e2.0 Corporate Humor - Avoiding Unwanted Encounters: There is an App for that!

By Vinicius da Costa posted 11-18-2010 13:21


  As I walked the hallways of the office today, I learned something exciting I’d like to share.  It’s about a new function available in the iPhone which can help you avoiding unwanted encounters.  In fact I learned this feature is available for any smart device.  Here is how it works in 10 easy steps, even though “10” and “easy steps” don’t match:

  1. As you start walking to your next meeting or to grab your lunch, take a good look around and visually map people walking towards you
  2. Keep the phone handy all the time
  3. Common reasons to use the feature:
    1. If you identify those people who like to have a long and detailed conversation every time you casually meet each other and you’re running late for a meeting
    2. Same as above when it’s 6pm and you’ve been working since 6am
    3. You see someone who you owe an answer and still don’t have it
    4. You are shy or introverted
  4. Immediately take the phone and slide your thumb to unlock it
  5. Type your password (rush, they are getting close)
  6. Open your calendar or e-mail
  7. Frantically slide your thumb up and down as if you’re searching for something REALLY important
  8. Adjust your face to reflect the focus and importance of the task
  9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 until you pass the person (and don’t look back as they may still try a last eye contact)
  10. Next version will make available face recognition:
    1. You’ll be able to discretely take a quick picture of people around
    2. A face recognition program will identify and alert you about people you previously tagged as “can’t talk to them now, or never”
    3. It’ll automatically open your calendar
    4. So you just have to frantically slide your thumb up and down as if you’re searching for something REALLY important
    5. And adjust your face to reflect the focus and importance of the task

This is obviously a joke!  It struck me today though, as I was walking and I literally met at least 5 people walking with their phone at hand in oblivion to anything that was happening around them.

I have to confess I missed the “hello’s”, the “hi’s” and the “how are you’s” from some people I know and who passed by me like I wasn’t there (another good reason to work from home; my dog doesn’t have an iPhone).  It felt like they were machines walking with their heads down going to wherever that little device told them to.

For my own surprise, which I only realized after the fact, on my way back I walked the entire trajectory looking at my own phone.  And I can easily assert it was for a good reason, probably like everyone else.  The reason being, it makes me minutes more productive so I can spend more time meeting people (interesting paradox, isn’t it?).

I don’t know who I passed by during that walk but I know I did.  Some of them may know me and may have felt the same way I did before (if you are one of them I just want to make sure you know I was NOT using the feature I described in the 10 easy steps above).

These are the trade offs of modern life.  There is no right or wrong, just different.  But just in case, make sure you raise your head every now and then to see where you are going!

PS. We may be developing some type of ultrasonic radar capability like bats.  We are living the next major evolutional change.  We can walk, check e-mail, text message and still keep going forward avoiding collisions with people walking in the opposite direction!  Go figure this one, Darwin. 



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