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Rent a Brain 160 Characters At a Time

Rent a Brain 160 Characters At a Time


You may find this worth noting. I have a couple of mentees that are easily under 30 years old and there’s an interesting dynamic taking place.

They like to text. 

Duh, you say.

Well, at first I didn’t think anything of it, but during a recent exchange, this note came through:


(altered to protect the innocent)

So I dug into it.

Yep, during their weekly conference call she was texting under the table to get an opinion from me. She used my response to re-direct the conversation. She said, “I hope you don’t mind. I do it all the time when something doesn’t sound right.” I don’t mind. It’s flattering. What happens if I don’t get back to you right away? “I just move on. Sometimes when you get back to me it’s exactly what I said.”

Just like a virtual ride along.

I am pulling some lessons from this.

  1. I’m biased thinking that during a meeting, when someone glances at their phone that the action isn’t business related. While I think it’s rude to not maintain eye contact, in the future I have to allow for the possibility that unseen attendees are there with us.
  2. What is the workplace going to be like for our 14 year olds? I can imagine them outsourcing their brains for certain tasks and freeing up more time for deep thinking. (At least that could happen. I can also imagine fart jokes and new high scores on Flappy Bird.)
  3. It never would have occurred to me to use texting to rent a brain. Sure, I’ve probably said “Let me get an opinion from Sue” and texted her during a meeting, but I’ve never used this whisper technique. It reminds me of Mission Impossible or something. Brilliant.

I know there are other lessons coming from these young workers if I keep my mind open. I advise you to focus on your youngest employees and how they use communications and technology tools. It’s eye opening.

Good stuff.