Making the Most of Mobile: Russ Webb on Leveraging Tablets and Apps



russ - AAGAToday’s mobile devices are amazing … but are you making the most out of it? Russ Webb bets not. That’s why he’s on a mission to share how tablets and smartphones can increase productivity and do just about anything possible.

Webb, vice president of the Atlanta and Georgia Apartment Associations, spreads the gospel by teaching classes inside and outside the apartment industry on how the advanced functionality of such devices can make life more efficient. He will be at the digital pulpit July 26-28 at RealWorld in San Diego to share his tips and tricks to better utilize calendars, contacts, to-do lists and notes, plus talk about the “must have” apps for the business world.

“There’s nothing that can’t be done from your iPad,” said Webb, who will present from his tablet. “The biggest thing, is you have no idea how productive that smart device that you’re holding can be. I tell everybody and they go, ‘Oh, yeah.’ And I’m like, you don’t understand.”

A few years ago on a business trip, he realized how productive he could be with his iPad after leaving his laptop at home on a business trip. Since then, the iPad has become a part of his persona from sunrise to well beyond sunset.

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“At a recent conference, I was walking without anything in my hand,” Webb said. “I did not have my iPad. I had put it up in my room to charge because it’s always in my hand. Someone came up to me and asked, ‘Where’s your iPad? Oh, my God, did you lose it?’ “

The computer in his Atlanta office is linked to three monitors but most days he’s tapping his tablet to get work done. And gripping the device firmly with a hand strap, Webb often pushes the limits of what an iPad can do while resisting temptations of using it for pickup hallway handball games during breaks at teaching sessions.

“I think there is an infinite number of things a smart device can do,” Webb says, not-so-tongue-in-cheek. “I think we’re broaching the surface right now. I think the next generation of smart devices, whether it’s going to be a true tablet or a hybrid, something like the Microsoft Surface, the next generation of smart devices will blow everybody away.”

Russ Webb offers his thoughts on tablets and apps

We asked Webb a few questions about his close relationship with smart devices, particularly his iPad. He confesses that he is not without his iPad from 5 a.m. to Midnight daily. “I’m a geek,” he says. Here are his thoughts on using today’s technology:

If you had to choose between only a smart phone, iPad or laptop to live out the rest of your life, what would it be?

I would have to have an iPad, because I can still communicate with people. The screen’s big enough, and know I have the ability using the apps to make voice calls with it. I don’t even need a phone

When did you realize that you’d become hooked on an iPad?

The first time was three and a half years ago I realized I could edit any document, that I can sign a contract and I could use it as a camera for note taking. It all kind of happened in one week. I was at a conference to test it out, and left my laptop at home, just to see if I could survive. Once I realized I could edit, document, take notes, use it for pictures, sign a contract, I decided I’m never carrying a laptop again. You know, the next time you turn your laptop on you got 9,000 Windows updates to install. No, not my iPad. Now it’s all I travel with.

There are so many apps out there designed to enhance work and play on smart devices. I read somewhere last year that between Google and Apple, there are about 2.5 million apps available to download. Do we really need that many?

Every app serves a purpose. Some of them are to make you productive and some are just to make you smile. Every app serves a purpose except Candy Crush. Candy Crush is the devil. It’s the most addictive game ever.

Do you always play Candy Crush?

No, I’m not too much of a gamer. I have a couple of games. I play a soccer game on my iPad and I have a sniper game that’s wonderful for stress relief.

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What’s the funniest app you’ve ever seen?

I downloaded one now called Fireworks for the Fourth of July because we didn’t know if it was going to rain. So I downloaded that one so I’d have my own indoor fireworks show. I also have one called the No Button. It’s actually a giant button, and when you hit it, it goes, “No, No, No.”

What’s the one app you can’t live without?

If you want to be productive, you can’t live without some kind of cloud drive. Mine is Dropbox. That’s what makes my iPad productive. To tie it in with others that people use, it might be Google Drive, or Cloud, or Box. Dropbox’s functionality and working with other apps is what makes it key.

You are obviously very close to your iPad. Do you have a name for it?

I used call her Siri, because of the Siri. She doesn’t have a name, but she is definitely a She. She can make you really, really happy and really, really mad.

You’re married, right?

Yes, to Tracey. Married 22 years.

Is Tracey jealous of Her?

She can be very jealous of Her. We’re actually going on a cruise, and she reminded me that I’m leaving Her at home. She said you’re not taking your girlfriend with you. Okay, fine.


Contributing Editor, Property Management Insider
President, Ballpark Impressions, LLC

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Tim Blackwell is a long-time publishing and printing executive in the Dallas/Fort Worth area who writes about the multifamily housing and transportation industries. He has contributed numerous articles to Property Management Insider, and worked as a newspaper reporter in the D/FW area. Blackwell is president of Ballpark Impressions, and publishes the Cowcatcher Magazine. He is a member of the Fort Worth Chapter/Society of Professional Journalists.

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