By Terry Brock
In tough times it is more important than ever for you to have a competitive advantage. Small business has regularly leveraged new technologies to gain a force multiplier over larger, more well-heeled competitors. That is our strength! We don’t have to wait for some fancy committee to meet and approve it. We don’t have to go through 14 layers of people to get political buy-in. We just decide to do something and then do it! The same with getting a raise: If you want a raise you don’t have to ask anyone for it — you just go out and earn it!
Here are some simple, inexpensive technologies which can give you a competitive advantage as you’re in today’s world.
Powerful Portable Storage To Get The Job Done
Recently I had the chance to see a couple of new technologies from Ridata. I’ve talked about their products before and each year they come out with very useful, inexpensive technologies.
This year they have a variety of USB Flash drives ranging from 2GB to 16GB. This is not breakthrough in design (we’ve all seen USB drives before) but the concept is revolutionary for an application. As a busy, mobile professional, you can couple one of these 16GB or 32GB drives (coming soon) with a very small, lightweight laptop (think Netbook computer) to have security and the ability to retain important information. You will be more portable and mobile while securing your data better (as long as you maintain physical security over your USB drive).
You can store all your data on the larger-sized USB drives in most cases. You can even store programs on these drives. When you can carry that drive with you it frees you from having to even bring your laptop in many cases. You could borrow a friend’s computer or use an Internet Cafe ©. This is a breakthrough, freeing idea.
Ridata also demonstrated their 128GB SSD (Solid State Drive) which can be configured as either an internal or external drive. The SSD drives, while costing more than traditional hard drives, can access data faster, be less prone to damage since there are no moving parts and they last longer (say good bye to disk crashes). Oh, and they use less power so they are more green.
When you can carry a small 128GB external drive with you attached to the computer of your choice, you open up a lot of possibilities for working from anywhere and getting the job done. One of these equipped with a small 2 lb. Netbook can give you all the computing power needed in most cases.
Now if we could only get a USB slot on our iPhones, Blackberries
(www.Ridata.com, Prices range from $9.95 to a few hundred, depending on device and size)
Charge Em All Or At Least Some
One of the areas where I see a lot of growth is in what I call consolidation chargers. As we acquire more devices like Blackberries, iPods, Bluetooth devices, we get tired of all the wires and chargers we have to drag on airplanes or check through. With the charges airlines are levying with increased weight, this because a serious on-going cost for today’s business traveler.
Enter the consolidation chargers. These devices use a philosophy of providing one charger and several tips to connect individual devices. The theory is you buy one charger and then purchase the unique tips work for your devices.
I plan to focus on other consolidation chargers in future columns, but this week, let’s look at the Callpod 6-in-1 charger. It retails for $39.95 and weighs about 35 grams. Very nice. I used it to successfully charge my iPod, my iPhone, my Bluetooth device and my Mophie charger (yes, charging my charger).
I find an interesting concept in this area. It is what I call the Tip O’Neil Philosophy. What is that? Well, Thomas P. Tip O’Neill was the Speaker of the House back in the 80’s who often ran into disagreement with President Reagan. Tip O’Neil made the famous observation that all politics is local. People really don’t care much about all that is happening with politics, except how it affects them personally.
Device chargers are the same. I really don’t care how many devices they are capable of charging — as long as they can charge mine. For instance, I’m glad to see that the Callpod charges my iPhone and iPod. Nice that it has a USB adapter so I can charge one or two other devices I have. However, it bothers me that I cant use it to charge my Sanyo Xacti or my Nikon CoolPix. Yes, those are cameras and camcorders that are not as popular so I understand it from Callpod’s point of view and can’t really fault them for not having my adapters. However, because I use them and need to charge them and they are MINE (can you hear the intensity in my voice?) I want them! (Said with all the childish temper-tantrum energy I can muster!)
The answer for you? Check with Callpod or any other manufacturer before buying the unit to make sure it will charge your particular devices. They include adapters for Blackberries, Treos, Windows Mobile devices and more. This is great. But, since I don’t have any of those, it really doesn’t matter to me (see how the Tip O’Neil philosophy applies in the real world!). Another tip: Aim for USB-charging devices. You’ll have more chance of your device working with whatever comes on the market.
Overall, I am very pleased with the Callpod. I look forward to using the Callpod as I travel. Hey even when home it will be good to have all that I need for charging some of my essential electronic devices in one small, easy-to-carry (and locate) charging bag. For $39.95 plus $9.95 for the additional adapters, it is a bargain! (www.callpod.com)
Copyright © 2009, Terry Brock and Achievement Systems, Inc. Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and professional speaker who helps businesses generate profitable results. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his website at www.terrybrock.com.