I think I have finally figured out the competition to the iPad 2. It’s the MacBook Air! No, seriously, the Air.
I have been able to use a 13 inch Apple MacBook Air at work for the last couple of weeks and I find I rarely pick up my Samsung Galaxy Tab at work now. The Galaxy Tab is still great while I am sitting waiting on for my daughter or for surfing while watching TV (normally the iPad2 is being used by someone too, I rarely get to touch it). But I haven’t use the Galaxy Tab for data capture or creation since I started using the Air. The Galaxy Tab, much like the Apple iPad 2, is great for consuming content, but honestly still has some serious flaws in creating content. The Air doesn’t have those limitations. I have a full screen and a full size keyboard. It’s fast and powerful with a huge hard drive and 4GB of memory. All the applications that run on my MacBook Pro seem to run just fine on the Air. So I gave up a DVD/CD slot, which, honestly, I rare use anymore anyway. It’s like when we lost the 3.5 inch floppy drive, who misses that anymore? Even the price points aren’t that too far off between the two devices. And I still have iTunes, Kindle, Evernote and most of the apps I use on my Galaxy Tab or iPad2. I didn’t loose anything. The killer device against the iPad 2 is the MacBook Air!
Work has settled on the 13 inch Air as the best compromise of power vs. form. And I have to say the screen is great (1440 x 900) and I love how long the battery lasts. And it’s fast, wake from sleep is instant and boot time is less than 15 seconds. It is so thin (0.11 to 0.68 inch thick, it tapers – thin in front, thicker in the back) and weights in at only 2.9 pounds. But, I think, if I were to buy an Air for my own personal use, I’d go for the smaller 11 inch. I know the battery doesn’t last as long and the screen would be smaller, but the 11 inch form factor would make it a direct competitor to the iPad2 for me. And a much more capable competitor!
I am still interested in seeing what “iPad killers” finally roll out this year. Samsung always does a good job with their consumer devices and LG should come out strong. The RIM Playbook will be a non-starter, I think everyone knows it’s dead on arrival. Dell is boring, even for business users. The HTC Flyer seems to be over priced and very similar to the old (Oct 2010) Samsung Galaxy Tab. The Xoom could be competitive, if they had flash and 4G already and lowered the price $100 to $200. A few other players (Hello HP / Palm!) are talking about cool stuff, but I haven’t seen anything real that I can touch yet. So, right now, the only competition Apple has is… Apple! Check out the MacBook Air, if you produce content, or are a creator (Developer), then it could turn out to be a better solution for you than the iPad 2.
And just because you own a computer and set up your wireless network at home, it doesn’t make you an IT professional, much less a CIO.
Do you know how to do it right? And why it’s “right?”
Do you know the dependencies and the trade offs? The gotchas?
Have you spent the time to get the education and put in the hands-on the job time required? Have you put the time in to become an expert and are you ready to put your name (or more) on the line? We all have opinions, depending on the subject at hand, some of those opinions mean more than others.
– why do you want to join this team? this company? (hint: a paycheck is not a good answer)
– what do you bring to our team that we don’t already have?
– tell me about the most difficult project you had to work on and how you prevailed? Or failed and how you would approach it different next time. Either is fine.
– tell me about a time you worked on a project that failed. What did you do? What would you do differently?
– tell me about the best project you worked on. What made it so great?
– tell me about a time you had to work with a difficult person. What did you do?
– what would you do if a client keeps asking for more functionality on a project that is already in development?
– how would you estimate the height of a building if you didn’t know the height of the buildings near it?
– why are manhole covers round?
I’d love to hear any great interview questions you use. Please share them with me.
Employees are normally one of the largest expenses for most businesses. And just the hiring and training of new employees are a huge expense, both monetary and time invested. So, my question is, why don’t we invest more on recruiting and interviewing?
Too often job descriptions are done just because HR forces the manager to write it. Very little real thought is put into the skills and experience required to succeed at the job. Rarely is there training for managers on how to write a good job description. I’ve heard HR complain about how poor the job descriptions are that they have to work from, but then I don’t see them coaching the managers on how to improve them.
What is the saying? Garbage in, garbage out…
Interviewing is another area more investment could be made. How many interviews turn into popularity tests? The interview ends up coming down to do they seem like a nice person? But this isn’t a first date. The question should be “do they have the skills and experience to do the job” (ok, and would they fit on the team)? If there is more than one candidate can you, in a unbiased way, truly compare their skills, especially if the interviews were done over a period of time? If you have different people talk to the different candidates could you compare the assessments? Could you defend the hiring if you were sued?
If you need justification, just look at how painful is it if you end up hiring the wrong person. Both for you and that poor person! And it hurts the business – if nothing else, the delay in building a high performing team. Not only does a bad hire (bad may be a strong word – how about a wrong hire) effect the employee but the rest of the team also.
So how much should we invest into the hiring process? Are you investing enough?
I wrote my last post about project management. How you should know what your targets (due dates and milestones) are before you start firing (start development). But the same is true in business too.
How often are decisions made focused on the now, the immediate need? It may fix what is broken, or at least the visible symptoms, but does the solution fit into the larger picture? Will it cause other issues later?
Many times, in this tight economy, this is driven by a perceived lack of resources, but as I have posted before (in my review of Rework) when resources are scarce is the time when you need to be more creative. Not enough money to keep up your MS Exchange infrastructure? Dump it and move to Google Apps email (Enterprise level email). Not enough money to expand you SAN for network drives for your users? External hard drives are cheap now. Not enough money for your DR plan for your production site? Move test and staging to a different location and make that your hot swap (just make sure you built the infrastructure properly).
Sometimes a disjointed strategy, or one that not all the leaders have bought into, can also cause decisions to be made that are fine for the silo’ed department, but maybe isn’t the best decision for the entire company. I have to believe that those VPs really do think they are making the best decision for the company. I hope it isn’t just ego getting in the way.
And, it could just be the company has grown so big, or is spread out in multiple locations that it becomes real difficult to make the “right” decision that works for the entire company. And finally, I will admit in certain cases there isn’t one “right” decision. Sometimes you have to pick the lesser of two not super solutions and make it work.
But in general, when making large IT purchases or fixing broken business processes it is so much better for the company long term to take the time to make the right decision now. It isn’t easy to do the leg work and do the research. It isn’t easy to get agreement across departments. It isn’t easy to sacrifice your political capital. But it is so much better than creating new problems for yourself because you didn’t do the work. And it is so much better than having to un-do it later and then put in the right (better) solution.