iPad is Killing Jobs (US not Steve)

Somehow Einstein here made it as a Congressman and is now blaming the iPad for killing US jobs.  “Yes it makes people more efficient, but what about all the Borders bookstores that are closing down?”

Yes, let’s stop innovating to save jobs.  Let’s not consider that the amount of trees not being cut down to fill Borders bookstores while out of date textbooks being thrown into landfills may be having a positive impact on the planet.  Or that Borders is closing 517 stores while Apple has created 317 stores since 2001, and is planning on opening another 50 this year alone.  Let’s not consider the developers that are developing for the iPad and iPhone that have generated over $1 billion for themselves in the first two years of its existence and the amount of businesses that are growing through efficiency in the process.

No let’s not consider any of that, down with the iPad!!!

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This is my pen

This is my pen, I use it every day. It’s engraving says 9ft touch.

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I received this pen as a gift while working at the YMCA as a swim instructor during college. I taught private lessons to a young girl who’s only goal was to touch the bottom at the deep end.

I remember little about this girl other than flashes of her underwater with her eyes squeezed tight feverishly grasping at where she thought the bottom should be. Most of the time she was several feet shy. Sadly, I can’t remember what her expression looked like when she eventually succeeded. My brain tries to fill in the blanks but it’s doing nothing more than manufacturing filler of what I think her expression might have looked like. Memories are fickle like that. You don’t always remember the things you wish you could, but sometimes flashes of something random but vividly clear finds its way to the surface.

As is the case with my pen. Every now and again when my eye catches the engraving I’m transported back underwater watching a little girl with her right arm flailing for the bottom. I wonder sometimes if she ever flashes back to the moment where she was successful. Does she recall the feeling of accomplishment? Telling her parents? Shopping with her mother for an engraved pen? Or possibly my face when I opened the gift?

Excellent Customer Service

I was just on the phone with my credit card company as my current card expires in two weeks and I haven’t yet received a replacement.  I waited on hold for a reasonable amount of time then was directed to a rep who did the following:

  1. Listened to my issue
  2. Verified my identity
  3. Identified the problem
  4. Relayed the problem to me
  5. Fixed the problem

That’s what anyone could ask for when dealing with any company providing a service.  Except, I left out a few extra steps; It really went like this…

  1. Announced herself and said she was here to provide me excellent customer service
  2. Listened to my issue
  3. Apologized for having an issue and said she will do everything to fix the issue and provide me with excellent customer service
  4. Verified my identity
  5. Told me what steps she was going to take to provide me excellent customer service
  6. Identified the problem
  7. Apologized for the amount of time she was gone while she was identifying the problem
  8. Relayed the problem to me
  9. Fixed the problem
  10. Closed the call with a monologue about how she hopes that she provided me with excellent customer service while she offered me a 0% balance transfer

Needless to say, there were many unnecessary steps that could have turned this 10 minute call into a 5 minute one; Thus saving both the company and me valuable time to allow us to accomplish a little more in our day.

The funny thing about this situation is the complaints I hear from time to time(at Pervasive DataSolutions) that we do not provide phone support for our products.  Maybe it’s personal preference or a generation gap, but I’d prefer to never talk to a customer support rep on the phone assuming I could get the same quality of support over various other mediums.

Videos are the future salespeople

Video has more than a half century of sales experience under its belt, but now that YouTube has become one of the most popular search destinations it’s time more organizations utilize its power.  Salesforce has almost 1,000,000 views on less than 1000 videos, Google educates all of their new features and products with educational cartoons and smart small businesses do the same.  Educating potential customers on your industry with a helpful video like Salesforce’s ‘What is Cloud Computing?‘ is a great way to build trust and credibility.  You don’t need a media team to provide something great; a $200 flip camera, some creativity and the knowledge others want that you possess is all that’s required.

Here’s the New Yorker’s engaging video selling their iPad app

Fast, Useful, Simple and Stable

I’ve become frustrated with a lot of products and services lately and am making a declaration that the four core features that will make or break any experience is whether it’s fast, useful, simple and stable(FUSS).  Let me walk through some of my reasoning:

1) My internet connection – I’ve lived in my house for four years and have had three different ISP’s.  Cable, DSL and most recently have switched to Clear.  All I want is a stable 3-6 Mbps down and 1Mbps up(these are speeds of downloading and uploading information if you’re unaware).  I don’t want 25 Mbps at peak speeds if that means I have to live with sub-1 Mbps at other times.  I don’t want to constantly tweak my hardware and reset modems and check for signal strength.  I just want it to work as i’m told it’s supposed to.

2) Digg.com – This is a social news website i’ve been reading for five years to get tech and other news.  I go on and off with how often I visit the site, but I am a creature of habit and have been a loyal reader for a long time.  Recently they changed to a new version and the site is down almost every time I visit.  I’m going to get my news one way or another, in this case i’ve gravitated towards news.ycombinator.com and reddit.  As I said before, i’m a creature of habit and if these new sites are my new habit, Digg may have lost me permanently.

These two experiences recently have made me think about my laziness as a consumer and how quickly I will change direction if you don’t give me what I want.  I won’t even give the satisfaction of a text message breakup, I’ll just be gone.  I’m sure most other mainstream consumers are the same way as I see the same patterns when i’m the service provider.  Do you find that that FUSS is applicable to most products and services?  Is there anything that should be added or taken away?

 

Apple is building a Facebook competitor

Steve-jobs-one-more-thing

Whether you realize it or not, Apple is building a full featured social network that will serve as an incredibly viable Facebook competitor once all is said and done.  Yes they have released Ping and everyone realizes that it’s pretty weak in its current iteration, but it will get better.

What people are overlooking is that Game Center was also released yesterday.  It allows me to invite friends via my phone’s address book, create status updates and invite friends to compete against me with games that we both have.  If I don’t have a game a friend has, it shows me the name and price of the game so I can purchase it.

Let’s compare Facebook to Apple. Facebook has 500 million potential people to connect with and makes almost $1bill selling ads.  Facebook realizes that gaming is a great way to keep people using the site and create a revenue stream with Facebook credits to buy in game items.  So Facebook has the social graph but lacks in a strong development community and users credit cards.  Apple has tens of millions of devices in people’s hands and 160 million people with Apple ID’s who are already familiar and comfortable with purchasing through Apple’s ecosystem(Apple has paid $1bill developers through app sales).  They just turned on Ping and Game Center to begin building their own social graph that relates to music and games that will inevitably gravitate towards TV, movies and books as well.  Apple has the hardware, the development community and users credit cards, but lacks a strong social graph.

Seems to me Apple can easily create the social graph as people inherently have the desire to share music and games with friends.  If they move forward with giving MobileMe away for free(rumor), they’ll have the beginnings of the rest of the package.  Throw iChat and Facetime in the mix and we also have text/video chatting capabilities.

What am I missing?

My new QR code business card

I can’t even begin to explain how many times I’ve gone on a business trip or a meetup group only to forget my business cards. Randomly, my boss began attaching his contact information in a QR code within his email signature. At first I thought it was kind of a lame conversation starter until the lightbulb went off in my head. What if my iPhone wallpaper was a QR code with my info on it?

Without further adieu, my brand spanking new (21st century) business card.

 

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