Regular readers of the DeBord Report know that I'm a big fan of/occasionally exasperated by Fred Wilson, a prominent venture capitalist and avid blogger. Fred is a partner at Union Square Ventures in New York, with investments in companies like Foursquare, Disqus, and my new favorite search engine with a silly name, Duck Duck Go.
But Fred also blogs every single day without fail. Recently, he tackled the question of whether mobile devices can replace laptops for workers on the go. For some folks, they already have. I ran into our CEO in the elevator a few weeks back and somehow got to discussing my new briefcase. "This is my briefcase," he said, brandishing his iPad.
It used to be inconceivable that you'd leave home without your laptop, especially if you had heavy content production on your agenda. I've heard tales of bloggers who can do their thing on tablets and even smartphones, but for the majority, I don't think the adoption of laptop alternatives has been that aggressive.
I use a MacBook Air, for example, and for optimal blogging, I like to attach a mouse with a scroll wheel and multiple buttons (I've used a Logitech mouse for several years now). So I'm headed in a direction pretty much opposite the mobile route. I'm turning my ultrabook into a quasi-desktop. My biggest complaint about the Air is that the trackpad lacks easy functionality. I don't see an iPad clearing this up. And I just went back to a BlackBerry with a physical keyboard because I can't stand touchscreen smartphones.
Fred raises an intriguing possibility, however:
It would be interesting to think about the things that are still inconvenient to do on mobile (like long form blogging) and figure out if there were ways to make it more convenient to do that on a mobile device. It seems like there could be some interesting startup opportunities in solving these remaining hurdles to ditching the laptop entirely.
For me, this would require better interfacing between the mobile device and the blogger's content management system (CMS). That's always been the problem for me. Your typical CMS is jammed with fields that need to be filled in so that the post outputs correctly to the website. There are usually add-ons, such as image management systems, tagging systems, and so on.
I could probably write blog posts on my BlackBerry, but actually posting them would be tough.
Unless the posting were more app-oriented. Really, what needs to change is the output framework. A CMS app that enables me to post to another app would close the mobile loop. You'd be cutting out the web, but I'm not sure that bothers me all that much.
Maybe something like this already exists. If anyone can fill me in, I'd be grateful.