I’m Not Using A Laptop At Work Anymore

Yesterday I set up an iMac on my desk at the office, and took my laptop home. Going forward, I’ll be using my iPhone 6+ to do as much as I can and using my desktop computer for everything else. Why? Because I don’t really see a role for the laptop in my work life anymore.

B2B Mobile

I strongly feel that the companies who will win in the new era of B2B software-as-a-service will build products that are immensely useful for those who are on-the-go and only have time to use a phone. This is what we are working on with the Mattermark iPhone App and a collection of tools including Slack, RelateIQ, Microsoft Office, Google Analytics and many more have rolled out massive improvements to the mobile work experience in the past 18 months.

To really get this, I want to immerse myself in it.

Mobile isn’t just an interface, it’s a different context. It’s a context where the place you’re in and the process of getting there take a ton of mental bandwidth. The phone fills in the boring gaps spent on the train or waiting for a car to pick you up, it fills in the gaps of your knowledge as you prep to make sure you know the names of the executive team or the last major news event for the client’s company.

The phone is like a smart assistant you’re having a conversation with, instead of calling up your own personal “Q” to research these things for you as you stand in a dark payphone booth, you ask Siri. I’ve become obsessed with transcribing my emails rather than typing them, probably because I am starting to feel the impact of 15 years of keyboard usage on my hands in the early stages of carpal tunnel. I’ve also discovered Siri is a lot smarter than I first realized, if you know what kinds of questions she likes to hear. Oh, and I made her a man with a British accent — which I find much less robotic.

Walking More

A second important reason I’ve decided to stow my laptop is health. Last week we got Fitbits for the entire office, and I realized I need to be a lot more active (I’m also trying to lose 40 pounds this year — 6 down so far!). My walk from Potrero Hill to our office in North Beach and back again each day is about 7 miles round trip, but carrying a backpack or purse makes it a recipe for sore shoulders, neck and lower back.

I want to move around un-encumbered. All I want to carry is my phone, ID, credit card and my Fitbit (yes — this could all be collapsed into a phone but we’re not quite there yet). No backpack. No purse. No laptop.

Disaster Scenarios

What if something happens at the office and you need to get online?

There’s really nothing I am going to need to do in the hour it takes for me to walk home that can’t be addressed on my phone or wait until I’m in either my work or home office with a full computer setup.

As CEO, I used to have access to the “launch codes” (e.g. AWS admin, Stripe, code deployment rights, etc.) but as we’ve grown our CTO and his team have taken over managing uptime and other issues — though I still take pride in the investor meetings where I saw a bug, fixed it, and redeployed on the projector screen. Our account management and customer support folks can handle billing, and really there is nothing that can’t wait 30 minutes for me to get in a Lyft to the office to resolve it in person.

I’m just not critical to every single mission anymore, and that’s great!

My setup

At Work:

  • 5K iMac with iMac Cinema Display 2nd screen (until 5K cinema display comes out)
  • iPhone 6+

At Home:

  • iPhone 6+
  • Older iMac in our guest room
  • 13" Macbook Pro (which I’m writing on now, since our guest room is occupied) —always kept up-to-date and sync’d with all my files on iCloud and Dropbox so I can use it for travel