This is the 1st of multiple blog posts where I go through and reflect on potential areas of waste, related to my initial blog post.
Every morning is the same. I wake up to my Fitbit Alarm (well, most days) and then I lay there for 10 - 30 minutes. Why does this happen on such a regular basis? It’s my Mobile Phone. Here was my morning routine: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Clash of Clans, email/s, SnapChat, Skype, Reddit. It drove me nuts that I can wake up, then spend time going through everything before even getting out of bed. I mean, that’s awesome in a way, but it was paralyzing for me in the morning.
Mobile phones and the new app revolution are not bad, but as of late, I've been really thinking about if the usage adds value or not. And like almost any answer we’ll be discussing, there is a line and a cutoff point for everyone, but each person, it will vary. For me, that line has changed from even a couple months ago, and in this blog post, we’ll be exploring that.
Before jumping on the RW train, I was just another Verizon member. I spent four years with them, the first two years with an iPhone 4 and the latter years with a Windows Phone HTC X. I loved having both of these phones, but something I could not handle was the pricing. Even after my Corporate Discount through Microsoft, I was still paying a little under $100 a month. Even though I was lucky to still be able to have the unlimited data plan, this was a huge cost to me every month. It really didn't make sense I was paying this much. Not to mention, being against Verizon’s position on Net Neutrality and inserting Unique-Identifier Headers in general were infuriating. So, what were we left with? Well, I could move to AT&T, but they had similar pricing, and not the best reputation as well. T Mobile? Their coverage in Fargo wasn't adequate. Sprint? Possibly, but the pricing was near the same. Everywhere I looked, it felt like I couldn't escape the pricing and the corporate nature of the Mobile Cell Phone Coverage Industry. Then, along came Republic Wireless.
Anyone that knows me knows that right now, I love Startup Culture. Startups always start with the right intentions and have the creative solutions to solve problems in everyday life. So, what did I see when I stumbled upon Republic Wireless? I saw the answer to all of my problems with Mobile Phone Services. Having Plans that topped off at $45/month and even getting as low as $5/month, I couldn’t be even more excited! Then, I read through their entire site. The way they talked, it was clear that they really passionate for providing this service. Essentially, they had the same problem I had with pricing, and they found a way to provide great pricing, and then combine that with creating a community around their service, has really kicked off and becoming a huge player, with Google even following their footsteps. Talk about validation! The move to Republic Wireless back in October has been a great decision in my life right now, cutting my phone bill by 50% and potentially more!
Alright, everyone knows that when it comes to gaming, a console is great, a PC is king, and a mobile phone is… well meh. The true gaming experience comes from games that uses a keyboard and mouse or a controller.
This was true until I got into the mobile gamesphere. Windows Phone didn’t have many good games that I really attached onto, but when I moved onto Android (via RW might I add), the whole mobile gaming sphere opened up for me. What game made me giddy? Clash of Clans, of course!
So, in case you haven’t heard of it, Clash of Clans is a game where you build up your own village with defenses and buildings. The defenses protect your village from other players who could raid it and the other buildings provided upgrades and army producing functionality so you can go raid others. The game itself was enticing. I was introduced to this by the IT department at InSites, they were playing it all the time. All I wanted to do was join in, so when I got onto Android, it was one of the first apps I downloaded. I had to get involved with my friends in that department. The game is interesting because it doesn’t reward skill at all in the traditional sense that I was used to. Instead, it started quickly, allowing me to build buildings in 60 seconds to 15 minutes tops. However, as you progressed, buildings took longer to build/upgrade/produce. There are several mechanics in the game intentionally made to bottleneck you, and you have to wait! However, you can choose to avoid waiting by paying in Gems, which you accumulate slowly in game or you can purchase using real life money.
I played this game faithfully until April, a good six months of dedicated play time. I was in denial though of my dedication. To me, checking once every 6 hours seemed like nothing. However, I was doing more than that and it was beginning to waste my time. It didn’t change anything on my schedule per say, but in small windows of time, I would check my village and my upgrade progresses, and I would do this while hanging with friends or in between tasks at work. Slowly, the same people I joined CoC with started to wane off and stopped playing. It was time for me to join another clan. I joined a really laidback clan, and it was fun, but it just wasn’t the same, not to mention that I was at a point where I would have to give even more of my time and energy to the game. Finally, enough was enough. I was going to uninstall the game.
When I made the decision, our clan just queued up with another war with another clan, so I didn’t want to just leave them, so I told them I was going to quit as soon as I attacked twice in the war. They were understanding, and I scored 5 stars in the war. After that happened, I re-arranged my village to basically give my resources away to anyone who was raiding (I call it, giving back to the economy) and with a heartfelt goodbye with the clan, I exited the game and uninstalled it. Since then, I haven’t looked back.
Okay, last topic of this post. I know, it’s getting long! I believe that data plans are the bane of any Internet Service Provider. CableOne in town has one and it’s being actively enforced (although not as bad as it was a year or two ago). However, the one I’ll be focusing on, Mobile Phone usage.
The Mobile Phone Industry started off with unlimited data plans. This made sense, considering they were doing unlimited texting and for the most part, providing so many minutes that it basically felt like unlimited calls (free mobile 2 mobile, free nights and weekends, etc). Then, in an effort to monetize data usage on mobile phones, companies began making tiers, split into how much data you use. This has polarized the industry and consumers in many ways. Some see it as fair, others are more starkly against it. Long story short, mobile data usage is not going anywhere, and we’re still trying to figure out how the hell it should be charged for and what’s right and what’s not. We’ll save that topic for later. For the time being, we’ll talk about a decision that’s been heavy on my mind the past month.
I am considering going mobile phone dataless.
What does this mean? It means that through Republic Wireless, I will be going from the $45/month 4G LTE plan to the $10 No data plan. I would still be able to use data over WiFi, but I will no longer be using cellular data. So, if no WiFi, no data.
Why would I do this? Two reasons. The first would be the financial savings. Another $35 saved? That’s more money I can contribute towards other areas in my budget (yet another topic I will blog about)! The second, is having experiences outside of the WiFi. Too many times, I find myself looking down at my phone, checking my Facebook or Twitter Feeds and doing other such things. Right now, a good 80-90% of my time is under WiFi shelter, where I would not be affected. But let’s go towards event and other times I would not be covered with WiFi. Yes, texts and Calls will work, but no data? That’s incredible and scary!
So, as wonderful and challenging as this is, and as much as I would love to do this, I have decided that I do still need a data plan for now. The reasoning behind this? Klink, my new startup, will be utilizing data and I would be a fool to be promoting an app that I couldn’t use myself in the typical use case scenarios (at a networking event where there was not free WiFi, at a concert, etc). The big thing is, I’ll need a data plan to support my app, and not having that data plan would be a horrible thing for promotion purposes.
So, where do we stand? Well, I could go to the $25/month 3G plan? Yeah! Let’s try that! I’ll give that a whirl for a month I think!
The Mobile Phone usage has many potential areas of waste and we were able to identify that in my life, two were non-value added and one was non-value added but required. In future blog posts, I’ll be discussing more areas related to my mobile phone, but you got three nicely laid out topics in one blog post! Stay tuned, for next week!