Smartphone horror story No. 2: There's an app for what?!
Smartphone apps have revolutionized the world of mobile business. With the right set of programs, you can stay connected to your company, keep up with important news, and maintain close contact with colleagues. Of course, with the wrong set of programs, you can land yourself in some seriously hot water.
We've all heard of a coworker getting caught with, shall we say, inappropriate materials on his work PC. But finding naughty stuff on someone's business-issued smartphone is still a relatively new phenomenon.
It certainly caught the folks at OneCall Manage off-guard. The agency works with corporations to analyze their workers' cell phones and spot any potentially problematic areas.
During a routine checkup with a major national company, the OneCall consultants found something that stood out. It was a game being played on a company device -- and it wasn't Pac-Man. In fact, the game was called Sexy Cougar, and no, it wasn't about mountain cats.
OneCall CEO Berylle Reynolds smiles when she thinks back on the discovery. It's a sharp contrast to the frowns that formed when Sexy Cougar first came to her agency's attention. "We had to go in and actually block all the phones to prevent the workers from downloading anything in the future," she says.
Oh yeah -- there's one more twist: "It wasn't just one person," Reynolds reveals. "There were four employees who had downloaded the Sexy Cougar game in the same office."
Hey, at least we know they weren't using iPhones.
The moral: Remember the old adage "Don't mix business with pleasure"? It applies just as much between a man and a smartphone as it does between a man and a woman. Don't forget it.
Smartphone horror story No. 3: The literal smartphone launch
Everyone loves a good startup story. When your company's history involves throwing expensive technology, however, sharing your roots can quickly turn dangerous. Just ask the guys from Mutual Mobile.
These days, Mutual Mobile is known for making apps focused on productivity -- things like Sales Report and Polycom for the iPhone. But in the beginning, the team had a slightly different focus.
Mutual Mobile's founders made their way into the mobile market by creating a little program called HangTime (Apple later removed it from the App Store). HangTime, if you've not heard of it, encouraged people to throw their precious iPhones into the air. The app measures how high the phones go and how long it takes for them to come back down. (Yes, really.)
Silly as it seems, HangTime showed the Mutual Mobile guys how lucrative a field that app development could be. They credit the creation with helping them expand their for-fun business into a full-time venture, and they frequently tell their clients the story. "It's generally well-received," says CEO John Arrow. "One time, it was too well-received."
That might be an understatement. On the ill-fated occasion, Arrow and his colleagues were meeting with a new enterprise client. After having some laughs over their HangTime history, the client caught them off-guard by downloading the app to his own phone and giving it a whirl -- right then and there, outside the Mutual Mobile offices.
"Before we knew it, our biggest client was throwing his iPhone in the air as high as he could," Arrow recalls. Arrow watched nervously as his new client's phone went up, up, and -- yep, you guessed it -- away. The device landed on the roof of the next building over.
"The worst part -- when it landed, we heard a splash," Arrow says.
Here's hoping the poor chap at least had insurance.
The moral: When it comes to mobile technology, be careful what you suggest. You never know when your amusing anecdote might inspire a client to toss his phone onto the roof -- literally or figuratively.