What I Learned on Summer Vacation

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While resting on this mountain pass, I finished a book on my iPhone.

In the last two weeks I’ve developed a new appreciation for mobile computing and instant gratification, and their impact on sales, products, and customer service.

While visiting family in rural Montana and Minnesota, I had the opportunity to rely on my iPhone for most of my computing and communications. Why? Land or satellite-based internet access was very limited. However, cell coverage was available, if not always blazing.

The funny thing, though, is that I was still able to do most of the things I would normally expect to do on a laptop, with the added bonus of having the mobile device serve as an always-on travel aid when looking for restaurants, coffee-houses, or…well, let’s be honest…it was really all about the coffee :^)

Since purchasing the iPhone and installing Amazon’s Kindle application, I’ve read more books in 4 months, than I read in the last two years combined. In the last two weeks I read on the road, at the gas station, at the house, on a mountain…you get the picture. But why so much more reading? Because I can browse, buy, download, and begin reading books virtually instantly. I’m still buying regular books (I’m reading a great book now on homesteading), but being able to satisfy a product craving anywhere, anytime is simply powerful.

I live and work in a beautiful, seaport and arts community. One of the things I hear frequently from businesses, is “Hey, no one uses the internet when they are on vacation – they are here to unwind.”

Wanna bet? I think that businesses in ANY industry that meet customers where they are, when they are, give themselves the opportunity to succeed. For-profit, non-profit, large or small. I don’t think there is any real distinction now between ‘traditional’ and ‘mobile’ computing. The devices are sophisticated enough to make it possible for customers to find you anywhere, at any time.

I found that those businesses that had useful information that I could download or consume at the moment I needed it got my business. I’m sure I’m not alone.

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