What Did I Do Before...?


Have you ever found yourself trying to remember how you used to do things before you had your latest gizmo or piece of technology? For example, 95% of the news I read is through a mobile app on my phone. Before the app, I would visit websites every day and before that?... well, I guess I never was a big fan of printed newspaper or waiting around for the 11 o’clock local news. I’m amazed at how fast technology changes the way we do simple things. I’m sure my kids will laugh when I tell them about CDs, land line phones or even laptops!

Technology changes our daily life so quickly that we can’t remember the change even occurred. I’ve had computers around since I was in middle school, so I can’t really relate to working without email or the web, but somehow people got stuff done for thousands of years before that. I’m actually quite fascinated with how people used to do stuff, from keeping foods preserved to doing international business, and how we got to the place we are today. One of the things I have appreciated most about these rapid changes is how accessible media has become. I distinctly remember when iTunes came out. It wasn’t the first place to play mp3s on your computer (or even to categorize them), but it was designed well and linked to an online store where everything was available at the click of a button, and actually legal. That not only helped change how we purchase and organize our music, but I believe it was the catalyst for Apple’s incredible 10 year run as new devices like the iPod came out that synced with the free software you were already using. Now just a few years later, we’ve entered a whole new realm of mobile access. As a sports fan, I have found myself in the past at an event where I was wishing I could check up on the score of the big game. Well today, not only can I keep up with the latest scores through an app, but I can actually watch the games live on my phone - from anywhere! Now, this may not actually be a good thing for me because I’ll always be tempted to check in on that game no matter what I’m doing, but I digress.

Another catalyst for fast changing media technology has been Netflix. Not only did they change the way we rent the latest blockbuster, but they have an entire catalog of TV shows and movies that I can watch online, through my gaming console, or on my phone. Fifteen years ago (when full house was still on the air) I could have only dreamed this would be possible. I’ll have to admit, when I first saw the iPhone, I had a hard time sleeping as my mind ran wild thinking of the possibilities, and it hasn’t disappointed. These days I would feel trapped without my iPhone. I mean, how did I ever get by with just a phone and text messaging? What did I do when I needed to find out currency exchange between the Norwegian Krone and the US Dollar while at the beach?

So, as we now have access to nearly anything at any time, how do we balance that with real life and real relationships? I mean, I’m thankful that I can simply DVR something I wanted to watch from my phone, or listen to a specific artist’s radio station from my car, but there needs to be a proper focus on real relationships and meaningful content. Technology definitely changes the way we live, but it shouldn’t change the purpose we use it for. Here at Subsplash, we have created a platform for churches to share Gospel content through media. It’s simply amazing to see how many people are watching or listening to sermons from all corners of the globe, but this also will never replace real relationships and being a part of a church community, and it’s not supposed to. It does offer us new opportunities to use technology for Kingdom purposes and lets us take advantage of the tools that we have today to make good content readily available to anyone, anywhere. We just have to remember to unplug and engage every once in a while.

Which Glasses are You Wearing? (Android or iOS)

Over the last few years, the defining question has always been: Android or iPhone? As the years have gone by, and Android has pumped out some serious competitors, this question has become harder and harder to answer. I will try to address not only what makes someone identify with one brand over another, but also what each platform has to offer in terms of user experience.

Are you a hipster? Are you a techie? Are you both? There are different personas that align themselves with different brand categories. So what qualifies someone as an Android or iOS fan? There are several defining factors that make someone loyal to one platform as opposed to another. Apple and iOS really don’t need a lot of advertising. Their products speak for themselves and make brand loyalty almost effortless. Their UX is truly the best of its kind and makes navigating fairly easy - even for new adopters. Besides the bright and shiny hardware that can almost be considered a fashion accessory, the UX on iOS devices is what drags most users in. In fact, it was actually designed to be everything a user could want. For most people, this is true, but it is also the reason iOS devices are not customizable - because what more could you want? (Turns out some people do want more - cue Android applause). iOS devices are also the most spectacular way to view and use applications. From its extensive Apple App Store, to the seamless integration on all of its devices, apps are used to the best of their ability (and most beautifully) on iOS. So what kind of person prefers iOS? It’s fairly hard to classify because Apple especially has a very wide range of users. Design-centric individuals are easily some of the most tried and true iOS fans. Let’s just say if you wear thick framed glasses and own a flannel, there’s a good chance you’re an iPhone guy.

Android has a huge product offering. They range from brilliant to (unfortunately) pretty pathetic. These phones are huge for those that are firm believers in Google services. For you Google+, Gmail, and GoogleMaps lovers, the Android is incredibly valuable. Android is also much more customizable than iOS. You can bend and tweak it to fit your personal needs in a mobile device. Android could be considered the better choice for those wanting an all-in-one tool. If you’re phone doubles as a GPS, PC, camera, organizer - you may be an Android person. It’s also a common gripe that Android is more difficult to navigate than iOS, especially for first time smartphone users. All of these qualities make it hard to qualify exactly what an avid Android user is like, because of the vast differences in their products. Android not only produces the most expensive smartphones on the market, but also the most inexpensive. This factor spans users from those who require little technical abilities in a device to those who rely heavily on their computing power. The technical side of this spectrum is where you will find your most devoted Android fans. If you've ever seriously considered building your own robot, you're probably an Android guy.

Which one would you identify yourself with?

Is Paper Obsolete?

Screen Shot 2012-05-10 at 1.20.24 PM
Screen Shot 2012-05-10 at 1.20.24 PM

There’s something to be said about a hand-written letter. Then again, there’s something to be said about convenience. As technology has evolved over the last few decades there are certain practices in business that have shifted significantly. Where filing cabinets, faxes, and legal pads used to be mainstream, they have now all been replaced with PCs, smartphones, iPads and servers. Is this a good thing, bad thing, or just a necessary evil?

As our culture has evolved it seems that technology rules our life more than ever. There are so many tasks that can be completed faster and more efficiently by utilizing technology. Long gone are the days of typewriters, calligraphy, and even hand-written letters. It’s really a shame though, there are certain aspects of these things that are not easily translated through the use of technology.

There is absolutely nothing more sincere than a hand-written thank you note. To know that someone took the time out of their day to not text or email, but to actually express their gratitude in a tangible form is really something. Whenever we can, we try to take that same warmth and apply it to our products. Those same qualities that we love about the personal connection through pen and paper, can be brought into technology, but it takes focus. We don't ever want to lose that human connection through our software, but rather enhance that ability to be relational.

The core offering of our product is an outlet to present media on. Not only is the majority of content accessed through technology, but websites aren’t cutting it - mobile devices are more commonplace than ever. That's why we always try to encourage users to integrate some of the same qualities into technology. When it comes down to it, we are just a bunch of creatives, using the the outlet that we have been given. Where it may not be as utilitarian as it once was, there will always be a special place in my heart for paper and print.

There's always going to be new technology coming out that is the latest and greatest and has the ability to make a significant difference in your life. I encourage you to embrace this - but please, don’t throw away your pens. Print can be really powerful.