Guest Post by LiveWorx Sponsor Freedom RFID, Rob Simmons, co-founder and VP of Business Development
It’s incredibly fun to chase shiny objects. Whether you’re a cat or a software developer, getting distracted by something new, bright, and shiny is natural.
At the same time, as humans, we usually give lip service to the importance of productivity, time management, and avoiding distractions whenever possible. We use Pomodoro, or special headphones; we try turning off our phones or putting our laptops on Airplane Mode; we jump through a lot of hoops hoping to avoid distraction and focus on “the task at hand”, whatever that may be.
But, after decades in and around the tech development industry, I started realizing lately that our attitude surrounding distractions and productivity is off.
When shiny stuff is worth it
Don’t just ignore shiny objects out of hand. Gold, diamonds, and a thousand other valuable things are shiny.
A lot of truly incredible innovation and progress has come from some smart people who got distracted at the right time and pursued whatever shiny object caused it. That’s the way our minds work: connections made — how, we’re not always sure — between what exists now and what needs to exist going forward.
Without those inspired distractions, who knows how stunted our advancement may have been? At the very least, I doubt I’d be typing these paragraphs on my laptop, and you’d be able to magically read them on your own screen-of-choice thousands of miles away, in an instant.
Of course, this kind of inspired distraction is notoriously fickle, and you can’t ever rely on it. I believe it was W. Somerset Maugham who explained how he managed to write so brilliantly and prolifically:
“I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately, it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”
Which brings us to the other side of the equation.
Where solid technology solutions need to come in
Sure, Maugham’s “muse” — or inspired distraction, if you will — had an impact on his writing. But it was his disciplined approach to the craft that made it possible for him to access that inspiration so consistently. If he wasn’t sitting at his writing desk “every morning at nine o’clock,” ready and willing to create something, what would have happened to every good idea that went through his mind?
In the tech industry, like really any other industry, it’s the hard-working professionals who show up every day to battle the same problems with the same grit and determination that end up “getting distracted” by incredible inspired solutions now and then.
I remember in our own offices, a little over a year ago, when a conversation with my Freedom RFID co-founder, Adam, about the latest coding project he was working on seemed to be heading in the same direction as all the ones before… nowhere fast.
The code was fantastic, and it did incredible things. The hardware that went with it was working well and accomplishing the goal. The problem we were having wasn’t with the tech. It was with people.
We had no clear, arrow-straight direction from the tech to the consumers who needed it, and we’d been battling this issue for months already.
But, that’s when the shiny stuff appeared. And, instead of shooing it away and getting back to work, we stood next to the whiteboard and got distracted for a while. The result of that distraction was an outline for a solid solution: the Gopherwerx brand and product line: a clear and simple solution that connected the tech with the people seamlessly.
With that one conversation, over a year ago, the entire direction of our company’s efforts changed. Only slightly, because often the best distractions are just a little ways from where you were headed anyway. But, if we had staunchly refused to get distracted, we’d still be creating impressive technology in a vacuum instead of helping real people solve real problems in the real world.
So, don’t ignore every shiny object you see. There might just be a solid solution waiting for you.
Rob Simmons is the co-founder and VP of Business Development at Freedom RFID, a RFID development and consultancy firm and makers of the GopherWerx® line of asset management solutions. Visit them online at Freedom RFID and GopherWerx, or call 704-228-0204 with any questions or comments.
For more information on the latest cutting-edge RFID solutions, register for LiveWorx 18, June 17-20, 2018 in Boston!