My Apple Watch Review: 5 Reasons It Works

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It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Apple products. I’m usually an early adopter no matter what the product is. However with the Apple Watch, I actually held back longer than usual for a few reasons. For starters, I’ve never been a watch/jewelry guy. I’ve never liked the feel of wearing anything like that. I also had reservations about how the watch would look. Would it be too bulky? Uncomfortable? And would it really be worth spending that much on a watch? After a few months of letting the reviews filter in, and actually being able to try them out in a store, I ultimately decided that I did want one as the look and feel issues were addressed shortly after getting to try one on.

There are a plenty of Apple Watch reviews out there, most of them favorable, and plenty of ones saying it’s not worth it. It really comes down to personal preference. And honestly, this is a premium piece of equipment. If you are not the kind of person that has some expendable income for fancy gadgets and such, then this is clearly not a device for you. There’s also been way too many overblown expectations out of a 1st generation device. “Wahhh…the battery won’t last a week.” “Boooo….it won’t blend my smoothies.”  “Pffttt….I can’t teleport to work with it.” Get a grip. It’s amazing to me how out of touch some people can get when it comes to technology. This thing is a technical achievement plain and simple. It’s remarkable what something this small can do.

The Apple Watch is not without it’s short comings of course. The current Apps out there are not strong. There’s only a handful of ones that truly work well on the watch. I would imagine over time this will improve as developers have more time to get the user experience right on a smaller device. Also, the Apple watch is heavily dependent on your iPhone currently. Word on the street is that the next version or software updates may improve this, but for now, you must have an iPhone, and you can’t stray too far from it for the watch to optimally perform. Also, the learning curve is a bit steep to get to a point where you get the most out of the watch. Anyone with a lack of patience or some tech savviness may find themselves frustrated.

So with all that being said, here is my simple breakdown of 5 reasons why I think the Apple Watch works. While there are other reasons, these are definitely the ones that stand out the most.

  1. Convenience – I have an iPhone 6 Plus. It’s a big phone. I haven’t regretted it since getting it as I prefer the larger screen, but it is a bit wieldy when it comes to finding pocket space or having to dig it out sometimes. Having the Apple Watch drastically limits the need to pull my phone out when receiving any sort of message or notification. Most of the time these notifications are not urgent, so being able to quickly glance at them without having to pull my phone out is incredibly convenient and efficient. It may not seem like a big deal, but once you experience it, it’s awesome.
  2. Notifications – The Apple Watch does a terrific job of managing your notifications. Through the app on your phone, you can easily select which ones you’d like the watch to notify you of, and how it does. The Taptic engine is really quite amazing. It makes being notified less obtrusive then your phone constantly going off.
  3. Health – This has been a game changer for me. It is incredibly eye opening to actually see how active you are vs. how you think you are. I know there are plenty of fitness wearables on the market these days, and have been for quite some time. I’ve never been motivated to buy or wear a fitness device as it only really serves one purpose. Not being a watch guy, it took a device that could do a variety of things to motivate me to actually get into the habit of wearing a watch every day. So I’m fairly certain there are plenty of other devices that do what the Apple Watch can from a health standpoint, but just like everything else they do, it’s beautiful in it’s execution. Incredibly easy to use, and an absolute motivator for me. I find myself constantly being more aware of my need to stand, move, exercise to a degree that meets my specific health goals that I set up initially. It’s a fantastic entry point for those new to this sort of thing like myself, and I’m sure there are plenty of other additional apps that can do more for those more advanced. Seeing all of your health data add up over time on the phone app is also amazing to see and an additional motivator to keep it up on a daily basis.
  4. Apple Pay – While more and more stores start to take Apple Pay, we’re finally getting to the point where the wallet can become obsolete. I always thought the play would be fingerprint, but the Apple Watch makes it even easier. One button, flash the watch, done. Paying for something has never been easier. The only real downside is having to wait for this to scale so that most stores have this as an option.
  5. Siri Integration – For whatever reason, I’ve never really uses voice recognition with my phone as much as I should. The Apple Watch takes a very important step in making it even easier to use. You simply talk to it. By raising the watch up and asking for Siri, you’re in voice recognition mode. To me that makes all the difference in the world instead of having to trigger it with a button press. Obviously the small screen that comes as a watch makes it a no brainer to use your voice to navigate it, but the fact that it just requires your actual voice to use it makes it quicker, easier and more practical to me.

So what say you? For those that have or had the watch, what’s been your experience?

Being The Underdog Is More Fun

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The March Madness Tournament is one of my favorite sporting events of the year. Not because basketball is really my favorite, but because of all the sporting events in the world, it’s the one event where anything is possible. Upsets. Seeing lower seeds beat the odds and moving on is incredible to watch. Smaller schools not given much of a chance that fight and claw their way to victory over seemingly impossible odds. You just can’t beat it.

I am a hugely competitive person. Not in an unhealthy way by any means, but certainly more so than normal. In all my stops along my career, I’ve never really thought about the underdog analogy too much in business. But in my latest role at SportsArt, it’s come front and center, and I’m loving it very much so far. It can be easier and safer to go with the bigger companies when it comes to your career. Why not? Usually more pay, more benefits, but most importantly, the security that comes with being at the top. However for the first time in my career, I decided to buck that trend, and go with the underdog. And after a few months, it’s been a hell of a lot more fun.

Let me provide some backstory to my point of why that is. SportsArt is a fitness equipment manufacturer with it’s US headquartered in Woodinville, WA and main headquarters based in Taiwan.

SportsArt

Our little neck of the woods – SportsArt

While they’ve been around for 30+ years, their US operations has had it’s ups and downs and currently in the midst of a reawakening after some restructuring and more importantly the hiring of a well known and respected industry veteran, Scott Sechrest. In the past 18 months things have really started to heat up.

In the industry, Precor is a much more well known name and rightfully so. The rise and success of the elliptical machine is their doing and took them from obscurity into a household name. They are one of the big dogs and ironically, are also based out of Woodinville, WA. I drive by their massive building everyday to our much smaller facility right down the street.

The Evil Empire - Precor

The Evil Empire – Precor

A few months ago, both companies were looking for marketing help and I stumbled across both job descriptions. The Precor job listing was your typical business speak laden description. It felt like you’d be walking right into an existing machine of monotony and I shuddered at the thought. The SportsArt listing actually read like a real person wrote it and it wasn’t just regurgitated from a previous listing. So for the first time in my career, I focused my efforts on the smaller company. At the time I didn’t think as much about it as I do now, but I really wanted to build something, not maintain it. And I felt SportsArt was a place that could happen. A few months later and I can definitely say the right choice was made.

We’ve got a ton of work to do, but being in an environment where we’re allowed to take risks, make mistakes, learn from them, etc. is an incredible environment to work in. For years I’ve worked at companies with too many layers of management, too many levels of process, that got in their own way of making progress and innovating. I love the challenge of chasing the big dogs, and I know that as we grow and I get to be a part of that, the incredible feeling of accomplishment and achievement will be unmatched.

And let’s be honest…chasing is more fun then being chased don’t you think?

Living Life Against The Grain

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I’m not sure if the term really applies to this blog post, but I’m going to go with it anyway. One of the things I’ve really strived for later in life is figuring out ways to better use my time. Time is really our biggest luxury. Money’s great and all, but time is what it’s all about. Time with people you love, time to do the things you enjoy, just having extra time in general.

One of the biggest satisfactions I have right now is when I drive to work. For the first 18 years or so of my professional life, I easily averaged at least a 45-60 minute commute to and from work. That’s roughly 2 hours a day just traveling to my job. I’ve been fortunate enough to find an opportunity where my commute is now 20 minutes each way because I’m going in the opposite direction of traffic. I peer over to the other side of the freeway and see a parking lot and I absolutely revel in happiness that I am not stuck in that anymore. I literally have an extra day of the week to work with. I took less money for sure, but the added time is worth it.

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8 Life Lessons I Learned After 40

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For the first few years of my blog I wrote exclusively about digital marketing, social media and technology. As I got older, and my career shifted into more of a managerial/operational mode, I didn’t feel as motivated to write about those things anymore and started to want to write more about whatever inspired me. It was the only way I could find the motivation to continue writing. As I close in on the first year of my 40s, I’ve thought a lot about what I’ve learned in my life. For whatever reason, when you turn 40, you all of sudden become “wise” and “introspective”. Perhaps it’s the growing feeling of mortality, but regardless, I wanted to write a blog post about the things I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older. I asked myself, what top things do I wish I could somehow have taught my younger self. And these 8 nuggets are the result of that. Enjoy and use at your own risk.

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5 Incredible Small Business Marketing Resources You Haven’t Heard Of

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Throughout my professional career, I’ve always had a love for small business. Whether it was creating them myself, or helping others, small business is the backbone of our economy, and I always love finding tools and resources that can help small businesses navigate their marketing needs. It can be incredibly tough to find the time and budget to effectively market your small business, so anytime I find something I think can help, I feel compelled to shout it from the rooftops!  Below are 5 of my favorite tools these days, many of which I use on a daily basis.

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