It wouldn’t a Scott Beach birthday congratulations if I didn’t send it out a day late. So Happy Birthday to Lenovo who just turned 4×8! You’ve been a fixture for almost my entire professional career and we’ve logged more miles together than seems possible. And at this point, there are at least twice as many of you in my house as there are actual family members.
Where it Began
My Lenovo relationship began in 2000 at the ripe age of 23 years old. As a Principal Consultant for a portals and personalization software company in the Bay Area, I needed a machine that could play two distinct roles: it had to be portable for client meetings and presentations; but it also needed power, lots of power, to run the Windows version of our software server suite (which normally ran on big Sun Servers). I was given a brand new, loaded up IBM ThinkPad T20. This was the first machine in what became a new long line of successful mobile workstations. It’s 14.1″ display and sub 5 pound weight made it THE laptop for the professional class.
This machine traveled the world and played a role in every stage of software development: it developed solutions (in Visio and Powerpoint), it ran development instances, it did project management, it generated web performance load traffic and it even did e-mail. Once, at a client in Raleigh, it even drank an entire can of Coke! Right into the keyboard. We stood her on her side, poured out the Coke and just kept right on going. No one builds a laptop like a ThinkPad and that says a lot coming from a guy who used to code on a Panasonic Toughbook! ThinkPads have saved many an employee from sleepless nights and embarrassing “whoops” calls to their IT desk.
When I left my DotCom job in 2002, I had the option to buy my T20 and take it with me. I jumped at the opportunity and she remained my daily driver for another 8 years.
A New Era
While ThinkPad took care of my personal needs, my creative side wanted something different, something with sexy looks and innovative design. Fortunately for me, Lenovo already had something in mind. Four years ago this week, I became one of the first people in Charlotte to get my hands on a new Lenovo Yoga 13 ultrabook convertible. Thin, powerful, touch-enabled and with the ability to hinge itself into a tablet. All for under $900. I was in love and stalked the local Microsoft store until one came in stock; I didn’t even get out of the parking lot before unboxing my silver beast. And it was because of my work exploring music technology and touchscreen DJ’ing that I became affiliated with the Lenovo Insider program. It’s also why I created this blog, to share my experiences as the definition of musical instruments evolves into something entirely new.
The Yoga line is MY alternative to the ThinkPad. It is still rugged but brings a wallop of ‘vava-voom’ looks and power. One Yoga 13 became two…it wasn’t fair to have something that awesome and not get my wife one too! Then we added a Yoga 2 Tablet for something entirely different. Then a Yoga 3 Pro and finally a Yoga 900. For someone who has never done actual yoga in his life, I am surrounded by it every day. At CES 2016, I was able to put all this love and admiration to work on stage as I DJ’d at the Venetian hotel for Lenovo and Microsoft’s social media night. I will never forget it.
The global PC market is changing and the lines between devices continue to blur. We’ve seen convergence of consumer and professional product lines, convergence of form factors with tablets and PCs, between phones and tablets. The gig economy has put knowledge workers in direct control over what devices they buy instead of the old days of corporate standard issue machines. They need devices that are as flexible and varied as their lives; but they also insist on reliability and supportability since they are effectively their own IT shops.
The Next 32 Years
Windows 10 has begun a sea change in how PCs function, and Lenovo continues to push the envelope at home and at work. Corporate convertibles like the X1 Tablet. All-in-one category killers like the Yoga 900 Home. Totally new concepts like the ThinkPad Stack which provide travel modules like routers, storage, and projectors as compact integrated components solve the problems of the modern mobile workforce.
And then we have the moon shots, the breakthrough ideas that redefine the very idea of computing. The Lenovo Project Tango phone with its dual camera and spatial capabilities gives us the ability to digitize our world and combine reality with a parallel digital experience. The Yoga Book throws out the idea of physical keyboard altogether! Can you imagine such an idea from the company known for the best typing experience of any laptop brand? And now HoloLens begins the long march that could make monitors a relic of history like the telegraph and the typewriter. It is this creative destruction and rebirth that makes me excited to be a part of of Lenovo’s story, now and for the next 32 years.
Happy Birthday to Lenovo, to YY and the entire social media team. I can’t wait to see what’s next.