The first ever college class I took was Intro to Accounting. It started at what felt like sunrise…IE 8:30 and the course work was riveting. I used to sit near the window towards the back of the class right next to this enormous radiator. That radiator was like an alarm clock for when I nodded off and would snooze until my elbow sizzled and startled me back into the world. Although I remember the professor being animated and pretty funny, I remember even more how often we were talking about widgets. Always widgets. In every accounting textbook I ever had, the only thing ever bought or sold in the examples was widgets. “Jack’s company sold 955 widgets in 1998…The market for widgets was seasonal….Bill owns a widget company.” I never understood what a widget was back then, but I did have fun mocking the widget references.
Today, I am free of radiator burns, but I again feel like I am waking up to a world of widget madness. Let’s start with my definition of widget. A widget is any necessary or new piece of equipment/software/app. For example, a couple years ago we bought a “smart thermostat.” That thermostat requires an app/widget on your phone. My son and daughter played lacrosse this spring and all the information was sent out using this Teamsnap program/widget. We just bought a new Roku widget to speed up the viewing of the other 19 widgets we use to stream tv and movies.
Let’s head to the office now where I have widgets dripping from the ceiling:
I use google calendar (only $12/month) for setting up and tracking client meetings. It’s easy for inviting clients and keeping things simple, but it doesn’t connect with our client management system. Lucky for me there is a service whose only purpose is to connect google calendar meetings to a client’s contact page in the management system (only $5/month). This works great, except when a client uses the booking software (only $10/month) since google calendar treats those appointments differently. Lucky for me there is a service (only $5/month) that changes the appointment type and converts it so that it connects to the contact management system. In January, when I have my money meltdown and scrutinize every line item of the budget, the widgets make my brain explode.
This is the widget world we live in. As time goes on, we are continually faced with something that incrementally makes life easier or brings some form of entertainment. Best and worst of all, most of these small improvements come with a near inconsequential price tag. It’s only $4.99/month…The issue is not the one off small expense, but the compounding addition of all these tiny widgets. In the past, you could count on two hands the number of monthly recurring bills you were responsible for. This becomes harder and harder as we tack on more and more of the wonderful new widgets. I have hope that my accounting textbook was right and that the market for widgets is indeed seasonal and the pendulum will swing back. Until then, beware the next widget that only costs $4.99/month.
Happy Friday! Please stay healthy and be safe!