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Jan 14

Small Business, Big Impact

My alma mater is Babson College, a small but very powerful hub of entrepreneurship. My dad often asked if my post-grad plans included starting a company, to which I replied that I wanted to first gain corporate experience at a large, established firm.

I was absolutely sure that a large, established firm was the place for me, a newly minted college grad. My corporate internships were at large firms and it was the path I’d chosen. Where else was I going to get training, mentors, and exposure to well-known brands?

Fast forward to today, and I’m getting all that and more at my first job as a project manager for Enavigo, a one year old start up in the technology industry founded by a tech veteran with that corporate experience I was looking for. I realize now that a large firm could not have given me nearly as much experience that I’ve already received in just seven short months.

As one of four employees, I work from home every day, and yes, it’s as amazing as it sounds. With no commute or unnecessary meetings, I can focus on just my work. Today, there are so many tools to connect with others that office space is no longer a necessity.

My favorite tools that I use most often are Skype, to IM and call with a quick question, and, for screen sharing. To see a full list of useful tools for small business, click here.

I thought large, established companies with meticulously documented training and mentoring programs were a recent grad’s key to success. At Enavigo, my professional growth has been exponential due to invaluable hands on experience as well as the trust and guidance of my managers.

No matter how many questions I ask, every last one is answered with patience. Consistent, unwavering trust is placed in my abilities, and confidence is instilled even when I make a mistake. I’ve been learning as I go, since my first day, allowing me to build a strong skillset.

My experience has been a great one, and I can’t imagine “growing up” anywhere else. I would highly recommend a start up to professionals of all experience levels, for a truly unique and fulfilling organization that offers the flexibility and support that a large company simply cannot provide.

Jan 14

Nokia Lumia 1020 – Why I kept it

I have a debt to reality that I am very late to pay back.

I kept my Lumia 1020.

WP_20131229_11_18_26_RawWhy? Because it’s love. And when you love a device – you accept its flaws. And the camera over-compensates for many things.

So its email capability, battery life and overall lack of novelty apps suck. But it is just a piece of hardware that you love and enjoy. I will not go at length into everything I love about it, but it’s just different enough, fun enough and great enough in some things that I kept it.

And while I am still out to find a car charger that can charge it faster than it discharges its battery while using the GPS and Bluetooth, while the camera is not fast, and while many things drive me mad – I love it. That’s all. So there. If you used it for a couple of weeks, you too will find it difficult to return.

Debt paid.

Sep 13

Nokia Lumia 1020: The Windows Phone experiment and why I am not keeping it

The Lumia 1020 is a great device. I am also going to try and return it.

The camera is awesome. The operating system is really nice. In my opinion Windows Phone is in many areas superior to iOS 6 and probably looks better than iOS 7.  There are a lot of smart features (People app), and on the Lumia 1020 the terrific screen and fantastic camera make it a very compelling, high quality device.

There are unfortunately several things that together make this a device that falls short for my needs.

  1. Email and Calendar – While my micro-business uses Office 365 and I still stick with Outlook on both the Mac and Windows, Windows Phone’s email app is just good. The fact you cannot reply to an email in the quoted section, that you must have meeting attendees in your contacts list – are both mindless and disappointing.
  2. Facetime-equivalent – Skype is a great app. I could not get it to video-conference properly with iOS (which my family uses) and as such, it’s a knock on the phone.
  3. Photo syncing – So you have a terrific camera. There is no way to get the full-resolution files off the camera without a sync to your computer. Yes, 12MB per photo is a lot but WiFi can do that. Furthermore, this would have been easier if the Windows Phone app – on Mac or PC – was better. You can either fully sync the device (bi-directionally, mind you) or pick files. I am fine picking files, but you cannot even pick photos – it’s a file list which you cannot sort by date. Luckily the file names have the date in them but is this 2013 or 1989?
  4. Apps – yes. There are too few of them. While there are great ones – 6tag, the People app (again), and there many apps that were ported to the device, you are not where things are happening. There is no Dropbox (you can use Microsoft Skydrive or a very decent API client like Filebox) or YouTube, or a decent web video player. The new-new is not on Windows Phone.
  5. Too many photo apps – Difficult to knock on the phone with the best camera period but there are too many apps there to make it a seamless experience.
  6. Mobile web – Internet Explorer on Windows Phone is more than perfectly decent. It’s actually pretty good. But again – mobile sites don’t necessarily aim to support mobile IE. They normally gear to support the HTML5 Safari likes, and since this is not Safari, things are a bit subpar.
  7. Windows Phone – Microsoft shows it wants to support Windows Phone by acquiring Nokia. But how long is Windows Phone 8 going to be supported? Is the 1020 going to be upgradable (a la Apple) or is it going to be dumped on an older OS (Lumia 800 anyone)? And now there’s talk Windows RT will make its way to phones. Windows Phone is great, but certainty would have helped and Microsoft, with a new CEO coming and god knows what changes, is not making matters clear.

If I did not need the best email and calendaring possible, have a family with lots of Facetime users and were taking many many more photos than I do now, I would keep it. But right now, I don’t think it is the right companion for the next couple of years. I love you but…