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Ken Magill

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Why there was no Magill Report Last Week

6/16/15
 
By Ken Magill
 
As some readers have pointed out, there was no Magill Report last week.
 
Why? Because for a brief period last Tuesday, I was completely cut off from civilization. Or at least that’s how it felt.
 
I attended the Direct Marketing Association’s Integrated Marketing Week trade show last week in New York, which ran from Tuesday to Wednesday.
 
Not exactly a week, eh DMA?
 
In any case, in the almost 20 years I have been attending and covering DMA conferences, the organization has historically provided desktop computers in its press rooms.
 
So in an effort to pack lightly I left my laptop at home in Central Valley, NY, a two-hour commute from the city.
 
Well, guess what? The DMA no longer provides desktops for press at its events.
 
“We figured everyone has their tablets with them,” said DMA PR rep Susan Taplinger, which, of course, makes sense.
 
Why lug around, maintain and set up a bunch of machines no one is going to use? No one except dumbass, shortsighted me, of course.
 
It was no big deal, I thought. After all I had an iPhone. I had preloaded the Magill Report to go out that day. All I had to do was call the wife and walk her through the log-in and send procedure to get the newsletter out.
 
One problem. The iPhone I had was not mine. The wife took my cell phone away a year ago because I so rarely used it. It was charged maybe twice a year and hardly ever in my pocket.
 
“I’m sick and tired of paying the bill for this when you never use it,” she said, also making sense.
 
We agreed that when I went to conventions I would simply take my son’s iPhone.
 
“If my friends start texting you, just ignore them,” my son said as he handed over his phone. Easy enough. Ignoring texts was something I did even to my own friends—when I had a cell phone, that is.
 
So I go to call the wife, and a screen comes up demanding a pass code to unlock the phone.
 
I did not have my son’s pass code. So there I was, standing in the middle of a trade show with no computer and no phone.
 
Still not a huge deal, I thought. I’ll get Susan Taplinger to email the wife and have her respond with the pass code, which she kindly did.
 
As I waited for the passcode, I got to thinking about how in the middle of April my email campaign-management system went haywire and sent a dozen or more copies of the Magill Report to subscribers before I could shut the system down.
 
“What if that happens again and I’m not there to stop it?” I thought.
 
Shudder.
 
I decided it would be best not to take even that slight risk. So no newsletter.
 
To advertisers on contract: I will extend our deals by a week to make up for last week.
 
Oh, and I also forgot my son’s phone charger. So for two days, I watched the battery life slowly drain out of my only contact with the outside world. I had to conserve what battery life I had left so I checked the phone very rarely for those two days.
 
Ironically, I was at a marketing conference that seemed to be all about social media, video and mobile marketing with my Internet access limited and dying.
 
“According to one study, we check our mobile phones an average of 150 times a day,” said one speaker.
 
Not me, I thought.
 
To be honest, once I reconciled with the idea that the Magill Report would not go out, it was kind of nice to be electronically disconnected and paying complete attention to my immediate surroundings.
 
As an occasional public speaker, I can attest that it can be somewhat disconcerting to scan the audience and see people looking down at their phones.
 
Last week, I was not one of those people looking down at their phones during presentations. 
 
Okay, so I spent one presentation trying to figure out how to log out of my son’s Gmail account and into my own. What a pain in that was.
 
But after that, I spent two days checking email very sporadically, probably four times all told.
 
It was quite refreshing.
 
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Terms: Feel free to be as big a jerk as you want, but don't attack anyone other than me personally. And don't criticize people or companies other than me anonymously. Got something crappy to say? Say it under your real name. Anonymous potshots and personal attacks aimed at me, however, are fine.

Posted by: Peggy Garner
Date: 2015-06-16 16:09:31
Subject: So you aren't ignoring my calls?!?

Funny post Ken! I can just picture you standing in the middle of a crowd with a useless cell phone in your hand!

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