Judith: “Help, my computer isn’t working!”
Nicola: Let’s hope that’s not..!
Judith: I can’t afford a new one, immediately. I might be offline a few weeks. What can I do to be promoting my business in the meantime?
Nicola: Oh, I just can’t even begin to contemplate this scenario.
Judith: I know, it’s quite tricky, that’s why I think it would be quite good for us.
This particular client of mine … it happens quite a lot, actually had … the circumstances are not the same, but she’d come back from a holiday and I think she’d put her computer … I think rather she’d put it, anyway it had got bumped in transit. I don’t know whether it was in the hold or overhead or whatever, and it wasn’t working. I think it was quite elderly to begin with. I think … I don’t know about you but you run through a laptop about every 3 years or so, don’t you?
Judith: She’s offline. She’s not a particularly online person, it must be said but let’s throw ourselves into this challenge. We can’t communicate to the world through our computers, what can we be doing in our business while we scrape together the solution to buy a new one?
Nicola: I say, this would dominate my every waking moment. I would be moving heaven and earth to get to the shop to get … even if it was a Chrome Book!
Judith: OK, so here’re a few ideas – let me start you off. You’ve got an iPad, so you can keep in touch with your emails?
Judith: You can go to an internet café and log into your web mail if you haven’t got an iPad or an iPhone, whatever, a smart phone.
Nicola: Yeah, yeah you can.
Judith: Exactly. Go to somebody else’s house and do something from there. This lady had announced … you’ve done more of this of late, actually, so this wouldn’t be quite so dramatic for you as you think it would be. You’ve done a lot more local networking, haven’t you? This lady said she was going to join 4N, which you’ve probably heard of.
Nicola: Yes, yes.
Judith: She told me that the good thing about 4N, and she’s in your neck of the woods, was that she can go to any meeting that she likes in, nationally actually. Her catchment area is Sussex, and Kent, and Surrey, or somewhere. I think it would oblige me to think very creatively indeed, because actually my laptop is my window on the world in every sense. Is there anything you can think of now that you could do if your computer didn’t work for a couple of weeks?
Nicola: As I’m listening to you talk about that, it’s all very well to say that one can go and work elsewhere and one can go and sit in other people’s houses and things, but it completely ruins the rhythm of your day and the fact that you can’t just sit down at a computer. I have had occasions where this has happened. Largely not much when the computer’s broken, but when the broadband is. When you move into a new house it still takes 2 weeks to get broadband, which I find absolutely infuriating and astonishing to the point where I would now consider paying 2 weeks rent or mortgage, or whatever, to not have that pain – you know, 2 weeks extra, so that by the time you actually move into a residence there is broadband there.
Judith: I totally agree with you, and next time I move I’m actually going to do that. I’m not actually moving into my new house until everything works.
Nicola: There is a cheaper option, which I discovered when I moved here, which is to buy yourself a 3G dongle, a pay as you go dongle. I found that that worked really well, 5 of us could get onto it. When Irving moved to a house and something happened to my computer, I had to go work at his place, but he had no broadband and I just bought a dongle and it worked very well for all 3 of us – so there is that option. Coming back to the computer issue, yes, I think networking has got to be your best way because the one thing that having a computer on tap does is it keeps you working at your desk, whereas going out and ‘getting out of the building’, as they call it in software start-up land, ‘getting out of the building’ and talking to your customers is absolutely invaluable and should be done on every occasion.
Judith: I think what I’m realising now, us debating this, is truly the whole essence of an entrepreneur is finding the work around. If route A is not working, what’s route B, what’s route C? What else could I do? What else could I do? What else could I do? It’s kind of that opening up the thinking rather than closing down the thinking which is, ‘Oh the Wi-Fi is not working, what am I going to do?’
Nicola: I can’t imagine that any serious entrepreneur would stop thinking, ‘what else can I do while I’m waiting on that?’ Is it just that this person is quite an inexperienced entrepreneur, not-
Judith: No, no, no, she’s all right. She’s going to fall on networking. I was just thinking for the rest of us, you and I particularly who are very online-focused. I think it’s just quite an interesting idea because this lady, she wasn’t struggling with it because she’s not as online as you and I but, for instance, she can’t move on the projects that she’s working on with her web design because she can’t see what the web designer wants her to see and she can’t email her about it. Well, just forget about that. We’ll do that when the computer is working again. Meanwhile, what else can you be doing? I think we only had this conversation because I was available to her. You know what I mean? If she didn’t have a coach, I’m sure she’d work it out for herself but I think quite an interesting challenge is, ‘One of my major business tools is broken, it’s the end of the world.’ No, it’s not. What else could we do? I think that sort of thinking goes with the territory and is a muscle that needs to be developed.
Nicola: Absolutely. I’m looking at my smartphone which is my third backup. I’ve got my desktop, then I’ve got my iPad. I haven’t got a laptop and I want one. I have got a smartphone, which I do struggle to see because it isn’t one of the bigger, new iPhones, which I will get as soon as I possibly can. The other thing is that I’ve totally moved everything into the cloud. When I talk to some of my clients I get quite exasperated with them when they are using ridiculously out-dated email addresses that they can only access by logging on to in a browser, rather than having all their email addresses coming into Gmail. Then they talk about the spam. Well, I don’t get spam because I use Gmail and it gets rid of the spam for me. They’re just so attached to having everything on their laptops or desktops that they can’t move away from those, whereas everything of mine is in the cloud now, even though I’ve got a lovely Apple desktop that I’m looking at. All of which is insured of course, with, I think it’s ‘Protect My Bubble’ or something ‘Bubble’ insurance company. You just go on that and I think I pay something like £7 a month to protect all my gadgets. So if anything breaks down or something horrible happened to it, I can just go and get another one straight away.
To go to an internet café and access everything online, and I would also be able to go and get a new laptop and immediately be up and running again. I wouldn’t have to go through the pain of downloading and doing all that stuff, too.
Judith: Me too. Although I don’t do it the same way as you, Dan set me up like that a few years ago, because he knew I wanted the laptop lifestyle. I nearly dropped my laptop in the briny once on holiday, and he said, “Well, we need to set it up where, exactly that, you don’t have any hardware for it, it doesn’t matter, and then you go and get a new one and everything is instantly downloadable and you’re a go again.”
Nicola: Yeah, and it’s hard to break the habit. I was still downloading stuff to my desktop and then once a week uploading it to the cloud, but Sara showed me how to download it straight to the cloud and it never even touches my desktop. My desktop has got 4 very tiny folders on it and that is it, and a picture of an elephant.
Judith: Yeah, so you go through. It’s like a doorway. Your local computer becomes a doorway through to the virtual world.