9 Oct.

Living the cloud life: working from anywhere

In my day to day job I extoll the virtues of the cloud, and specifically Office 365 (and surrounding Microsoft technologies).

A big part of that is being able to work from anywhere. Your work is what you do – not where you go.

Over the 4.5 years of Paradyne’s history we’ve only had an office for 1 of those years as we found that most of our team preferred to work from home or customer sites.

Recently we opened a workspace in Melbourne as our team has grown and from time to time need to get together physically. There are also those within the team who have kids and despite enjoying the benefits of spending more time with them and having their work be a wrapper around their personal life – some people need the mental change of location and atmosphere.

I travel a lot for my job, both within Australia as well as a few times a year to the US for various conferences. Putting my money where my mouth is next week I’ll be relocating my family to the US for 3 months.

As a small business owner it’s a common scenario that I don’t get to take many holidays or breaks. This has gotten to the point now where I have approximately 70 days of leave stacked up. Coupled with the fact that the lease on our house (HaaS – Housing as a Service) was up and the MVP Summit was near, my wife and I felt it would be an opportune time to change hemispheres and live somewhere else outside of our comfort zone for a while.

Now where I say outside of our comfort zone we will be spending half the time in Seattle where I have several friends and colleagues – so we won’t be too isolated.

Over the course of the 3 months I’ll be taking some time off, but also working as if I hadn’t left Australia. Given all Paradyne’s technology is in the cloud this should be extremely easy. As long as I have an Internet connection I am “in the office”.

To cater for the time zone differences I will be working in the US between Sunday – Thursday, midday to around 8pm to match Australian Monday to Friday 9am-5pm. This will allow me to keep my regular meetings, get on calls with staff/partners/vendors/clients, and still engage with the team as if I was there.

All I’ll need is my trusty Surface Pro 3, Nokia 930, various accessories (mouse, headset, etc.) and I’m working! My office will be wherever I plant myself – be it a Starbucks, the Microsoft campus, a Regus desk or anywhere else with Internet access.

Over the course of the trip I’ll be doing a video blog for Microsoft Australia demonstrating how the technology they offer truly allows me to work from anywhere, any time, and on any device.

Our house is packed up, the movers come tomorrow, and we fly out in just over a week. Stay tuned for more updates on the journey!

 19 Aug.

Surface Pro 3 as my airport loungetop

The airport business lounge is a great place to compare tech with other business people.

What’s interesting is that as much as I travel I still commonly see only two predominant profiles of people:

  • iPad users with a keyboard propped up in a case to simulate a laptop
  • Traditional notebook users

Amongst these two types of people I immediate have the thought: “that’s not a computer, THIS is a computer” (refer Crocodile Dundee knife scene, or more recently The Simpsons with “knifey/spooney”).

The thing I find about the iPad is as most of the business and education communities are starting to come to – is that they are not a full computer. They are a consumption device with limited inputs and interactivity. There is only a certain amount you can do with them when compared against a full PC.

Conversely for those with normal notebooks I am alarmed at how many of them are GIGANTIC! Either their CFO is very tight, or their CIO doesn’t care for human comfort levels and is happy for them to cart around kilograms/pounds of equipment.

As a seasoned traveller I love the fact that the single device is both my entertainment / gaming unit as well as my full productivity machine. While at the lounge I am online (in Australia we do not have in-flight WiFi yet) synchronising, streaming, chatting, bopping away to music, and working. I don’t have to hunch over my device, or struggle with its limited capabilities.

While I wait in the lounge I enjoy my beer, some music and write this blog post. When I get in the air I’ll be offline but with access to my files, my OneNote files, cached email, and pretty much everything I still need to be productive.