to road warriors: Wait for the next version of the iPad that comes out by the end of April.

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