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C-Suite Talk Fav Tech: Bruce Kornfeld, Gyst

12-05-16-bruce-kornfeld-gyst
 Name:
Bruce Kornfeld

 Job title: Founder and CEO

 Company: Gyst

 Industry: Technology/Apps

 Location: Austin, Texas

 Years’ of experience: 20+

 

What is your favourite personal gadget?
My smartphone.  I still find it amazing I can do anything I need, right now, from the palm of my hand.   I can research the answer to a question when my kids stump me, navigate from a hotel in a foreign city to a meeting location and keep up with business and personal communication in a multitude of ways (text, email, Skype, Facebook, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Hangouts, Google+, etc…).  The fact that there are so many different ways to communicate on a smartphone does cause me a lot of frustration, however.

Do you have a favourite piece of personal software?
It's a toss-up between Amazon Prime and Google Maps, both great apps.  As a single dad raising two kids and running Gyst, going shopping for household items just doesn’t happen that often.  We use Amazon Prime to save us time and money.  I think Google has won the mapping app war.  It is hands-down better than any other I’ve tried and I use it for more than just getting from point A to point B.  If I need to make a dinner reservation, or call my kids’ school - I’ll use Google Maps to find this information.  If I had to guess, I bet I use Google Maps anywhere from 5-10 times per day.  (I wonder how Google is making money from me?)

What was the first piece of technology you got really excited about?
Growing up in the late 70’s and early 80’s - we didn’t have all that much to choose from.  But the thing I was into the most back then was audio technology.  I always had high-fidelity stereo systems at home and in my car so I could listen to music (at super high volumes).  I used to record myself playing “DJ”, spinning records, announcing songs and just BS’ing with my friends.  Boy, would I love to find those cassette tapes now!

What device improves your life most at work?
I’d have to say my MacBook.  I grew up on PCs, worked at Dell for so many years and until about 9 years ago was stuck in the Windows world (even had one of the first Windows phones - Blackjack).   But, Apple has done such an awesome job of making my life easier and more productive.  Most notably - its mail and calendar apps help me communicate and plan my day without frustration.  No matter the source of the information (Exchange, Google, Yahoo, etc…) these apps are able to bring it all together into one central place.  My PC colleagues are always complaining about having to open a new browser for each email and calendar account and how frustrating that can be.

What software keeps you most productive at work?
Google Drive and Google Apps.  I have to say that there was a learning curve to fully come up to speed on how to use them, but these are game-changers.   At lot of my work over the last 6 years has been with people in different offices.  To think that we used to email documents back and forth for editing and review seems “old school” to me now.  The ability to create and share documents online and collaborate in real-time via apps on any mobile device or computer is a huge time saver.

Is there any technology that has become extinct that you would like to resurrect?
The Nokia 8210 cellphone. It was smaller than the palm of your hand and weighed less than 3 ounces!  It easily fitted in your pocket without pulling your pants down, and had great reception.  While I love my smartphone, life was a lot simpler before they were invented!

Is there any technology you would personally recommend that you don’t think enough people know about? (Hardware or software, work or personal)
I use the Contacts app on my smartphone to help me remember things - shopping lists, movies and books that people recommend, foods my kids like/don’t like, gift ideas I don’t want to forget, etc.  Instead of monkeying around with a new app each year, and dealing with the clunkiness of opening an app and struggling to sync it across all my devices - I just use Contacts.  I know they’ll be sync’d from smartphone to laptop to tablet without hassle, so they are always there and up to date.  No matter where I am at the time - I just grab my nearest device and search for the Contact for each type of list and add to the Note field when I think of something.  Works like a charm.

Do you think anything about your personal use of tech would surprise your colleagues?
My New Year's resolution was to stop reading email and social media on my smartphone.  I found myself getting distracted too often, started to feel less productive and felt that I wasn’t setting a good example for my kids (I’m trying to get their heads out of their phones and pay attention to the world around them more).  My smartphone is now a tool to help me when I need it (maps, research, reading news, etc…) but as far as communication - I’m only using it to talk and text. If someone needs me urgently - they will now text or call.  If it's not super timely, they’ll send an email and I’ll check it later.  Texting is starting to become the preferred method for smartphone business communication anyway - so why not join the party???

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