How 4 minutes of twitter saved $102.68 (off topic)

I have been on twitter for a few weeks but never really used it all that much. Got a nudge from a couple of friends so Friday was my “okay lets twitter day”.

Here is a real account of what happened. Most of you that know me would easily agree I have a tendency to “measure every damm thing I do to get better” – but that’s my personality type. I have been an early adopter ofmost web 2 stuff, but only to see if it will save me some time, make my life simpler or make me show that I am as smart as my wife.

I sent my “friend” external twitter  to my closest friends (8 to be exact), not the public mukund one – since that’s for every one else. If you know me well you know my nickname and that’s my “friend” twitter name.

1. Friday 7:54 am: At school; dropping off the kids; I have a few min before the “door” officially opens, so I twitter “I am at school waiting with the kids.” Friend calls me in 2 min – says his forgot to pay $5.50 for his son’s “hot lunch” at Stratford. This is lunch money. He is about 7 miles from school. Asks me if I can go to the office and pay for. No problem I say. If he had to come by from work and drive to and from, it would have taken him 27 min (he is 7 miles each way) and Sunnyvale  by lanes and roads are average 29 miles / hour.

Savings: Gas 14 miles (he drives a 2001 minivan, assuming 14 mil/gallon – saved $3.29 (current costco per gallon price at Fremont). Plus he saved 27 min and at his current pay, that’s $28.8

2. 8:17 am: Both kids are at school, get into the car, my blackberry buzzes. Another friend says “@#$#@$ gas is now 3.92 at SFO.” I have to drive to meet Tom SFO (Market and Embarcadero). Prompted me to check my gas tank – hmm I could use gas.

Savings: My Audi takes 13.5 gallons and at 32 cents savings over SFO, I saved $4.32

3. 4.28 pm: Decide to check out early. Gotta prepare for Rishab’s birthday. Wife calls, saying can you pick up a few things before you come home? Gives me a list of 4 things. I twitter “Gotta go pick up stuff from Whole foods”. I get an immediate SMS and emails from 2 other friend’s wives – they give me a list of 3 other things. Mukund, we are coming to the party tomorrow, so we will pick up the stuff from your home. Average distance to the three friends to Whole foods (to and from) is 17 miles.

Savings: Total miles = 51, cost of gas @ 3.29 = saves 9.87. 3 friends saving 47 min each (not standing and waiting in the line, driving) totals 141 minutes and at their pay it saves us another $56.4

Total savings: 9.87+ 4.32 + 56.4 + 3.29 + 28.8 = $102.68

I know this is not much, but for something I like to do and the amount of time it took it was GREAT ROI – for my friends and their wives.

Here’s what I learned about using twitter for productivity gain:
1. Dont sign up to be followers for a bunch of “known influential twitterers” – much as I like some of them its too much information with not much value. – Keep it close to your friends and really people that can benefit from knowing “what are you doing”?

2. If I could setup folders of friends who I want to send messages to, that’s better. Beats email – which is SLOWWWWWWWW.

3. If you have a globally located team – like we do at Canvas Group, then twitter is awesome for team based collaboration. No point getting frustrated that Kalpesh is not returning calls quick enough from Bangalore because I know he’s with his friends at a bowling alley where connectivity is poor.