Everyone in the technology sector has done field work. Visits to customers homes or offices to fix loose cables, mount antennas, install kitchen equipment, and to carry out regular maintenance are part of it. Sometimes, it is to touch base and find out how clients are doing and how you could make their lives easier. Others, to dismantle an installation and end a service, or check for the viability of a product or service.
We do field work all the time here, with The BRCK Expedition being the clearest example. One of our (less-enforced) rules is that whenever you go out of the office on BRCK work, go on leave or travel somewhere new you have to carry a BRCK to test and take photos; otherwise, you did not go.
It is exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. You meet new people, and see how your gadgets perform in the wild. In some cases, you climb tall buildings and experience the panoramic view of a town that those heights afford (anyone who has worked with antennas has done this). Most importantly, you learn how to troubleshoot and configure devices on the fly and think on your feet.
The feeling of accomplishment at getting people connected or making their lives a bit simpler and seeing the satisfied smiles on their faces is unlike anything you could ever feel. It is the warm glow of doing a good job that matters.
The best part of field work, aside from experiencing the impact of your products, is to gather feedback on what to improve. Field work validates or invalidates your assumptions about your product’s reception, usage, and performance. The office is an ideal testing ground since all the conditions are under your control. The field is another matter. It is the perfect testing ground. Incorporating the takeaways and test results into your product or service is a big step in building a usable, reliable and relevant solution.