The Problem With Politics in 2016

When you turn on the TV, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum, it’s easy to find examples of people behaving badly. I have been mystified for a long time about the dramatic change in the tone, especially on the national level, where the emphasis seems to be on obstructionism rather than working towards a solution together.  People are always willing to give you a superficial reason, based on race, religion or other convenient labelling factors. I think the problem is a bit deeper than that, and it’s something I’m learning now that I’ve finally become an elected official myself, albeit at a local level.

We have managed to conflate respect for the office someone holds and respect for them personally, their ideas and positions. 

This would be okay in any other day and age. We have long agreed that if we elect someone to high office, we have to give deference to their opinions and viewpoints, because, after all, a majority of our fellow citizens put their faith in them and pulled the lever on election day. Even if we thought they were a bit crazy, we assumed they had enough other people around them acting as advisors and quashing the crazy before it went public.

The Great Evening of the Playing Field

Now we have the internet, where everyone has a voice.  Everyone is potentially a great novelist or the unibomber- and we’re never quite sure how to evaluate the veracity of what we see and read. But society has told us for years that if it’s written down, and it’s not labelled fiction, it’s truth, or as Steven Colbert one said, it has “truthiness” to it.

Entrepreneurs and successful businessmen used to have to work a lifetime to build something. Now we laud the 20 something entrepreneur who has instant success instead, which devalues all the steps that the “old-fashioned” business person went to in order to build their business, brick by brick. It doesn’t seem to matter, at least in the media, that there are as many failures and successes in both these realms- it’s just too much fun to laud the successful and make it all seem easy.

I’ve had ongoing arguments for years with friends who have said things along the lines of “traditional education is no longer relevant, my experience is all that matters” only for some of them to run into a wall later on when a job they want requires a degree, or advanced degree.

Transfer this to the political season this year, and we see the “establishment” candidates who believe in the traditional way of working your way up to the top in politics, versus Mr. Trump, who worked his way up in the business world, and through an ivy-league education as well. Trump seems to upend the “one path to power” rule in politics, and the Establishment isn’t quite sure how to react or respond.

My point here is that people always use certain credentials as proxies for how smart or talented you are, and whether you should be trusted with real power.

What qualifies as credentials and experience worthy of respect and qualification for the job at hand has changed dramatically.

What People Respect:

  1. Hard work and success in business or academia or both.
  2. Good communication skills and likability.
  3. The ability to be organized, set a goal and meet it, in any aspect of life.
  4. Street smarts AND Book smarts.
  5. Experience, as long as you can talk about it and connect it to the present situation at hand, quickly and cogently.
  6. Authenticity. Speaking from the heart and telling people the truth as you see it, even if you are hyperbolic in your assessments, plays better than scripted and tested.
  7. Honesty.
  8. Truth.
  9. Vulnerability mixed with Strength of convictions.
  10. Taking one for the team. We like people who take risks and are willing to give things a try we never would, and we both root for them and console them afterwards. We may not always love the loser, but we respect that they had more guts to give it a go than we did.

What People Don’t Respect:

  1. Acting like a know it all. You can be smart, but not smug.
  2. No one wants a lecture- it brings up too many childhood memories. We know Mom was right, but it doesn’t mean we ever really want to admit it out loud.
  3. Meanness. You can be hard on those who seem like slackers, but don’t pick on the vulnerable who never had a chance. Kids and puppies always get a pass. Anyone over 15 making a mistake that looks like meanness or bullying can become a pariah.
  4. Not Working, however that is defined. It’s the reason stay at home moms and dads have such a hard time when they go back to the workplace. It’s not that we don’t know how hard a job being a parent is- I know four year olds that could out-negotiate people in the State Department- but somehow, the lack of money and doing something that involves investing in the future- in the lives of our kids and our communities, doesn’t have that immediate tangible outcome the wider world seems to value more.
  5. Volunteer work. We give lip-service to respecting volunteer work, and we know how vital it is. But during a debate, my opponent sneered at my community service in a way that truly shocked me, and drove this point home- that not everyone thinks giving back to the community is a proxy for moral and ethical commitment, but simply as a waste of your time.  That was eye opening. Volunteerism is largely undervalued by our politics except when it looks like a photo op.  This annoys me to no end.

How This Plays Out

I’ve heard people high up in party politics not to tell people if you have graduated from an Ivy League college. In most of life, this fact acts as a proxy for people assuming you are smart, or smart enough. It says you were bright and hard working in high school, and stuck with the whole program long enough to earn a degree, and everything that went into that process. However, on TV each morning, I see commercials saying a degree is a degree. That may or may not be true, but I know a lot of alumni associations and brand name schools that will be in serious trouble if their brand for excellence is equivalent with any online school out there. Somehow, we do still buy in that Harvard, Stanford, Yale and Wharton mean something. At least for now.

Likewise, we’ve had a popular culture that gives massive amounts of attention to people who are largely famous for being famous or from famous families- The Kardashians and Paris Hilton come to mind.We’re removing the filters and proxies we’ve traditionally used to qualify someone for a position or job in public life, and instead use mere fame as a metric.  Which brings us back to the rise of Mr. Trump, someone with traditional qualification from education and the business world, jumping in and upsetting Establishment politics.

He is the poster child for someone exploiting our frustrations with the grownups we thought we put in charge- the traditional establishment folks who played things by the traditional pathway to public office, with the possible exception of Fred Gandy, a.k.a. Gopher from the Love Boat and Al Franken.

When I see Mitch McConnell giving the President a hard time and refusing to even talk to him, I see that as not only being disrespectful to Mr. Obama, but to the Office of President. You don’t have to like Barry Obama, Mr. McConnell, but you do have to listen and respect President Obama, just like he needs to respect Senator McConnell. Both of you were elected and entrusted by millions of people with forging a future and making decisions on our behalf, and you need to both act like adults, regardless of what the other one has said about your mother. But as long as our officials are conflating the personal with the office they hold, they end up denigrating the respect the rest of us have traditionally given to high office.

Now, as a result, we’re willing to listen to just about anyone. Common sense versus rhetoric is in demand, and your brand of political tantrum has left the Country distrustful of the system as a whole, no matter who is holding office.  And we wonder why the traditional political parties are in chaos? It’s hard to remain respectful of adults who are acting like children, and I have said, and heard friends say, what they need are a bunch of moms to go down there, ground these guys and put them in time out until they decide they can play nicely with others.

The electorate looks like they have decided to step up and put the warring toddlers in time out. It’s like a Mom who is frustrated after hours of arguing and cajoling her kids saying “Well, then, I guess we’ll just have to wait until your father gets home.  Then you’ll see what happens.” Voters are desperately looking for the adult in the room, and we can’t see to find one.  Then why should we be at all surprised when they support someone like Mr. Trump who looks like that “Take a Stand” dad?

I don’t think he’s the right guy, but I do understand why lots of people think so, and it’s largely because we no longer respect the traditional rules that have shaped our society. Too many people who have followed the rules and end up downsized in their late 50’s without  a lot of prospects are angry and distrustful. It’s an angry ocean of disaffected people, looking for a life ring, and there aren’t a lot of people offering a return to that sense of security we all really want. The difference is some folks think we have to find a new normal, and others still think we can just “fix it” and return to the early 90’s, if not way earlier, to a time when things seemed to be pretty awesome, even if there was an ugly underbelly there as well. (There is no more clear example of this than the recent Bill Cosby scandal. We want the Cosby show values and mystique, without out the philandering on the side)

The difference between the candidates and political parties is that some folks think we have to find a new normal, and others still think we can just “fix it”, Let’s just return to the early 90’s, if not way earlier, to a time when things seemed to be pretty awesome, even if there was an ugly underbelly there as well. (There is no more clear example of this than the recent Bill Cosby scandal. We want the Cosby show values and mystique, without out the philandering on the side) On the other hand, people are struggling with the fact that things are different, and want leadership to take us into a new future, but we still want more security and less disruption.

It’s the allure of Nostalgia versus people willing to take the lead in cutting the brush into a new, but uncertain future. It’s scary, and everyone is looking for someone they can have faith in, someone they feel they can trust.

It’s a tough choice, but we’re going to have to make one in November.


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Thank You

I’ve spent the past 18 months of my life running for office.  In what now seems like backwards fashion, I started by running for the PA Statehouse with only one week’s notice before the filing deadline in March, 2014, to winning a race for Kennett Township Supervisor this week.   It’s been like getting a graduate school education in politics, campaign finance, strategy, big data, and more.

Like any big project, it takes a village of people to get you through to the end.  Everyone who helped, who was there to help me knock doors, make phone calls, help raise money, make me laugh, help with projects large and small- it all helped bring us to the result on Tuesday night, whether it was in the previous campaign or this one.  I will be thanking so many people personally, but I wanted to make sure I put out a big thank you to everyone who helped – who listened to my ideas, who gave me some of their time- right away.

It’s a strange thing to make a transition from a person who volunteers to help others to ask other folks to volunteer to help you with something like an election- something that’s simultaneously a community project and a personal one.  It’s humbling and touching.  Losing last year wasn’t fun, but I also felt like I disappointed everyone who stood behind me and helped in what was an uphill battle.  This year, when folks said things like “The only thanks I need is for you to win!” I would feel nervous about disappointing them again, while also being inspired to work as hard as possible to try to make it so.  I’m glad it worked out this time, and thank you so very much for putting your faith and energy in me.  It’s a win I hope we all can share together.

I also want to thank my opponent, Ted Moxon, for all the work he and his team put in.  It’s not easy to work hard and feel like you end up without the reward at the end.  I hope we can forge a working relationship for the betterment of the Township as a whole.  I know we both have the best interests for the Township at heart.

For all of my digital friends, near and far, hopefully, this is a beginning.  We use communication tools all the time, and now, we can see what we can do to help make government more responsive and more by the people and for the people than ever before.

Douglas Adams succinctly summed up attitudes toward new technologies when he wrote:

There’s a set of rules that anything that was in the world when you were born is normal and natural. Anything invented between when you were 15 and 35 is new and revolutionary and exciting, and you’ll probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re 35 is against the natural order of things.

He also stated in his radio series, “The Internet, the Last 20th Century Battleground” that:

[W]e’ve put into place the many to many form of communication, which means the world is starting to react back to us at last.  What happens on the internet is what happens in real life, with the same elements of good and bad.  But what about the shear speed of change?  What happens to our stable life when we let everybody loose with more and more powerful computers? …

[F]eedback loops are like thermostats in a room.  If the room gets a little to cold, the heat comes on.  If it gets too hot, the heat goes off.  … Our society is very stable and very resistant to change. And when we do change a law, we spend years, typically, debating what the consequences of it will be, and fine tuning it before we pass it. As soon as it is passed, of course, another law also comes into play, which is the Law of Unitended Consequences.  Our law never works the way we think it will, but it will be at least two parliments before it gets looked at again.  The feedback loop is so long and slow, its rather like a thermostat that turns the heat on or off six months after its noticed a change in temperature.  No wonder we live a continual state of frustration and annoyance with the state of things.

Now imagine what will happen as more and more of the little transactions of our lives- our decisions, our business transactions, our purchases, our arguments- get conducted in close and immediate contact with each other over the medium of the internet.  My belief, perhaps I should say, my hope, is that the speed of response will reitnroduce us to that from which our political systems have separated us from for so long.  ie. the consequences of our own actions. Feedback loops will be the foundation of an entirely new form of electronic democracy.”

I’m hoping that we can begin to use digital tools to help people access information in useful forms, 24 x 7, and feel more engaged with government, while also seeing more direct and tangible benefit.  While some functions of Government are meant to be slow and deliberate to prevent rash decisions, others can, and should, be sped up or have enhanced access.  We need to make sure that residents not only have access to information, but can do so in a way where it’s digestible and useful, not always buried in bureaucracy.  That may be as simple as taking a small step like adding what podcasters call “show notes” with time stamps to videos of supervisor’s meetings, so if you miss a meeting, you can catch up on issues of importance to you quickly and easily.

The new tools of communication can seem like a big shift, and it makes people nervous. But if the outcome is additional involvement, engagement, and satisfaction with the decision-making process,  we’ll be moving forward.  Even if the outcome is not always your own personal choice, we’ll be striking a blow for representative democracy, and helping people see a tangible benefit from their tax dollars more regularly.

I’m excited to get to work.  I’m excited to get more people involved, and we’ll need the help of the community to get things done.  We are so very lucky to have so many residents that do care, and are just waiting for a project or invitation to come along where they can put their skills to work.  It’s going to be our job to help make that happen.

Thank you again, and let’s get to work 🙂

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Who Gets to Drive?

I should start this post about by saying we are big “Game of Thrones” fans in our house.  My son and husband have read the books, and w we all watch the show together.  This morning, on Facebook, a friend posted:

GOT postI found this intriguing.  First of all, as someone who has written a book, I know while I consider my audience, I am writing the book as much as a way to get my ideas and views out there, as I am catering to a market of some sort.  As a result, my “art” is created for me, and then for my potential audience.  I have also learned, over time, that the audience is often amorphous and shifting- I may be shooting to appeal to one person, but another person I never expected might find the book helpful or intriguing.  As a result, the idea that a series as long as Game Of Thrones, in book or TV form, would be constructed to please an audience seems absurd.

That being said, I also know there is a distinct difference between the type of fiction I grew up with, and the type my kids read.  I grew up in the late 70’s and 80’s, so I read the trite teen novels of Judy Blume, everything written by Kurt Vonnegut, and then a variety of science fiction including Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Heinlein books like Stranger in a Strange Land. Then there were the sundry mystery series, but overall, things were largely upbeat, and not nearly as dark as the books my kids read.

My kids, by contrast, have grown up with Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and the Divergent series, just to name a few.  All of these books are far more dystopian than even Lord of the Flies. While I have a theory that the post-9-11 world is somewhat to blame for this bleak outlook, these books have also, in the world of Fan Fiction and the Internet, spawned a universe beyond the original medium.  A universe of adjunct writing, things to buy, purchase, and market, on levels ranging from small to theme park in size, have grown up to make these works of fiction real for people.  We are more intertwined with the work than ever before- somehow, visiting the Jane Austen museum is not quite the same thing as having Game of Thrones Monopoly or Dragon eggs on your shelf at home.

Like Game of Thrones, many of these books have killed beloved main characters.  It’s part of the plot, and usually is a foil to make the other characters mature, develop, or otherwise move on. Certainly, when Dumbledore dies in Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, we were all shocked.  People couldn’t believe it.  But it marked a way for Harry to separate and mature into his own man.  There was fan outrage, but we all still went on to read the remaining books and saw the movies, because we loved being immersed in JK Rowling’s vision of the wizarding world, good and bad alike.

Similarly, in Game of Thrones, I am always aghast when characters die, and often in the unpleasant way it happens as well.  But without this plot device, certain characters would get stuck and could not move on; certain story lines might stagnate.  Only George RR Martin and the writers on the TV show know where the characters are going.  We have willingly opted into their world and allow them to take us on a journey, for good and for bad.  It’s part of the thrill ride, and why we watch.

I would be severely disappointed if artists, novelists and musicians decided only to give us what we want as an audience.  If they aren’t creating something new, and taking us along with them on a creative journey, what’s the point?  In fact, I often worry that when a series becomes popular, the financial incentives to market the thing to death or simply just give people what they want- undermining the whole reason the series was interesting and intriguing in the first place. So while I understand the comment of “contempt for fans”- I believe that the author, or writers, need to stay true to their vision of the world, and not to what the people want.

Steve Jobs used to say that Apple was creating what they wanted, and they hoped everyone else liked it.  Frequently, the new phone, or tablet was dismissed as silly and pointless, but eventually, enough people agreed with the vision of this new thing they had never seen before, to adopt it and make it part of their lives.  If the devices had been a product of what people wanted, of focus groups and endless market research, we would have ended up with something much different.

Because the truth in all of this is that we don’t really know what we want.  We do, however, want to be taken on a journey, to be told stories, and to find our way into a new world, with all the good and the bad that is there.

As much as we love making things interactive, I’m still willing to let artists of all stripes drive, and I hope they do so, and strive to find their audience, without bending to the will of the audience.  While there may be room to make money in the short run, if you sell out to the will of the fans, you will surely lose what made the work unique and intriguing in the first place.  That’s something we all have to remember in everything we do- are we doing it to express ourselves, or merely please others?  If we do bend to the pressure to please and perhaps benefit financially, do we lose ourselves in the process

That’s something we all have to remember in everything we do- are we doing it to express ourselves, or merely please others?  If we do bend to the pressure to please and perhaps benefit financially, do we lose ourselves in the process?

Let the artists, writers, song makers and creators drive.  They know where they are going, and we can enjoy being along for the ride.  If I want to drive, I can go create my own art.  I don’t need them to perform on command.

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Apple Watch- One Month Update

I waited a LONG time for the Apple Watch.  It finally came almost a month ago, and it’s been attached to my wrist all day. every day. since that time.  What do I think about it after having more experience with it?

1. Upgrades- what band is best?  I bought the watch with the Milanese loop on the stainless steel watch.  I bought a white sport band and when it arrived, I switched out the loop for the sports band.  While I love the look of the Milanese loop and will wear it when I’m out for business, for day to day and for workouts, the comfort of the sports band cannot be beat.  It’s by far and away the best watch band I’ve ever owned.

I love the infinite adjustment of the loop band, but when I was playing squash with my husband, I found it would occasionally feel like it was digging into my wrist, and I would constantly be fussing with it.  I still adjust the sports band every once in a while, but far less frequently during the day.  (Your wrist does change size slightly during the day- this should be expected.)

2. The stainless steel watch felt heavy at first, but I no longer notice.  I’m glad I got the stainless watch from a fashion point of view, but it’s about twice the weight of the sports version- I think I could have been perfectly happy with the basic version, to be honest, and would appreciate the cut in weight, at least initially.  Again, since I’m running for office and need to look like a “Grownup” often, I’m happy, but between the cut in price and weight, the regular watch is just great.

3. It’s a conversation starter.  Since I am using Apple Pay on the watch, I have a passcode, and it locks when you take it off, but this then requires you to unlock it when showing it around to friends. (Slightly annoying, but a great safety feature.)  People do notice it, and ask questions.  The most frequent questions are about functionality and why.  And that leads me to:

4. Some apps are incredibly useful.  I love the health and fitness apps, including workout, with the reminders to stand, heart rate monitor, progress updates and awards.  These apps also sync with the health app on my iPhone, where I can see weekly and monthly trends.  I’ll update you next month with whether or not it has helped me lose any weight 🙂

One of my new favorite apps is Hours.  I can start and stop timers in an instant from my wrist, which is great when I’m tracking time on projects for work.  I can leave my phone in my purse, or plugged in, and still access all the info I need while working from the watch this way.  Also, Hours lets me look at my hours and graph them and print out reports, making sure I stay accountable to my boss for time spent.  This is incredibly handy, and works much better for me than when I depended on remembering to write down my start time, or opening up some app on my desktop.  It will also ask if I forgot to start a timer, which has also proved useful.

I’ve used Apple Pay a few times now, and it’s just a fantastic way to pay for things, especially for someone famous for digging through their purse for their wallet.  I’m looking forward to giving the travel apps a run through with upcoming trips, ranging from uploading boarding passes to Passport, using the Maps app to find my way around on public transportation as well as walking, and using Trip Advisor for restaurant recommendations while out of town.

The weather app, Dark Sky, lets me know of upcoming rainstorms, particularly helpful if your house is located in an area where you tend to lose power.  This taps me on the wrist, without requiring me to look at my phone or dig it out of my purse.

I also find I’m using Swarm to check in places more frequently, when it’s just a tap on my wrist.

Clear is a great to do list app, which is beautiful on the iPhone, and equally useful on the watch in keeping me on track.  Definitely a winner.

I did have to adjust my social media settings and reminders to make sure I was only getting important messages.  I really appreciate being able to send quick responses to texts, such as “I’m on my way” from my wrist at a stop light, in the store, or while in a meeting- rather than typing a whole response- it feels safer and more polite, especially if you are in a public setting.

I know more apps are on their way, and I’m sure many of them will be great.  But the apps that work best now are lightweight versions of iPhone apps that strip the functions down to essentials, and essentially allow the watch to be that “quick start” or remote button.

5. Safety features: I think the Watch will be particularly handy while traveling.  I tend to carry a lot of junk in my purse, and I hate fumbling for stuff – my wallet, phone, etc. while in public or at a register.  I feel a little vulnerable as well as disorganized.  By allowing the primary wallet  and phone functions to take place in the watch- payment, directions, texts, simple phone call response- I never have to have that feeling again.  If it gets to the point where you could have your driver’s license and public transport card on the phone as well, I might be able to leave my purse at home completely.  That would be a blessing.

A remote control for your phone sounds silly, I know.  But it’s amazing, especially for women who tend not to carry a phone in pockets as much as guys do (Heck, much of our clothing comes without pockets) how much you can do simply on your wrist.  And for anyone who has ever said “Where did I put down my phone?” the ability to ping the phone from the watch without using Find My Phone on another device is helpful as well.

I’m still happy with the watch and eager to find new ways to further expand its use, but right now, it’s a big win for me.


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Apple Watch update, Day Six

I’ve been wearing the Apple Watch all day for six days now.  I have to say that the advanced reviews I read that said it took a few days to get used to were true. I do feel like we’re still in the early days of courtship, as we get to know each other better.  There are pros, cons, and things that need to be tweaked over time to get the watch to work best for you. I’m not particularly surprised, since this happens with any device, including phones, as you learn new features and ways to get things done efficiently.

Word to the Wise. Watch the Videos.  I’m serious.

I’m usually not one to sit through “intro to your new gadget” videos, so I skipped them at first with the watch.  This is a bit of a mistake, since the hints they give you will really make learning how to use the watch a LOT easier. Save yourself some frustration, and watch the videos.

One of the first things to know is that most of the adjustments to the watch apps actually takes place on the iPhone watch app, including adjustment of where the app icons appear, and which ones are shown.  Watch versions of apps I already had on my iPhone were automatically downloaded, but many of them I don’t need to see on a daily basis.  For example, several travel apps, including a map of the London Tube system and currency exchange apps, I don’t use every day, so those can be safely “not shown” on the watch. I can always add them in right before a trip.

High Points:

Some apps, designed especially for the watch, are wonderful.

  •  For example, I have to keep time on several projects I work on, so the watch/phone app Hours, is perfect.  I can set up a few categories, and then as I start to work, just tap the timer, and then tap it again as I finish working on that particular project.  It is so much easier than opening and closing other time keeping programs.
  • The Activity app is doing a great job reminding me to stand and move around more with a gentle nudge, and I love that.  When we moved mulch yesterday, it recorded all of that activity, and steps exercising on the treadmill- it is like the Nike Fuelband with more two-way communication.
  • I downloaded the Water Balance app, and that’s helping me keep track of water vs. other beverages and is encouraging me to drink more water, so that’s a plus as well.
  • I haven’t had a great opportunity to use Apple Pay yet, but I am excited to try.
  • Messages has been a useful way to quickly dictate a text or send a quick reply without digging out the phone.  The voice recognition seems a bit better than on the phone alone.
  • I’ve enjoyed messing around with the different watch faces, but I have to say, I love the flower face the best.  I also have another face customized for more business purposes.
  • Only one of my friends currently has a watch, that I know of.  Sending sketches/nudges, taps from here to Boston is fun.  However, I think you could find this “silly” feature very useful in meetings, where you want to let your coworker know something without being obvious about it. Think drawing a circle with a slash like a no smoking sign to let them know an idea is a no go…I can see this being useful when there are several folks with watches around the office.
  • The maps app is really useful, but the ways to interact with it through hard pushes, etc. aren’t always intuitively obvious.  This is one of those examples where watching the video is incredibly helpful.
  • The To Do list app called Clear works well on the watch and is one of my favorites as well.

The ability to quickly ping the phone when it’s somewhere in my purse, making it easier to find is a nice, simple touch I appreciate.

Because the watch keeps track of events and sets those little physical reminders before meetings, it’s causing me to be better about keeping all of my calendar dates written down, rather than counting on my memory alone to remind me.  It’s also super easy to add things to the calendar with Siri on the fly.

Glances are little information screens you can see without launching the whole app.  You can add and re-prioritize the order of Glances on the iPhone watch app, and it will be reflected on the watch itself.  I’m still moving things around to find the perfect set of glances for daily use, and I’ll get there soon.

Low Points:

  • Mail- don’t think you are going to get anything useful out of having email notifications on your wrist.  You will get a snapshot of your email, but other than letting you know whether something important has been sent, any real interaction is still going to need the phone itself.
  • Do not think of web browsing on the watch- that’s not what it’s there for.  You can get Siri to fetch sports scores for you, or even look for a restaurant and provide directions, but web browsing is for your phone or tablet.
  • You will need to adjust your social media notifications so your wrist isn’t buzzing all the time.  I had a bunch of notifications I just didn’t take the time to adjust on the phone because it wasn’t important, and they were easy to ignore.  On the wrist, harder to ignore, but on the plus side, I am saving battery life on both the phone and watch now by getting rid of all those useless pings.
  • I love the look of the milanese loop band, but I think I’m going to appreciate the sports band for most day to day use.  Also I think the lighter, aluminum model, while less stylish, is actually a great choice- the stainless steel version seems a bit heavy sometimes.
  • You can quickly answer phone calls on your wrist, but the sound is horrible.  It’s good for quick triage of incoming calls but you’ll want to use your phone for longer conversations.

Overall impressions:

I do like the watch, and it’s clear we’re forming a long term relationship. I’m not all the way to love, because we’re still getting to know one another.  But I find that I’m not grasping for my phone all the time because I’m getting updates on the watch for important reminders and nudges, and I feel like I am already a little more active and more productive as well from this new “wrist coach”.  I’m more likely to check my activity level, or make sure I calendar everything, because it’s just easier, with less steps, with the watch than the three or four screens on the phone to do the same task.

I’ll keep you updated, but so far- much more useful than Google Glass, less socially isolating, and has lots of potential, especially with travel.

What questions do you have about the Apple Watch? What do you think?

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