The Blog of Kendall

Observations and Interests of Kendall Schoenrock – Web 2.0, Startups, Technology, & Other Fun Stuff

July 2, 2007

Is it time to shoot my Blackberry?

Written by
Kendall Schoenrock

I have previously posted on my blackberry and how much I enjoy the device. I use it so often my friends say I am addicted to it and I can easily see why they draw that conclusion. Something happened to me this past Friday that makes me call into question the relationship that I have with my blackberry, or more specifically, “always on” mobile email. The thing that my 8700c does best is allow me to stay connected via email and text message to everyone in my contact list. I have nearly all of my important information synced to the device and I use it to make my phone calls, check email, check sales, and surf the web when I am not at my work machine. For any geek who is “always on” this makes total sense, but what about those times you want to disconnect… nay, what about those times when it is healthy for you to disconnect?BlackBerry 8700c Shot up

This last Friday night I was stressed out and tired. I had just spent a long day in a u-haul moving from Pittsburgh to New York City. Naturally, my computer was packed tightly away and offline so I turned to my blackberry to stay connected with the daily work at Wallhogs. At around 8:30 PM I received an email from our CEO. He was asking about a specific project and I will openly admit it should be further along than it is. The problem though was that in my current environment neither of us was in any condition to think about this project, make any meaningful contribution to the solution, or review our forcasts in such a position. The email made me frustrated that I was disconnected and pissed off at the bottlenecks that are prohibiting moving forward on this project. It got me fired up about work and steaming about my current situation. At that very moment I questioned why I had to be connected. Why was it essential that I read that email on Friday night? Would it have killed anyone if it waited until Monday? Why must I read every email as soon as it comes in?

One simple cause is that I am being PUSHED all of my email. I have no control over the delivery times. The email shows up in my inbox moments after it is sent. In this situation, it was a bad time to deliver me work emails. This email lead to another which I also just HAD to respond to. All in all they pissed me off and cost me a few hours of my weekend that should have been spent on my apartment, relaxing, or being a normal 26 year old guy in the middle of New York City. This one moment caused me to review my relationship with this technology and I must say that I am seriously thinking about replacing my blackberry with a regular phone or shifting my email delivery system to pull only. There is no reason a work email should ever disrupt me in such a negative way ever again. Period.

6 comments for this post.

  1. Comment from Toby DiPasquale on July 3rd, 2007 :

    I totally feel you on this one: I much prefer not having push email. I can check email on my mobile whenever I want, but it doesn’t ever interrupt anything else I am doing. I have it set to fully manual download so that I am in control of when I see incoming email.

  2. Comment from Anderson Schoenrock on July 3rd, 2007 :

    Normally I agree with most of what my brother posts on his blog, but I must say Kendall, I think you’ve missed something here. Technology can improve but also hamper our lives, but ultimately we are in control of it. We control how often we look at our email, we control how these emails impact us. The larger issue here is with the content of the email, not the blackberry device, its settings or your choice to read it on a Friday evening. You say that the email should never impact you in such a negative way and you are correct, but shutting off your blackberry or swapping it for a different device would have only delayed your negative reaction until Monday. I do not know the details of these work emails, but there are a few possibilities – 1) the comments that frustrated you were justified and you were frustrated with yourself, 2) the comments were not justified and you were frustrated by a poor manager, 3) some combination of the two. In the case that your were frustrated with yourself, you should commit to doing a better job next time and move on. In the case that you’re dealing with a poor manager, you should commit to never doing this to someone else when you’re a manager, recognize their shortcomings, rise above it and move on. Or in the third scenario, you should do a combination of one and two and move on. I can only say this with such confidence because I have been there before. When I lived in NYC, I had a high pressure job that required long hours. Often I was working for a poor manager and this lead me to find myself in your situation weekend after weekend. Getting called in to do something I thought was a big waste of time…etc. Ultimately this impacted the way I treated my friends, my girlfriend at the time and my family. I took out my negative energy on them which they did not deserve and ultimately that lead to more negativity…etc. You simply just need to take control of it. Negativity breeds negativity and positivity breeds positivity. That is the choice you need to make, not whether to turn on or off your blackberry.

  3. Comment from Patti Schoenrock on July 3rd, 2007 :

    Kendall,

    As your mother and the recepient of your wisdom on how technology can make my life easier, I am proud of you for recognizing this pitfall of our new totally connected world! It is certainly important for us all to find our balance with the advantages and disadvantages of being able to communicate so easily. However, to hopefully make you feel better, even your parents who started their business with nothing more technilogical than a phone line, a typewriter (it was a newly developed top of the line IBM electric one but had NO memory) and a package of carbon paper, find it difficult to disconnect ourselves from cell phones, e-mail and stock quotes online!

    Good luck in NYC. Be safe and just make sure your blackberry is always on WHEN I want to reach you. LOL.

    Love, MOM

  4. Comment from Kendall on July 3rd, 2007 :

    Great feedback from all sides. I would agree on Anderson comments about the blackberry not being the cause of the action.

    Thanks Mom for your support! ;)

    Thanks to all for reading and contributing. Keep it up.

    Cheers,
    Kendall

  5. Comment from sidney on February 2nd, 2008 :

    I agree with Kendall. Sounds like brother is an older brother, lecturing younger brother. Yes, you have a choice to have your blackberry on or off. But if you have it, you are going to have it on. Especially for the social reasons on a Friday night – not expecting the boss! I choose not to have one (bb) because I would choose to have it off, so why have one? I have friends here who argue with me on the same argument – you choose to have it on or off. As I said, I choose to have it off. So I’ll save myself the money. Anyone read Covey? Phone is always in Q1 – important and urgent – we must answer the phone. But do we reallly? BB enters the market and we have more competition in Q1. Cheers to all of you for the conversation/controversy….. – Sid.

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