One of the first thing people notice – and occasionally remark on – when they get a business card of mine is that there’s no address. I have the requisite name, title, and corporate logo on there, along with phone, cell and email. But that’s it. No address.
I do that because I’m of the opinion that in this day and age, my location is not particularly relevant to the people I do business with. When James and I started the company I was in New Hampshire, and I’ve since moved to Maine, and what’s changed? Not much, apart from an extra hour if I’m driving to a conference or engagement. If I move to San Francisco tomorrow, should that matter? I don’t think so. I think for firms in the technology business, location is less and less important. Apart from the inevitable timezone disparities, as long as I have a phone and internet I could work from a remote village in Alaska. Throw in EV-DO and I could actually start walking the earth like Kwai-Chang Caine from Kung-Fu. As far as I’m concerned, the days of the “business down the street” – at least for hands off industries such as ours – are pretty much over. The on-demand provider is now a virtual resource, to be accessed by phone/email/IM as necessary.
Anyway, I was reminded about all of this while looking at the Vonage SoftPhone today. We use a toll free number that I can point anywhere I want, so as far as telco goes I’m already relatively location independent, but these type of devices mean that location is now really unimportant. If you can get high speed access and then VOIP, you can “be” from Maine. Or Hawaii. Or Texas. Or wherever. This is nothing new for VOIP, obviously, but the promise of a SoftPhone is that you can take that number on the road with you, at a more economical pricepoint that a communications service company like an AccessLine.
So between Wi-Fi, VOIP, EV-DO, and the cell networks, I feel pretty comfortable that I can live wherever I want. I expect it’ll take a while, however, before people stop looking at my business card for the address. Old habits and so forth…