Steve Jobs is just making silver-painted Styrofoam police badges

The iPad has been out for a day now, so that should have been enough time for all the pundits and Apple-know-it-alls to gripe about what is missing from the iPad, what should have been done differently, etc, etc, etc. And they are all very wrong because Steve Jobs really doesn’t care what you think or want. I know that has also been said before but before you dismiss me as another me-too thinker, let me share a short story with you.

When I was a puppy, we used to play a lot of games like cops and robbers. My parents were good Catholics, so that meant there was a rather large litter of us, all pretty close in age. My dad didn’t make much money and my mom was a stay-at-home, always in the kitchen, don’t bother me kind of mom, so there wasn’t a lot of money for toys. We made a lot of necessary accessories like pistols and billy clubs out of tree branches and whatnots. (It was a long time ago; guns were ok toys back then, even pretend ones made out of twigs.)

When I was about nine or ten years old, we got a catalog in the mail that had a whole section of cop badges you could order. Suddenly, without question, our cops needed badges. I started making badges using the Styrofoam trays meat was packed in. Turns out, if you traced the outline of the badge from the catalog, cut it out and then traced the inside detail lightly with a dull pencil, it would make an embossed badge. Paint that with silver paint used for model cars, tape a safety pin on the back and you had yourself a slick looking police badge.

Then I got to thinking that if I thought this was a good idea, other people would to. I made a few more and sold them to other kids who played the cops in our games for I think $.25 or something like that. Nobody really needed the badges to play a cop in cops and robbers, but it sure made the game more fun. After a bit, nobody wanted to play a cop unless they had a badge.

But here’s the thing: I made the badges because I wanted to create a game where the police characters sported really cool badges. I didn’t much care if they had all the features that others wanted (like a multi-color seal or gold eagle and silver base) or even if they were necessary for the game. In my mind, a world that had cops without badges was just not going to be a world I wanted to be in, pretend cops or not. If other kids thought it was a cool idea and wanted to buy a badge, that was ok, but it wasn’t necessary for me to have a market for silver-painted styrofoam badges for me to make the badges.*

And that ultimately is how I think Steve Jobs sees his world. He created the Apple computer because he wanted a world where small, personal computer existed. He created the iPod because he wanted a small, portable music device that worked in a non-technical way. Same kind of thing for the iPhone and iPad. The fact that lots of other people want these kinds of things too is incidental.

Steve Jobs is just making silver-painted Styrofoam police badges.

*The product line branched out to cop hats (made out of blue construction paper, kinda cool really) and belts before I grew up, discovered girls and that was that.

Zune couldn’t play Auld Lang Syne at midnight

Zune
Zune
Apparently, a Microsoft Zune model couldn’t do the leap year calculation for 2008 and ending up freezing for it’s owners yesterday. In the WSJ, they reported that “… Zune owners flooded blogs and Internet chat sites to complain they couldn’t listen to music…”

What? How much of a flood could 12 people worldwide create?

All I know is that all three iPods and my iPhone were capable of playing Auld Lang Syne at exactly 12:00am on January 1, 2009. Even if I had to wait an extra second.

I hate AT&T Wireless

I hate AT&T Wireless. I hate them with all the rage and visceral hatred reserved for really crappy bosses and ungrateful relatives. Here’s why.

I have an iPhone. The only way I can make an iPhone work is to connect it up to the AT&T Wireless suck-o-meter. AT&T knows this and they press their advantage. Only 900 minutes and 1500 text messages a month for an insane amount of money. I also have a Verizon Wireless account that services five phones, has 1500 minutes and unlimited text messaging for $38.00/month LESS.

I hate AT&T Wireless.

Not because they are more expensive, but because they take extreme advantage of their advantage they have over me right now. When I am able to use my iPhone over another network, I am dumping them.

Brands create loyal customers, champions and evangelists when they have an advantage and DON’T exploit it by over-charging their customers. All things change and eventually, I will break free. While AT&T Wireless may have made out with a few extra bucks while I was in their prison, they squandered the opportunity to get my money during a lifetime.

I hate AT&T Wireless. Passionately and completely.

Another example of obtuse marketing

Really cool speakers I didn't buy.
Really cool speakers I didn't buy.
I was in a Sam’s Club this afternoon, cruised through the electronics and noticed this really cool speaker set by HMDX Audio. The speakers were rechargeable and wireless. Wow, really cool. Except it said it worked for iPod.

Well, did that mean iPhone 3G also? I don’t know, but I had an iPhone and they had a web site. I fired up Safari, plugged in the web address and was stopped faster than a snowball against a brick wall. The entire site was in Flash.

I left the store without buying the speaker set. Too bad, it was really cool looking and was my impulse purchase for the week.. perhaps the month.

If you sell Apple anything, do not make your Web site using Flash. Honestly, don’t you know we all have iPhones? Except one person in Ohio who maybe bought a Sprint Instinct instead.

Google phone with T-Mobile.. Seriously??

The first cellphone running Google's Android software was unveiled Tuesday. (Reuters, stolen from wsj.com)
The first cellphone running Google's Android software was unveiled Tuesday. (Reuters, stolen from wsj.com)
Google unveiled the G1 phone today. Ok, that is good, but what is with these top tier companies like Apple and Google partnering up with crappy service providers like AT&T and T-Mobile?

The devices may be cool, but if there is no network attached to them or it takes minutes to send and read simple emails or bring up a web site that users are accustomed to loading quickly via their broadband connections, who cares? More than once in the past week, I can picked up my low-tech Razr with Verizon phone just to make simple phone calls and send text messages because my iPhone had that No Service message at the top.

Guys, pay attention to the network as much as you pay attention to the touch screen and phone apps. No network means no phone.

Oh, yeah.. and since Time Warner RoadRunner has been down for OVER A WEEK NOW, my Verizon wireless card has been going strong.

If you’re not local, you are nowhere

My favorite comedian is Ron White and not because he is the funniest guy around, but because he hands me lines like “You can’t fix stupid” and “I told you that story to tell you this…” among others. Try them out in conversation; they work.

Anyway, during one of his rants on stage where he drinks, smokes and talks, he tells the audience he has a bulldog named Sluggo and because of that, he says people think he is a dog person. His retort is, and I am paraphrasing, “I care about my dog, I don’t care about yours.”

Without knowing it, he has handed the world the best marketing mantra ever. I don’t care if McDonalds sells over 43 billion hamburgers; I only care about the one I just ordered. I don’t care if a soccer tournament has successfully managed the scores of over 900 games in a period of two days; I only care about my team’s scores being correct. I don’t care whether or not Apple has sold over $1 million iPhones in a day; they didn’t have one in stock when I went to buy one at the Mall of America early on a Monday morning.

Nobody cares that your Web site serves up jobs across the country. Do you list a job in their city, in their neighborhood, in their industry. This is why Craig’s List is so successful; they understand that to dominate the world, you must dominate neighborhoods, one block at a time.

If you are not local, you are everywhere and nowhere all at the same time. And now I have to go dominate some bushes at the house on the corner. Tony, you know I’m talking about you 😉

Addendum:
Reading the WSJ later and saw an article about a local news station in San Diego “breaking out” of the traditional anchor desk format for the local news. It’s about damn time these stations started thinking local instead of copying a model that has been outdated and boring for years. When Jon Stewart sits at a desk, that is the ultimate poke in the eye to the format! Now real TV stations are finally getting “the joke” the rest of us dogs have been snickering about for years. When you look like everyone else, you look like nobody. And, WSJ can’t you make your online sections be the same titles as your newspaper?