No one would call me a visionary. For instance, I would never have believed that giant, singing and dancing cats could be a Broadway success. I don't understand why $100 sheepskin boots sell so well in a place called Sunnyvale. And how is it that platform shoes have made a comeback?
Actually, probably all of you were similarly surprised about those successes. Especially those ridiculous, headache-inducing felines. So let's look at the technical side. Although I've worked at cutting-edge companies, luckily for my employers I've been a developer, not a product planner. Who needs a graphical user interface when command lines are so snappy? Why would non-engineers want a computer in their house? Who needs a cell phone when there are so many phone booths?
Yet last summer when my employer held an in-house video contest where one of the prizes was a Motorola Xoom -- one of those new-fangled tablet devices -- I was motivated to win. I'd been considering getting some sort of e-reader for a while, and a Xoom would serve that purpose. I doubted I'd find any other use for it. I mean, my husband, whose email address is PersonalSysAdminForJackie@HoneyDo.com, already had set up our home high-speed connectivity, router, WIFI, desktops for everyone, and a laptop for the family to share. I really wouldn't need the Xoom for any computer purposes.
I submitted my contest entry at the last minute -- a video of me singing an original comedy song that answered the question "how has the company affected my life"? Four weeks later, the winners were announced and, well, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus, because I won the Xoom. Ironically, four weeks later, the company affected my life again, and laid me off along with many hundreds of my co-workers. But I already had my Xoom, so there.
(I quickly got a job working at a cool, new place, so there, again).
The layoff did leave me with some time off to download and read a few e-books on my Xoom. When comparing progress with my book club, instead of saying "I'm about half way done with the book", I got used to saying "I'm 46% done". I no longer had to look around for a convenient scrap of paper to use as a bookmark.
Most amazingly, I finally followed my mother's advice, and looked up words I didn't know. The meanings of "blunderbuss" and "postilion" from A Tale of Two Cities were quickly illuminated with just a touch and a tap – no disruptive trip to the bookcase required.
One day, while in the middle of the best and worst of times, my daughter pulled me away from the French revolution, asking what time her volleyball practice was. Hm. I'm pretty comfortable here in the big blue chair. Wait! I can check my email on my Xoom. Practice is from 4:00 to 6:00. Now, without further delay, back to the guillotines.
This was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. I began checking email all the time on my Xoom. From there, it was just a short hop to doing my banking, planning vacations, and repeatedly watching The Hunger Games trailer.
When I downloaded WordFeud (see ), I was a goner. I didn’t need to squint at teeny tiny tiles on my phone anymore. My Xoom became the last thing I looked at before going to sleep each night and the first thing I reached for in the morning.
My husband and daughter occasionally reached for my Xoom. No. It’s mine. I won it. My husband suggested that as PersonalSysAdminForJackie@HoneyDo.com, he should be able to use it, too. Huh? I don’t recall him singing and playing guitar in a winning video.
He eventually gave up, but not until pointing out that I hadn’t kept anything that close to me since I was a nursing mother. True enough. But so what? It is a far, far better thing that I Xoom, than I have ever done.