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A Technology Services Consultant's Workplace Addictions

I just read something that scared me: researchers at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business found that checking social networks for updates is more addictive than things with physically addictive properties such as coffee, alcohol, and cigarettes.


Why is this scary?  Because IT’S ME and I relate.  Ask my family – they accuse me of being addicted to my crackberry (their euphemism for smart phones).  But it’s not the crackberry that’s the problem; it’s all the cool stuff that I’ve got going on in HP Technology Consulting that keeps me addicted.


So what am I addicted to?  Well, I have to check in on my favorite HP communities on a regular basis.  After all, I can’t miss a minute of compelling discussions such as the differences between IBM/Watson and HP/Autonomy.  The whole Big Data discussion is fascinating to me, given that I was working in data warehousing back in the day.  Here’s a link to a great article:    And an article from Wall Street Journal called “What’s Your Algorithm?” When the WSJ gets around to publishing articles like this you know something big is happening!  A quote from this article: “Call it Big Data, analytics, or decision science. Over time, this will change your world more than the iPad 3.”


I can’t help myself from checking email every time I see a “new message” indicator or hear that ubiquitous “you’ve got mail” chime.  In fact, my email is a constant source of entertainment, as it gives me a window on the world of my colleagues and clients.  New research coming across my desk?  Forget about lunch because I’m hooked!  Oh, and preparing information for clients and projects on which I’m working is another completely addictive thing.


This last point is most apparent when I’m immersed with a client on a transformation challenge.  Here’s a good example:  last year I was working with the CIO and IT organization of a branch of a large city government which issues construction permits and conducts building inspections.  My team and I were engaged to do an initial assessment and make some preliminary recommendations relative to transforming IT.  As part of that, I became absolutely obsessed with the experience of those who work exclusively in the field (e.g., the engineers and building inspectors) and how mobile devices aren’t necessarily designed to be used while climbing around dirty, wet construction sites.  Believe it or not, the biggest problem field inspectors faced was the sun glare on their screens of their devices.  We tried everything to solve that one: device tents, covers, screen laminates. 


Here’s what I learned – sometimes, no matter how obsessed you are with finding the perfect solution, no matter how addicted you are to the thrill of uncovering new information, no matter how much data and information you have, it’s the simplest things that work best.  In the case of my client: the engineers decided that they’d prefer better devices and would just use them in their cars to avoid sun glare.  In my case, I realized that it’s the thrill of the search which is just as inspiring as the finding the right solution.


Excuse me, I need to go check Facebook.


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