Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

Why Must I Pay Twice For The Same Content?

August 10, 2010

Like many, I love to listen to audiobooks. Given that I read slowly, it allows me to get through books that interest me much quicker. In addition, it gives me greater flexibility as I can listen to the book while I drive.

For many books, such as novels, one listen to the book is sufficient. However as I mainly like to read business and marketing books, there are times where I would like to listen to the audiobook and yet have a copy of the ebook as a reference.

Yet today, assuming that I don’t want to rip a copy, it seems that my only option is to pay once for the audiobook and a second time for the ebook. This doesn’t seem reasonable to me.

It seems that the book publishing industry is still caught up in the old world model much like a large part of the newspaper and magazine industry. I want author’s and publisher’s to receive reasonable revenues but why should I have to pay twice for the same content?

And why can’t I buy an ebook once and use it on my iPad when it suits me and my Kindle when I want to read outdoors on a bright sunny day. Well, I guess the device manufacturers such as Apple and Amazon are responsible for this one together with the publishers.

I feel it is reasonable for book publishers to charge a premium if I want both the audiobook and the ebook but not double. And portability between devices should be a given.

And what about book rentals? There are many books that I would love to read but don’t want to buy all of them. In the physical world I can take them out at a library. Why can’t I do the same in the digital world?

This unfairness has miffed me for a long time. What do you think?

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The Facts Matter!

July 17, 2010

In a competitive world of 24/7 news channels and realtime online media, getting the story fast seems to trump getting it right. After all, if you can get 2 sources you can always retract latter as more complete information comes along.

And if you’re a big company, then it is reasonable to expect the media to be gunning for you, right? In his article in the National Post today, that is exactly what journalist Matt Hartley says about Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ response to the so called Antennagate story.

Matt suggests that by the use of facts and comparison of the iPhone 4s antenna problem to competitor’s products, Jobs will not win much sympathy and in fact many loose favor of consumers. It seems as if the media feels cheated out of not having brought Apple to its knees and receiving an apology or an embarrassing and expensive product recall.

There seems to be an implication online that upon hearing the complaints as put forward by Gizmodo and other online posts, Apple CEO’s appropriate response should have been to make an immediate apology to customers and investors and recall the entire 3 million iphone 4s. It would seem that according to many bloggers, taking an analytical measured response, like demanding the facts, doing testing and making a decision based on data seems to be the wrong way to go.

Well If the facts that Apple presented are to be believed, it seems that Apple’s iPhone 4 customers seem to be overwhelmingly satisfied with their purchase. And while the reception problem can be reproduced over and over in testing, very few real world complaints are coming forward.

After all, it is exactly because Apple consistently makes product that its customers ( and yes, Fans) want, and address their needs with the highest level of quality user experience, that Apple is no longer the little kid and has taken the dominant industry role.

In my mind, where a company and its CEO take logical steps to acquire the facts and then regardless of the outcome, offer to satisfy customers and refund them, no questions asked if they still are not satisfied, meets the test not only of being a good marketer but also good corporate stewards.

And if that still does not satisfy you, in the words of Jonathan Mann:

“if you don’t want an iPhone 4, don’t buy one, if you bought one and you don’t like it, bring it back”

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Is Constant Connectivity Costing You a Bundle?

June 30, 2010

Efficient Use of Time is Essential.

In this competitive age, efficient utilization of resources is essential to stay ahead of the game and there is no resource that is more valuable than our time. Yet with constant connectivity, we are bombarded daily with a barrage of phone calls, email, IM and Social Network notifications that make us feel compelled (or addicted) to respond to in real time.

Time Interrupts are Inefficient.

In addition to the electronic interrupts, there are the constant barrage of impromptu meetings that occur in the office throughout the day. With all these interrupts it is a wonder that we get anything done at all. What is the cost of this lost productivity?

Carve Out Some Time.

It is essential that you set some time aside each day where you can work in a uninterrupted fashion. In my case, this is early in the morning before I get to the office. In his blog posting “Breaking the email addiction” in the Harvard Business Review, Tony Schwartz gives some suggestions on how to wean yourself off the need to constantly stay connected.

Are you able to disconnect regularly? Do you schedule “uninterrupted” time? Let me know.

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OMG, Here We Go Again!

June 28, 2010

Leaders are targets for criticism.

Apple’s iPhone 4 hit the stores this week and already controversy permeates the blogesphere surrounding it’s antenna problem. Why is it that people love to write about and read about Apple’s flaws?

Critiques require context and comparison

I have seen many reports about how if you hold the phone in a particular way the signal strength is reduced and how calls get dropped. What I don’t see is a balanced comparison of iPhone 4’s signal strength and calls dropped compared with that of the  HTC Evo 4G and Droid Incredible, the Nexus One ,or a Blackberry Bold. Here’s what a real comparison looks like.

I don’t know if it will turn out that the complaints are isolated or whether Apple will have to fix the antenna by  recall or by software upgrade. What I do know is that once again Apple has a marketing success on its hands (reportedly 1,500,000 sold already) and respected bloggers such as Walt Mossberg say that iPhone 4 is “Top of Class” with the only reason he can’t recommend it is because of the AT&T network.

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Don’t conform, let your unique creativity shine through!

June 23, 2010

Change is good. It’s how we advance the world. But to create change we must dare to think differently from the current wisdom and think outside the box. So why do we teach conformity and stigmatize mistakes?

“If you are not prepared to be wrong you will never come up with anything original” – Sir Ken Robinson

While the world has evolved, the educational system has remained largely unchanged. We continue to teach our kids that if they study hard and follow the established rules they will find success. Despite that fact that each child has unique talents and abilities, we all send our kids to schools which by design require conformity and uniformity of thought.

In his 2006 TED Talk, creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson tells the story of Gillian Lynne the world-famous choreographer, which I believe is a good example in point. As a child, Gillian was underperforming in school and unable to focus and sit still.

Gillian was lucky that her hidden talent was discovered by a doctor and that her parents chose to nurture it rather than giving her Ritalin and telling her to calm down. Had that not been the case, Gillian might not have gone on to meet Andrew Lloyd Weber and choreograph some of the worlds best musicals including Cats.

Robinson asserts that “We are educating people out of their creativity” and goes on to tell us that “Creativity is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.”

Another case is from the life of Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, who dropped out of a more traditional college program giving him the freedom to enroll in a calligraphy class simply because it fascinated him. At the time it was hard to connect the dots but ten years later, as he was designing the first Macintosh computer it all came back to him. If he had never dropped in on that course, computers might never have had multiple typefaces and proportional fonts that we now all expect.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.”Steve Jobs

So if you feel that you are not already on the right path, don’t be afraid to choose to a new course. Be creative and most importantly, don’t let the discouragement of others hold you back.

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