iPhone Life magazine

Travel Tips: Taking Care of the Little Things

This blog won’t run on for long. It is about little things, little things that can get lost if you don’t take care of them.

Let me start with my EDM Universe In-Ear Headphones with Headset Functionality and Universal Volume Control from MEElectronics. I used the headphones on the London Big Bus Tour to listen to the recorded commentary. This is a hop-off, hop-on tour, so every time you leave the bus you must disconnect the headphones from the jack. 

As a regularly used item, I kept the pair of headphones in my Scott eVest hand warmer pocket (that’s the main one on the side of the jacket where hands can easily plunge in, out of the cold.) The earbuds began in a zipped inner pocket, nicely secured. But when they started sharing my hand warmer pocket they were in jeopardy. Somewhere at the Tower of London, during a moment of frantic photography, I whipped out my camera and must have sent the earbuds plunging into the abyss that is the Tower of London. Like the souls of Anne Boleyn and perhaps the two princes of Edward the IV, my earbuds were lost among the ancient grounds.

But that wasn’t the only thing I lost. My new LiveScribe 3 smartpen also lost an integral part of its assembly. On the top of the pen, covering the charging port, was, and I do mean was, a cap that included a stylus tip. At some point, while removing or returning the smart pen to my Pacsafe Metro shoulder bag, which I wore for many of the outings with the LiveScribe 3 smartpen tucked into a pen slot, the cap flipped off the top of the pen and out into the streets of London. Although the fault is mine for not better watching or protecting the small cap, some of the blame runs to the design.

When I review anything, I look at the number of parts. The more parts, the more likely something is going to be lost. If not lost, then more time is required to care for the pieces. To check and double check, to overtly protect, to coddle and care for. Anything with parts that easily dislodge, or that don’t include yet another part, (like a case,) that will protect the loose parts, isn’t designed as well as it could be.

The moral of the story of lost tiny things:

For manufacturers and designers: avoid too many parts, even if they do offer incremental revenue from replacement. When you do include small, easily removed parts, include something that helps the owner protect them.

For owners: if you own a device with tiny parts, or something that is small, then go out of your way to take care of them, even if it means taking a bit more time to do so.

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Daniel Rasmus's picture

Daniel W. Rasmus, the author of Listening to the Future and Management by Design, is a strategist, industry analyst, and business correspondent for iPhone Life magazine. Prior to starting his own consulting practice, Rasmus was the Director of Business Insights at Microsoft Corporation, where he helped the company envision how people will work in the future.

Before joining Microsoft, Rasmus was Research Vice President at the Giga Information Group and Forrester Research Inc. Rasmus also is an internationally recognized speaker. He blogs regularly for Fast Company and on his own blog, Your Future in Context. His education-related work can be found at Learning Reimagined.