Get this. The President needs a portable printer only it can’t weigh anything. Zero pounds. I am pacing the floor in her office, trying to explain that they do not make such a printer but she doesn’t want to hear it. Instead she folds her arms and says, “I think you’re being unreasonable, honey.”
It’s OK for her to call me honey. We’re married.
“I’m being unreasonable?” I do the math again just in case she’s right. “You want a portable printer, but you don’t want to add weight to that laptop you lug around. Am I on the right track here?”
She throws her hands up in despair. “You’re not going to bring up the laptop thing again!”
I told her to buy a notebook. People who travel should not lug around eight pounds. A good 4.5-pound notebook would have done the trick. But she purchased an eight-pounder because it was cheaper. This is the trouble with being an unpaid technology guru. The President is always asking me for advice but never taking it. And who do you think gets blamed for being right?
Why does she need a portable printer anyway? She started her dog registry business more than a year ago and has been doing fine without one. When she needs to print something on the road, she can always duck into Kinko’s and get it done there.
Of course things are changing for The President. Her business is growing and she’s starting to travel more. And some towns don’t have a Kinko’s or anything else that stays open late at night, which is when emergencies arise. In fact last night she was in Danbury, Connecticut, when she got a bright idea that she wanted to add to her presentation, which she did in the hotel room. But then she needed to add that new slide to her handout. Her moming meeting started early, so the hotel’s business center wasn’t open. Opening the yellow pages, she looked for a Kinko’s but found nothing. She wound up telling the crowd that if they wanted a copy of that particular slide they could leave a business card and she’d mail it. Naturally, all 53 people attending the meeting asked for a copy.
I know of one possible solution to her problem. Canon is about to ship its new Notejet laptop with built-in color ink-jet printing, grayscale scanning, and plain-paper faxing. The whole thing weighs about one pound more than her present laptop. The NoteJet IIIcx I have been testing in the office costs about $7,500 on the street. With the new Federal tax regulations for business deductions, she can reduce the outof-pocket expense to about $3,800. The Pentium-powered NoteJet is well-engineered, comes with 16MB of RAM, Windows 95, a 28.8Kbps modem, and an 11.8-inch active-matrix color screen.
During two weeks of testing, I fell in love with its graphical step-by-step instructions and easy-to-handle printing, scanning, and faxing modqles. You follow the animated onscreen instructions, point and click on some icons, and the system practically loads and unloads cartridges for you–with no mess. This seems to be the perfect solution. Everything snaps in and out of the system with ease.
“What happens if a function goes bad?” she asks. “What happens if it suddenly can’t scan or print?”
Welcome to the age of technology. Ten minutes ago The President was looking for a printer. Now she wants a system that includes a printer, scanner, laptop, and fax–all in a nine-pound package guaranteed never to break down.
“But if the printer, scanner: ever goes, then I lose the war,” she says with impeccable log
The President is no different from any other consumer of technology, always expecting more for less. Often that sets them up to be ripped off, because they become willing to buy overloaded behemoths in their lust for features. More often, the expectation creates a monstrous situation that 1, as defacto technology manager of my wife’s little company, cannot solve.
A growing number of entrepreneurs find themselves in my wife’s position–you need to lug an entire office wherever you go. There aren’t many solutions to such a problem. I’m not sure there’ll be a better one than the Notejet for many years to come, despite her objections. What do you think? I’d still like to sell her on it. But is she right? Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. And meet me in this spot again next month.