Life without a smart phone

Posted on October 23, 2008

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Like every other tech executive in the valley I got hooked to email on the phone about 4 years ago.  I used for varying periods a treo, samsung i600, blackberry and then the blackjack. About 3 months back I gave up my Blackjack. Went to Fry’s and bought a 10$ go phone which can only make calls and has a phenomenal battery life.

My wife was not sure if this was temporary or permanent. I have just transitioned at work from a CEO to CTO role and she thinks i am looking for change everywhere.  Maybe true but this is a great one.

I have to admit it has not been easy. we are so addicted to being constantly interrupted that the urge to check email or read the news is so strong, when there is a quiet moment. It is almost as bad as the urge to smoke (although I have never tried that … so am speaking metaphorically).

I had a moment of weakness at VmWorld last month. I was awaiting something important and gave in … putting the sim card back into my black jack. It did not have enough battery and did not run last enough to get any email.  At lunch other people check email atleast 5 times if not more.

Another big change because of this is that I actually have to carve out time to read email. Earlier I would read it as it was coming in. Now I have to sit down and read it systematically. I miss some of the emails … and take longer to reply to others. Steve Dow at Sevin Rosen Funds once said to me we are not doctors, someone won’t die if we dont read and answer email. It is true although very hard to do.

Why did I do it?

I have 3 daughters and more often than not, I found myself reading email when driving.  It occurred to me doing this was stupid, It will only take a moment to lose everything. So I stopped.

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