The Most Powerful Feature on Your Phone

Smart phones have unbelievable power. I recently read that the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon had…

Smart phones have unbelievable power.  I recently read that the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon had 1,300 times less computing power than an iPhone.  And, I bet the iPhone takes better pictures than most of Apollo 11’s cameras.

Continuous connectivity, access to all the information the internet has to offer, games, and the ability to talk to family and friends from almost anywhere (it is a phone after all).  All great features.  But there’s an even more powerful feature.

Airplane mode.

It’s not just for flying.

Next time you’re asked to silence your cell phone, try airplane mode instead.

Going for a run, bike ride, or a workout at the gym?  Airplane mode.  Your music will play just fine.  Better yet, how about listening to the rhythm of your own thoughts?

Having dinner?  Airplane mode.  Enjoy the sanctity of good food and good company (that would be the people at the dinner table with you).

Watching your kid’s game?  Airplane mode.  Try out the video capture capabilities of your phone without being interrupted by some alert.

Playing Risk with your kids?  Airplane mode.  Worldwide domination demands your undivided attention.

Walking on the beach with someone you love.  Airplane mode.  Hold their hand instead of your phone.

Continuous connectivity is amazing.

Airplane mode controls the very definition of “continuous.”  That’s real power.

Use it wisely and enjoy being present.



“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar space craft. We propose to develop alternate liquid and solid fuel boosters, much larger than any now being developed, until certain which is superior. We propose additional funds for other engine development and for unmanned explorations–explorations which are particularly important for one purpose which this nation will never overlook: the survival of the man who first makes this daring flight. But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon–if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.”  –John F. Kennedy, in his speech to a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961

When President Kennedy gave this speech to Congress, he was challenging an entire nation to aim for the moon, literally.  Many of us have seen or heard the first sentence in the quote above, but it’s the rest of the quote that has my attention today.

In 1961, the technology to get to the moon didn’t exist.  Kennedy acknowledges this fact by mentioning just some of the new technologies that will need to be developed (alternative liquid and solid fuel boosters much larger than any now being developed, appropriate lunar space craft).  He also makes it clear that not one man will be going to the moon, but an entire nation.

To meet the ambitious goal of getting safely to the moon and back before 1970, NASA engineers and planners compiled detailed lists and timetables for inventing new technology, new methods, and new systems to make the moonshot possible.  They didn’t know exactly how the inventions would come about, but they had the audacity and foresight to plan for them, and to put them on a schedule.  Thousands of people visualized a new future and went about making it a reality.

As they say, the rest is history.  On June 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface, and he and his two Apollo 11 crewmates returned safely to Earth four days later.

Moonshots are big.  They aren’t incremental goals like losing 20 pounds by next Christmas, completing the next project your boss thinks is important, or aiming for your business to perform a little better than last year.

Moonshots are impossible to fathom without imagination, a willingness to challenge the status quo, and a keen awareness that fear is there only to sharpen your senses.  Moonshots create new definitions of what’s possible.  They can turn a good company into a great one.

Here’s one more thing to remember about moonshots.  If you aim for the moon and don’t quite get there, guess where you are.  You’re in a pretty high orbit, and a long way from where you started.

Find your moonshot and enjoy the ride.

%d bloggers like this: