iPhone Millionaire: iPhone User as Producer Rather Than Consumer

As I was surfing Amazon last night, I came across this book that has me intrigued: iPhone Millionaire, a new publication that promises to “Change Your Life With the World’s Greatest Gadget” in as little as six weeks. The book teaches “how to create and sell cutting edge video” using nothing but the iPhone.

iPhone Millionaire Book

Aside from the obvious appeal of the “millionaire” title, what compels me about this book is the idea of democratization of technology that the author talks about.

Michael Rosenblum, founder of the New York Video School and author of iPhone Millionaire, shares in a blog post on NYVS his realization that “the iPhone is the key to an enormous break-out of ‘democratizing’ video and the web.”

When Steve Jobs called the iPhone “revolutionary,” he missed this key point: the iPhone is also a revolutionary media production tool that enables ordinary people to create extraordinary value.

For decades, society has enamored itself with what was once considered a revolutionary consumption device, the television.

Today, although few have yet to realize it, we have in our hands a revolutionary production device, the iPhone.

For over half a century, the communication channels have been owned exclusively by a handful of large corporations. Not anymore.

We have at our fingertips the next mobile era, a renaissance of sorts, when we iPhone users realize our potential to create profound value for society with our technology. For some this will mean breaking news in courageous acts of citizen journalism. For others, it will mean engaging in grassroots commerce, telling stories and sharing information that people will pay for. This phenomenon may even breed some “iPhone millionaires,” as Rosenblum has titled his book.

The next mobile era calls for us to be producers, beyond just consumers. The author is clear on this reality:

We live in a world of apps, but most apps are one-way, that is, receivers.

But the next generation of apps will be transmitters as well, allowing you to put ‘stuff’ into the ‘system’ as well as access it.

For years, I have considered myself an advocate of the Internet for this power to democratize.

Consider this excerpt from an essay I once wrote on the subject in college:

Some say our generation is hooked on silly gadgets. I say we are empowered by these tools. We are not slaves to our computers. We are the active, conscientious drivers of today’s digital democracy, and the engine is the Internet.

The media of the past was hand-fed to us by extraordinary media titans, but the knowledge of today is disseminated through a web of individual citizens like you and me.

Mobile technology will take this idea to the next level, enabling every iPhone user to be a media company. The author of iPhone Millionaire appears to get this, and so I am looking forward to reading his ideas in the book, which is now available on Amazon.

7 Ways to Cultivate Productive iPhone Habits

iPhone Habits

Your success relies not on your discipline, but on your habits. In his highly regarded blog Zen Habits, productivity guru Leo Babauta decries the myth of discipline, and encourages us to build better habits instead.

Armed with this knowledge, we iPhone owners can make progress toward a more meaningful and productive life by cultivating better iPhone habits. Below are 7 iPhone habits that can help you improve your work and your life:

#1: Put your daily routine on your iPhone lock screen.
Sometimes all it takes is a reminder of the habits we know we should be cultivating in order to stay productive. In my own life, I have realized that there are a few things that are conducive to improved productivity, such as:

  1. exercising first thing in the morning
  2. eating a good breakfast
  3. taking care of social tasks first thing in the day before setting my mind to more creative and productive work — during which email and social networking are off limits

Knowing that this routine is helpful to me, I have made a list of the above habits and put it in a place where I am certain to encounter it on a regular basis: on my iPhone lock screen, which I view each time I grab my iPhone even before unlocking it.

Putting your routine on the lock screen will serve as a constant reminder of the habits you know you should be cultivating in order to be successful.

To set your routine on your lock screen, open the Notes app and make your list, then take a screenshot by simultaneously pressing the Power and Home buttons. Finally, go to the image in your Photos, touch “Use as Wallpaper” and assign the screenshot to your lock screen.

Get in the habit of reading this list before doing anything on your iPhone, and ask yourself whether you are staying on track today.

#2: Quit reaching for your iPhone before and after sleep.
Do you ever browse through your iPhone as you”re laying in bed preparing to go to sleep? Do yourself a favor and get out of this bad iPhone habit.

Research suggests that mobile phone radiation delays and reduces sleep, and even harms your health:

Research, sponsored by the mobile phone companies themselves, shows that using the handsets before bed causes people to take longer to reach the deeper stages of sleep and to spend less time in them, interfering with the body”s ability to repair damage suffered during the day.
— The Independent (UK)

Before sleep, get in the habit of stowing your iPhone far away from your bed (6 feet or farther is recommended) or turning it off OR putting it in Airplane Mode, which cuts off the cellular signals but still allows you to use features like the alarm clock.

Similarly, get in the habit of doing some other than browsing through your iPhone first thing in the morning. Checking your phone first thing upon waking sets the tone for the rest of your day, conditioning you to rely on media consumption in an almost addictive way.

How about meditate, read a book, or do some exercise first thing in the morning instead?

#3: Set social apps aside.
If you”re like most people, you probably have the Facebook app on the first page of your iPhone apps, and you probably check it routinely without even thinking about it. This is a waste of time. For some people, Messages and Mail can be the same way.

Get in the habit of only using your social apps when you have a specific intention.

I recommend putting all your social apps in a folder and moving it to another page of your iPhone screen, that way these apps are not constantly in your face tempting to distract you.

#4 Reduce or eliminate notifications.
iPhone notifications are, for the most part, interruptions.

Keep your focus on the task at hand by turning off iPhone Notifications that you don”t absolutely need to receive. You can turn off notifications for individual apps either in the Settings or in some cases within the apps themselves.

Do you really need to receive a popup letting you know a Facebook friend commented on your photo? Or that your Foursquare friend is at a nearby bar? Probably not.

Of course, what notifications you require depends on your goals. If you are a customer service rep for a company, for example, then you might not want to turn off your Mail notifications.

#5: When a task demands your focus, put your iPhone in Airplane Mode, or turn it off altogether.
Another way to eliminate notifications, including Messages and phone calls, is to set your phone to Airplane Mode.

Get in the habit of setting your phone to Airplane Mode when you are focusing on an important task. This way you eliminate all possibility of distraction from your iPhone, but you can still use important apps like your to-do list.

#6: View and update your to-do list often.
You know how you habitually and mindlessly reach for your Facebook app? What if you replaced this bad habit with the habit of checking your to-do list on your phone?

Get in the habit of checking your to-do list in times when your focus is diminishing.

This will undoubtedly help to keep you on task and remind you of what you should be doing.

I prefer the Appigo Todo app, but Apple”s default Reminders app works, too.

Put your to-do list app in the home screen dock so it is easily accessible at all times.

#7: Keep a budget and log all of your expenses.
Certainly one of the reasons we strive to be productive is to achieve our financial goals. But even if we start making more money, this is of little significance if we are not managing our money responsibly.

Sometimes we spend money impulsively with little awareness of this bad habit, and then when it comes time to do the things that you truly want to do, you are out of money and you wonder where it went.

Get in the habit of keeping a budget and logging your expenses so that you can better understand what it is you are spending your money on. For this I prefer the MoneyBook iPhone app. It is convenient to use your iPhone to track your expenses since most of us carry our iPhones around with us almost everywhere we go.

Question of the day: What iPhone habits help you to be more productive?

How Your iPhone Can Help You Pack & Move Productively

As I prepare to move out of my house next week, I have been thinking and learning about how to make the process of packing and moving more efficient, with help from my iPhone.

Packing & Moving: Things to Do

Reducing clutter:
Messy House
One of the first tasks to tackle is simply to eliminate all of the clutter that I’ve accumulated throughout the years but do not actually use or need. You know… all the junk.

It can be incredibly difficult to get rid of stuff, and I have to admit I have a tendency to be a bit of a hoarder. Aren’t we all hoarders, at least to some extent?

I mean, who hasn’t justified keeping some arguably useless items with the excuse that, “Well SOME day I might need this.”? You envision some ludicrous scenario where you are MacGyver and you are stuck in some near-death situation and this one seemingly useless item becomes your unlikely tool for survival.

Of course, the above scenario never really happens. What really happens is you end up with a bunch of useless crap that you never actually think twice about. So what to do?

Leo Babauta of Zen Habits suggests we photograph some of our sentimental items to make it emotionally easier to get rid of them.

If ever you are feeling nostalgic about these items, simply refer to your photographs of those items to which you’ve attached sentimental value. You can do this quite easily with your iPhone, of course. And then you can refer to those photos whenever, wherever.

Realize that your feelings, your love, your memories, are not in those objects. They are merely placeholders. You can easily keep those placeholders on your computer, or online. — ZenHabits

For the most part, though, you probably won’t refer to these “placeholder” photos. Once you realize this, you will be much less likely to become attached to future possessions, and you will be in a better position to minimize clutter in your life.

Selling your stuff:
Minimizing and selling some of your possessions is a great idea before moving, primarily for two reasons:

  1. Uncluttering means less stuff to pack, less cost to move it, and thus less headache for you
  2. The funds you earn from selling your old things can be used to cover some of the expenses required to move.

While a yard sale can earn you some cash, selling your possessions online can earn you more since listing items individually can help you target people who have a need for your stuff — i.e. they are searching for these things.

The problem is taking photos, transferring them to your computer, listing each item and browsing for the appropriate photo all takes time, and when you are moving time is not an asset you have a lot of. Using your iPhone to list your items online can, perhaps surprisingly, make things considerably easier.

With your iPhone and a couple of handy apps, you can easily snap a photo of something and instantly list it on Craigslist or eBay, avoiding the hassle of having to transfer photos to your computer, label them in a way that makes them easy to find, and browse for them and upload them.

App #1: The CPro app makes posting to Craigslist quick and easy. With CPro, you can list your possessions, with photos, on Craigslist in as little as a minute or two. Just snap a photo, add your item details, then rinse/repeat for the next item.

CPro Craigslist iPhone app

App #2: The official eBay iPhone app also works great for quickly listing items for sale. While Craigslist is easier because you avoid having to ship packages out, eBay can be more lucrative since you reach a wider audience of prospective buyers.

Recycling items:
One of the things I hate about moving is the “eco guilt” I feel over throwing away a ton of crap, contributing to landfills and pollution. As it turns out, you can actually recycle many things that you had previously been throwing away. Stuff like:

  • Spent batteries
  • Light bulbs
  • Broken electronics
  • Styrofoam
  • Old appliances
  • Scrap wood or metal
  • And more…

iRecycle iPhone app

Using your iPhone, you can find locations locally that will handle these items for you and recycle them as responsibly as possible. Yes, there is an app for that. It’s called iRecycle by Earth911. Use it.

As I like to say, save some planet for your grandkids.

Packing your stuff:
Moving Day is a clever app that lets you catalog everything you are packing, including your boxes, so that you can keep track of what is going out of your old home and into your new one.

Moving Day iPhone app

One of the more useful features of this app is the barcode label feature that creates barcodes you can print and label your boxes with. Then, when you move in, you can scan these barcodes and access information about your items, including info on the content of your boxes and condition of your items.

You can even assign items to rooms so that when you arrive at your new abode you can get everything in its right place quickly and efficiently.

Transporting your stuff:
Now how will you get your stuff from one home to the next? Maybe you can drive it over yourself, borrow a friend’s pickup truck, or rent a U-Haul.

Otherwise, you might consider a moving company to handle your move for you.

To find the best quote for moving services, you’ll need to know the general volume and weight of all the things you are moving.

Cue: the Move Estimator app. Move Estimator helps you take an inventory of your items and then generates a report that you can use to find the best prices on moving services, rental trucks or self storage.

Music as a motivator:
For iPhone owners, the above info should help to create a positive and productive moving experience.

Now comes the hard part: actually doing it.

A simple and perhaps obvious tip is to put your headphones on, open up your Music app or Pandora and get to work.

Music for Productivity

Music helps to get you in the zone, reduce distractions and spur motivation. Undoubtedly, music is an invaluable productivity tool that some of us may take for granted.

If I have trouble concentrating because of outside distractions or my own scatterbrain, I put on some classical music. This relaxes my mind, blocks outside noise, and helps organize my thoughts. Mozart works very well, and I’ve heard this is because his rhythms resonate with human brain waves. Whether this is true or not, classical music is a great tool for increasing concentration and productivity. — Editor in Chief, Pick the Brain

As far as classical music goes, I am a big Bach fan, personally.

Well, time to go move now. I’ll catch ya later.

Have you ever used your iPhone to help you in the moving process?

iPhone Owners: Are We Masters, or Slaves, to Our Technology?

I’m willing to bet that when you first bought your iPhone, you did it with some justification in your mind that the expensive purchase (and steep monthly bill) would be validated by the usefulness you would derive from this so-called revolutionary device.

Looking back, can you honestly say that you are justifying your investment and that the iPhone is helping you to make progress in your work and life?

In Steve Jobs’ 2007 keynote address introducing the Apple iPhone, he said the iPhone is “like having your life in your pocket.”

If you’re an iPhone owner, all of your emails, social networks, schedules, notes, photographs, music & movies, and the entire World Wide Web, are now contained in a gadget no larger than your hand. Considering where the mobile phone market was just eight years ago, this is truly amazing.

Before the rise of the iPhone/Android sphere, our rinky-dink mobile devices could place and receive phone calls, handle rudimentary text messaging (in some cases), and that’s about it. The worst threat of a distraction was Snake on your old Nokia phone.

Today — just five years later — our mobile devices are infinitely more powerful.

iPhone Power & ResponsibilityBut as they say, with great power… comes great responsibility.

What Steve Jobs called “the ultimate digital device” has the potential to also be “the ultimate digital distraction.”

iPhone owners know how distracting the iPhone can be. You go to input an appointment in your Calendar and you are notified of a Facebook message. Twenty minutes later, you are browsing photos from your best friend’s weekend trip to the Bahamas, text messaging her to catch up, and then boom, you snap out of it. “What was I doing again? … Oh yeah, the Calendar. My appointment.”

Remember when, before the iPhone, people had Blackberries, and everyone who owned one jokingly called it the “Crackberry”? Well, it’s no stretch to say the iPhone is the new Crackberry… but on crack!

Technology is advancing far faster than we are evolving as human beings, and the truth is that we do not yet understand how to use our devices as a help to our lives rather than a hindrance.

Throughout history, technology has been used for both positive and negative purposes. The iPhone, too, has such potential.

This remarkable new technology called iPhone has the power to help us advance our goals and achieve our life dreams. But it also has the power to drag us into a mind-numbing stupor, keep us awake at night, and distract us to no end.

Is it possible to use your iPhone as a tool for productivity, rather than a toy for distraction?

As a business owner, I am always striving to make the most of my iPhone as a tool of self-empowerment to help me achieve my goals. But it’s no easy feat.

Are you a slave to your technology, or the master of it? Leave a comment below if you too know about this struggle.