I’m sitting in an interview, or a meeting, and the person I’m talking to keeps touching the home button on their smartphone so that they can see “how we are doing for time”.
This is hands down one of the most distracting, flow breaking, creative spirit destroyer out there.
I know I know, this sounds a bit extreme, but bear with me….
Long ago “timepieces” were on a chain, in your pocket. To check the time you had to pull it out, say “tsk tsk”, shake your head disapprovingly, and rush to your next appointment. Enter the wrist watch. Super awesome stealthy way to stay on time without being an obvious, distracting clock watcher.
Now, anyone who knows me well, knows I RAIL against clock watching… “take as much time as you need to do it right, doctor, as long as I don’t have to stay more than 4 hours past shift end”, “It takes way more time to do it over than to do it right the first time”, etc…
So for those who have known me for a decade or two, you’ll be laughing your ass off right now, i’m sure. “Laura? have you lost your mind? you really want people, yourself included to wear a.. wrist watch???”
Yes. I do.
Smartphones are not subtle timekeeping devices. They are great for all the other things under the sun, and yes, fine for setting alarms, makeshift stopwatches, location driven alerts, etc… BUT THEY SUCK AS WRISTWATCHES.
I’ve been in 3 meetings over the past 2 weeks where multiple people were checking their phones. Fingering their phones (forgive the crass visual). Touching them every 3-5 min to make sure we will get to everything in the allotted time. I’ve even seen presentations where the presenter would stop, touch the smartphone, check the time, go back to yapping. Alerts add to the mayhem. Touch to check time… Oh look! A push alert came through from the noise sensor in my office, that must mean the dog-sitter is there picking Lucy up <checks time> cool! right on time!” now what were we talking about?
Think about it, have you been talking to someone recently? Out to dinner perhaps? Enjoying yourself only to see them start fondling their phone. Dog tilt head look at them “oh, no no, i was just checking the time” uh huh… (am i boring, were they checking for text’s, emails, dog sitters, nest smoke detector?) what were we talking about again? you get my drift.
So, this is why I think that the iWatch will actually be a success. I didn’t at first, i thought “what on earth are they wasting their time on this for”, but now.. now i think i was wrong.
There is a cultural evolution afoot, and it is one that will work to put subtlety back into our lives. In the same way we evolved from watches on chains to wrist watches… We are constantly bombard by tech. I’m not saying the tech has to go anywhere (i’m a HUGE fan of tech, just come visit my smart house where I can remotely use my iPhone to control temperature, lights, listen for the dog sitter, detect movement, and report back near instantly) it just needs to become more integrated and less obvious.