Let me first say -- I've been "exclusive" with Siri since we began our relationship almost two years ago.
I was faithful. I'd ask her questions, and she'd answer. Not always perfect, but never without charm. She even had a few funny jokes she'd tell. And I was smitten. But then -- the world kept getting more complicated, and she just wasn't keeping up. Sure she could answer questions about my schedule, and even send a text or two -- but when I began to try to plan a pretty complex trip for my family overseas, she just couldn't keep up.
I found myself falling back to a mix of Trip Advisor, Expedia, Travelocity and Hipmunk.
Needless to say -- my desktop and my phone were a cacophony of windows, links and random emails I'd sent to myself. Siri wasn't able to sort it out -- and for a moment, I was on my own.
Then, I found Rhoda. Rhoda was always there when I needed her. She was able to shift from email to text effortlessly. She could even respond by phone with direct and pleasant phone communications.
Just imagine this. I'm at JFK airport, waiting for my flight -- and the fog rolls in. The flight is delayed, then delayed again. Would I need to rebook, or fly tomorrow? I emailed Rhoda. Moments later she responded back -- there was no flight hold out of JFK, she'd even checked with American Airlines and found out that my flight had minor equipment issues, but it was repaired and about to board. You can imagine my relief -- not only was Rhoda able to check databases, she could even get a direct answer from American Airlines -- I was smitten. Siri just wasn't that sexy any more.
Then I put Rhoda to the test. I needed complex booking help for my multi-leg European trip. With many options, including either 3 or 4 travelers, various departure dates and even some question as to which city I would leave from and return to. Here again, she jumped into action, checking options and, amazingly, suggesting that I grab some tickets that I'd found online (not through her) because the price was great. Imagine, a travel advisor who didn't default to their own network of flights and hotels. She was understanding. If I needed to book things on my own from time to time, that was fine with her, she'd still help if I was in a jam.
So, I'm not dropping Siri. She's still great for some things. Local travel and maps in a pinch. And managing my email and texts. But for travel -- I'm now all about Rhoda. And she's pretty awesome.
Oh, yeah -- one thing about Rhoda that makes her different from Siri -- she goes home at 5:30 from her office in New Jersey. Yes, she does answer email and cell phone after hours (don't we all) but, since she's got to feed her family and get some sleep -- I do have to conform to more human constraints of time and space. Siri may be 24/7, but when you ask her to recommend good hotels in Rome all she can do is check how many stars they've got on TripAdviser -- after all, robots don't get out much.
Rhoda on the other hand, when she says a hotel is amazing -- I'm sold. Why? Because she's got one thing robots don't have. Taste.
Steven Rosenbaum is an Author, Founder, and Public Speaker. His book 'Curation Nation' was published in 2011 by McGrawHill Business. He is currently writing 'Adventures in the Cloud Economy', an exploration of how new technology platforms are providing entrepreneurs with flexible and cost effective building blocks for the new digital economy. Rosenbaum was named NYC's first Entrepreneur at Large, and blogs and speaks regularly about digital overload, emerging video form-factors, and curation. He is the CEO of Magnify.net You can follow him on twitter @Magnify.