An iPad is a tool. The content you create consume or present with it can be a solution. Last week, I was convinced I needed an iPad to facilitate small group and one-on-one presentations as we took our ColorMetrix Color Tour 2012 on the road. The picture accompanying this posts proves I was able to solve the problem without any new technology. I’m not suggesting my old school solution is better than an iPad, but I can tell you it’s been working just fine (and I don’t need to remember to charge it).
When the tool can be a solution
When considering a tool as a solution, rule number one only buy what you can comfortably afford. Then decide what the return on buying your new technology tool is going to be. Right off the bat, the iPad is smaller and lighter weight than my presentation notebook. In addition to that, it can hold far more slides and samples than my notebook. Finally, the iPad can be used for other tasks I need to address when I am mobile, such as responding to email and creating content.
I can, however, complete all those tasks with other devices and supplies I already own. The $750 (once you add tax and an AppleCare package) cost associated with owning an iPad becomes more difficult to justify when there is really nothing you can’t do with other tools you already own. What about convenience?
If you can comfortably afford the tool, than justifications such as “I can travel with less in my bag making my life easier” begin to make sense. Also my travel bag is getting too heavy and causing shoulder pain. That could be reduced or eliminated by replacing several other items in my bag with the iPad. Now the tool is a solution that might be offset by doctor or chiropractor visits.
Focus on the solution
Creating content is a large part of what I do each day. In the example above, a tablet device could be used to replace or augment many of the tools I already use to create, present and consume content. None of that, however, makes a tablet the solution to my problem. Circling back to the picture with this post: I was able to create and present the Open Color Ecosystem presentation without spending anything. More importantly, I am busy and short on time. I did not need to take the time to purchase and learn how to use an iPad.
None of this means I won’t soon purchase an iPad. Instead, I focused on the fact that I needed a quick and easy way to do one-on-one and small group presentations and used the tools I had to crank out the presentation, which was my solution. Solutions make – and save – you money. Tools, on the other hand, cost you money. Find more solutions and purchase fewer tools. That’s my new mantra.
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