It was a Thursday night around 10pm. I had just finished participating in a remote work panel discussion in Las Vegas via the Revolve Robotics Kubi. I turned on a podcast, got up to get a glass of water, and then broke my own #1 house rule: no liquids near the computer. You can probably guess what happened next. Yep. I spilled the entire glass of water onto my keyboard.

Before I could unplug everything and grab a towel, my beloved 3 year old MacBook Pro was dead. I immediately dried it off, turned it upside down, grabbed my phone, and googled what I should do next. The news was grim, yet predictable. Computers and liquids don’t mix.

Pilar Lisette and David in VegasI couldn’t believe it! Just moments before, I was sitting in a robot in Las Vegas with some of my favorite remote working experts. And in an instant, my portal to the world was gone. How could it be so easy?

Luckily for me, I have multiple backups for all my data: Time Machine, Dropbox, and Backblaze (I learned the lesson of not having a backup long ago). I plugged my phone into my speaker system, continued listening to my podcast, made myself a martini, and thought about what to do next.

I checked my calendar on my phone. I had an interview and two meetings scheduled the next day. I got my iPad mini (with my mini Logitech keyboard) and tested all the apps I would need: Working with a mini laptopSkype, Zoom, and WebEx. Everything worked great. I could also still respond to emails, access my to do list, talk to my teams via Slack, check social media, and edit documents. Hmmm… not such a huge disaster after all. The only downside was the mini size of the monitor (Oh! the bourgeois suffering!).

Coffee disasterDespite having a savings account and being able to afford a new computer, despite having all my data backed up, and despite being able to continue working fairly seamlessly, I still felt tremendous stress. I had a hard time sleeping and when I measured my resting heart rate in the morning, it was elevated by more than 10%. The stress was triple confirmed when I went to make a cappuccino and forgot to put my glass under the nozzle, spilling milk all over the counter.

Later that afternoon (after my meetings), I bought a new MacBook Pro and had it up and running within an hour. I also ordered some cups with lids! 🙂

My lessons learned (again):

  1. No liquids near electronics
  2. Have everything backed up at least once
  3. Have a backup system in place
  4. Have a financial safety net for when disaster strikes

Remote working is awesome, but it does have its virtual vulnerabilities. Recognize what those are for you and plan for when disaster strikes. I’d love to hear some of your disaster stories and what you learned.

Top photo by Walnuss – http://walnuss.deviantart.com/art/Water-and-flags-144926782