ENG 331 Group 7’s Final Project

Vice President

Matthew Brown is the Vice President of Quality Assurance at Thomson Reuters. Before that he worked as a development manager at Mercury MD, a local start up that serves patient data to doctors on PDAs, which was later bought by Thomson (now Thomson Retuers). He and his wife Karen live in Raleigh with 4 kids.

We Aren’t French: When did you get your first cell phone?

Matthew Brown: Around 1998.

WAF: What was its primary usage?

MB: I got it for work.

WAF: What is your current phone? What are some of the useful features for business?

MB: I have a blackberry bold. It has email, inter-blackberry instant messaging, and internet access. It’s also inside the network at work so that is pretty handy.

WAF: What are some examples of cell phone culture in the office?

MB: All of the managers have blackberries. As an executive you can easily get two to three hundred emails a day so everyone is always reading email. In any given meeting at least half the room will be reading and writing email. Everyone is always accessible through their blackberry to the point that a phone call will interrupt a face to face meeting.

WAF: Blackberry’s have precedence over a face to face meeting?

MB: Yeah. Everyone knows that the blackberry is the best way to get a hold of each other. Synchronous time is at a premium when you’re a manager. It gets to a point where even listening to a voice mail is a pain. Asynchronous communication allows the person you’re communicating to to decide when to switch their focus from what they are doing to your message. The best way to communicate to a manager at TR is to write an email the size of the blackberry screen or, even better, to get your point across in the subject line.

WAF: Can you describe a time when having a cell phone was essential to getting something done in the work place?

MB: The web app for creating and approving time sheets is only available if you’re inside the work network, so you have to vpn into the network or be at your desk to approve them, however, since blackberry’s are on the network, your blackberry becomes essential on the road to do tasks like that. That’s an example of a mundane task they assist with. An example of when the helped in an emergency: One time, before Mercury MD was bought, I got a call at 2am that Novant’s database was down. Having the cell phone allowed me to respond to the call in real time and quickly fix the problem and that really improved our image with our customer.

WAF: Can you describe a time from before you had a cell phone when it really would have come in handy?

MB: Hmmmm. Not really. I think that cell phones created the necessity for people to always be available. Before cell phones, no one needed to be perpetually available because no one was able to be. Cell phones created  a whole layer of availability where it never existed before. Of course, having a cell phone would have come in handy that one time your mother’s car broke down on the road from VA to Raleigh and she was stuck there for 2 or 3 hours.

WAF: What don’t you like about having a cell phone?

MB: I can’t say that there’s anything I don’t like about it. My phone creates the neccessity to always be in contact, but I feel like I don’t have to answer it if I don’t want to, so it really doesn’t affect me. My phone helps me relax because I know what’s going on in the buisness. Also they’re even better now that they have the internet and I can read articles or something anytime I want. That helps me relax too.

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