On Sunday morning I was in my car waiting to pick up my kids at Sunday school and I was reading the NY Times on my Blackberry. One of the feature stories was about President-Elect Obama and his Blackberry. It seems that Obama, like many executives of our generation relies on mobile access to news, blogs and email. The question the article raised was should a President be permitted to have a Blackberry.
There are the security concerns. Email being intercepted? The President’s surfing habits tracked; even is location known. What about a President who uses the Internet from their office?
If we assume that the NSA, CIA and Secret Service can figure out how to make the President’s BlackBerry secure. I see two issues (other than security) in this intellectual exercise.
Number one– should the President be able to get unfiltered information that has not traveled through a maze of bureaucrats?
What would be the implications of a President who does not live in the “bubble”? In general – I only see upside to getting information first hand. Most good executives seek many forms of input and I have found that usually the best info is the unfiltered, first hand accounts. From written accounts of Obama’s management style, getting unfiltered information from many sources is what he wants.
The question is really what does a President read that was not specifically written for him?
Getting unfiltered information can only make the processed information higher quality, more relevant and less prone to “yes men”
One Thumb up for the Blackberry
A Blackberry, or any other mobile Internet device can be a huge distraction and time wasting device, if not used properly. I would draw an analogy to the early days of the Web when people would “surf” endlessly. You need discipline to not react to ever buzz and beep that happens 24/7.
Does a President have “down time”? Is every free moment scheduled for meetings, briefings and speeches? Is time with your family also scheduled? I would assume that a President needs un-connected time to think.
On the time issue – I give one thumb down to Presidential Blackberry use.
It will be very interesting to see what mobile technology Obama uses.
As you think about Presidential use of a Blackberry, consider this:
How to you manage your time as an executive? Do you get unfiltered information?
Interesting questions for all of us to ponder.