A few years ago, I had found a new job. As most jobs in tech, it required an intensive amount of sitting. To combat that, I went on a 15 minute walk every few hours. I also took the stairs instead of the elevator. One day, while on my exhausting stair climbing run, I found a pair of Bluetooth earphones.
It wasn't just any pair of earphones. These were $400 earphones. I tried to pair them with my phone and the quality was just astonishing. I can only imagine that the owner, who was also a stair taker, was very frustrated for losing these. Since I didn't know who it belonged to, I left them on my desk, waiting for someone to send an email about lost earphones.
A week later, there were no emails and the earphones were still on my desk. I decided to make a poster: Found Bluetooth earphones, please contact me to retrieve them. I printed it, and posted it at the entrance of the building, and by the stairs right were I found it. I put the earphones in a drawer, just so no random person snatches them.
Weeks went by, no one ever contacted me. On my regular stair run, I would see the poster still hanging on the wall. Eventually, it was removed and I forgot all about the earphones.
Many month later, I had a meeting. The meeting was in building 5. It was a large company. On my way to said meeting, which is a good 12 minutes walk from my desk, I saw a poster. It was on the corner of a board, next to a dozen others. But I recognized the earphones from the picture. I wrote down the name and desk location in my meeting notebook.
When I came back to my desk, I immediately looked up the person's name in the company's directory. I couldn't find it. I should have taken a picture of it instead. I didn't want to walk all the way back to the other building, so I tried something different. I logged into our bug tracking system (Jira) and search for the name there.
Bingo! I found it. But the name was in faded gray and the next to it were the words Inactive. This usually happens when the person leaves the company. I didn't give up yet. I looked for that person's immediate supervisor. To my surprise, that name was also grayed out. There was nothing I could do.
I left the earphones on my desk. I used it a couple times on the days I forgot to bring my own earphones. Eventually, I left the company. To the best of my knowledge, they are still in that drawer. But that was a long time ago. Despite wanting to return these earphones to their rightful owner, I couldn't.
But what if there was a service where people could register their valuable property. If they ever lose an item, they can notify the registry and anyone who finds it, can contact them with a touch of a button. Wouldn't that be nice?
Well, such service does exist now and it is called ottomon. Register all your valuable devices right now and if you ever happen to lose them, the world is filled with good people who would return them back to you instantly.