Last week I was talking to IT journalist Danny Bradbury about a forthcoming story. He booked the call using a virtual personal assistant. Coincidentally, he wrote a blog post describing his search for and in praise of his newfound sidekick:
The cost? Less than the revenue from a feature article each month. The benefits? Time, which as both a writer and a parent, is the most precious commodity for me. If I wanted to fill the time IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m saving with more work, I could sell more articles and make more dough, but I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think I will. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m hitting my financial targets, (with the cost of the service factored in), and for the first time in years, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m relishing the ability to take some Ã¢â‚¬ËœmeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ time and some more family time.
But I was surprised at how much they could do. Once I had registered at the website, I uploaded some personal data, such as my frequent-flier account numbers, and the names and phone numbers of my dentist, hairdresser and doctor. If I wanted an assistant to make purchases on my behalf, I could also load credit-card information in encrypted form.
That second article also discusses local assistants, should your demands be more of the ‘pick up my dry-cleaning’ variety.
For the average middle-class person living in this post-consumer age, time is increasingly replacing money as our scarcest asset. It’s funny (though not particularly surprising) how moving to Malta has freed up a ton of my time. If I were back in Vancouver, though, I can see how five or ten hours of somebody else doing mundane tasks would be quite useful.