Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Product review: Anker RoboVac 10

This is a first. I have never done a product review on my blog. To head off questions, no I am not being paid for this. No, I did not receive this item as a sample or promotional item. Yes, I paid full price for it.

With that out of the way, Anker RoboVac 10 is an automatic self-docking robotic vacuum cleaner. Basically, it's a Roomba. But is a rose still a rose if it goes by a different name and costs far less? I don't know. Never had a Roomba but I bought this Anker RoboVac last week on Amazon and it arrived couple of days ago. Setup was quick and easy but the vacuum wasn't pre-charged (more on this later). So I charged it overnight, set it to clean at 7:30 am and forgot about it. At 7:30 the next morning, it very quietly went to work. While the kids ate breakfast, "Robby" (as my daughter christened it...yeah we have a habit of naming everything...I am typing this on Maggie4) cleaned 2 bedrooms, a dining area, a hallway and the kitchen. Robby was still cleaning when we left the house an hour later. When I got back after work, the house was spotless...you know that "maid came while we were gone" look? That's how the house looked. And Robby was back on the charging cradle ready for another day of thankless hard work sweeping up after humans.

Pros

  • Very quiet
  • For a $199 device, it magically finds it way to the charging base every time
  • Goes under pretty much anything: bed, couch etc
  • Call me crazy but I like the idea of turning it on, leaving the house and coming back to a clean house.
  • It cleans all floor types: carpet, hardwood etc.


Cons:

  • No battery life indicator
  • The scheduling doesn't handle anything but daily cleaning. I like a clean house but I don't want Robby cleaning every day
  • Apparently, the Roomba has features that lets you map out where the robot should clean. Robby doesn't have that feature. I just made sure to close doors to rooms I didn't want it to clean...like bathrooms and closets.
  • Replacement parts aren't available (yet). It does come with an 18-month warranty.

Handling failure

Blogger's note: I wrote this last year but never posted it. It's still pertinent; so enjoy.



The past few days I have been thinking about failure. Not personal failure but professional failure. It occurred to me that while organizations are very good at highlighting success and awards, very few highlight how they handle failure. And even fewer job applicants are interested in knowing how a future employer handles failure. I have been conducting interviews for 5-7 years now and I have yet to have a job applicant ask me about my failures or my employer's failures. I think this is a very important issue. Because, let's face it, success is very easy to handle. Failure, by contrast, shows you way more about a person's/an organization's character.

If you are about to join a new organization, ask them what happens when they encounter failure. Do the managers look for scapegoats? Do the employees shift blame? Do managers and employees focus on solving the problem, learning from it and moving on? I think we can guess what bad organizations do; good organizations focus on solving problems while great organizations, in my opinion, not only focus on solving problems but also cycle back to learn from their problems.

So when you get to the interview portion where the interviewer says "Do you have any questions for me?", ask how s/he handles failure personally and how their organization/division/team handles failure. Like all interview responses, you can expect to get bullshit and PR speak. But hidden in the bullshit will be indicators that'll clue you into how the organization operates. If nothing else, I bet they'll remember you. And that's half the battle in winning at interviewing.