Invest In people not panes of glass

5 11 2012

Apple used to be my favorite company until I got the perfect device then it scared the shit out of me. I have had every Apple device from the iPod up until I got the retina iPad it was too perfect. From that point I began to focus on putting down my iPod touch , iPhone and I sold the iPad. I realized these devices as entertaining as they were consuming me I wasn’t consuming them. What I thought was ten minutes was an hour. That’s when it dawned on me these devices are so good I was losing my time staying connected to them. I was texting when I needed to be talking. Just because it was faster , easier and/or smoother I didn’t realize all the emotion in my communication was gone. Nobody could hear my laughter when I typed out LOL. Hearing laughter, frustration, anger even a simple sigh is huge. We don’t even realize how important it is until it is all gone then we are left with this tremendous feeling of emptiness and we don’t know why. We don’t know why because these devices are so entertaining so engrossing so embedded that we lose sight of the fact the devices are ripping away our humanity and our real connection to each other. Apple is selling 5 million iPhone 5 and three million iPad mini in opening weekends and we think it’s coolest thing ever. When are we going to start asking what is the real cost of those devices and all those apps ? If you ask me it’s the most expensive cost of all those moments in your life you are wasting at a pane of glass instead of the people and moments that once they are gone are gone forever and then we are filled with the regret of what we missed while on that great device.

Do you realize that nobody ever talks about how much Steve Jobs empowered the customer

8 06 2012

I think the biggest thing Steve Jobs did was show people how important they were. For the first time ever he put the customer at the center of everything he did. Steve jobs keynotes weren’t about product introductions as much as they were the future instructional guide to new products. Have you ever wondered why every other CEO in technology sounds like a babbling idiot where 15 years ago the same conversation was an exciting display of computing power. See every other CEO put the machine, technology or whatever he wanted ahead of you the customer and said if you want a,b, and c capability you have to buy this to get it. Everybody dominated the customer mostly out of confusing them. Other CEOs would stand and still do saying mines faster, better, cheaper and they never ever tell us why those things are important to us. Steve Jobs always startedvwith the ultimate customer question . How to does having a b and c capability how does that change your life for the better? . It was never about the device instead it was ONLY it always how it could change you life if you used it. One great Steve gift he never said to the customer you need to buy this for these reasons. Instead he started with this what we have , this why it makes sense and here’s how to use it.

Think about this very powerful point — what happened to the instruction booklet.? Yes you remember that book that when you paid for your technology taught you HOW to use it. Usually written very bad but without it we could even answer these simple questions without it. How does it turn on, how to I put the batteries in right, and the best one that all devices from your VCR, cordless phones , alarm clocks and microwaves and don’t. Forget the Walkman even need this answered– How do I set this stupid clock anyway? . It was your role to figure it out for yourself and that was an extremely frustrating process . People hated the idea of the time it would take to learn how to use these great capabilities . This exactly why the tablet computer was around for years and a complete failure until the iPad showed up. The more complex the technology the longer it took to learn. Apple will never be beat for one reason that no matter what happens the customer is always the center of attention in every single thing they do. Technology was made for geeks not humans until Steve showed back up in 1997. Even though I never met my hero I could absolutely hear him ” We need to make this so simple and so intuitive the customers will forget they even need an instruction booklet. ” Here’s where you can truly see how extremely important your confidence is to Apple and this is how Steve turned the tables on his competition. Remember what would happen at Christmas with one instruction manual was missing. It was complete and utter disappointment till you found it. And yet I’ve never heard one person ever say this to me “where the instructions ?”when opening an Apple product. When you have created something so easy to use people don’t expect instructions or need them you have accomplished a miracle. You’ve given people the time back they had lost in the past. The power of the customers time ,confidence and trust that is generated to just start using the device instead of having to take time to learn how to by reading a book is enormous . How long did it take you to learn about you Sony discman versus your iPod or your old cellphone versus the iPhone and the most time consuming of all PC versus a Mac.
To think that my $700 iPad didn’t need any instructions to use is astounding. Can you do the same thing with a pc ? Nope and its Not even close.

13 Great reasons why Apple WILL be announcing the Verizon Iphone on Friday

15 06 2010

What this company is doing to every industry is phenomenal and you will never see something this amazing again. I will be the happiest person on Friday because I will finally know when I getting my Verizon Iphone  after 3 VERY long years.  Why am I so sure? Apple history will teach you that at least since 2000 this company follows an really solid pattern and we are about be amazed again.

1. Apple has NEVER and will never hold a press conference to fix something they hold press conferences to astound your life. Apple is not Lebron James, Toyota or BP has everybody completely forgotten that when they invite the press it is to somehow figure out to positively alter the quality of your life when it comes to computers. Steve Jobs would never hold a press conference to fix issues there is no value there. So stop assuming this event is for an Antennea or any other issue. Apple have not stated what this is about at all which is really neat to me.

2. When have Apple given literally one day to announce and hold a press conference? I don’t think ever. They love the hype of people trying to guess at what they are going to do so this is against their character to hold it so fast and on a Friday not Tuesday (but thats further down the list) They doing it fast so there is no time for things to slip out.

3. There was a email sent to stores saying “its coming” and  “its going to be really big” and I think that email and this event are definitely connected and they didn’t have time to send out paper invites so that to me is the teaser. “Its” has only been the number one request all employees have  been getting at the store whicj is Verizon Iphone and “Really big” is giving 96 million or more  people access to your best selling product. I used to work in retail and we used the terms to describe Xmas “Really busy”or  “Really Big” means all vacation time is blacked out and there is lots of OT to be had. So it could mean all employees need to prepare for the massive influx of business. Estimates are over 3 million in a weekend which it double what brought all ATT and Apple servers to a halt a few weeks ago for preorders on the Iphone 4.

4. That email part two– Do you realize that the Apple stores have never been given a heads up before an event? I know these might not be connected but just stay with me on this one. Why? They don’t want anybody to say something to soon. Some retail employee announcing before Steve Jobs would definitely kill all the clout they have but they need to give them a warning without telling them the what and that has to be why the email showed up. Again they know that email would be scrutinized but they can’t pull this off without major support from the stores. My guess they will offer it through their own retail first this time (remember the fiasco of ATT’s approval process with the first Iphone) this is if he announces and releases immediately which is  a long shot

5. Do you realize that if you go back just two years in Apple history and overlapped the announcements with 2008 and 2010 the timeframes are almost identical.

6. There have been ONLY two announcements in July (not June) in recent Apple history this is the 2nd.  What was the first? July 11 2008 –the App store you know that little thing that has over 1 Billion transactions in just 2 years was the first.

7.Why is this so Fast? PART 2 because verizon Management is under a gag order from Steve Jobs and they are not about to make the same mistake twice so they can’t tell their employees until Steve’s announcement. Remember the less people that know the better

8. How did Steve get these agreement(s) in place without anybody figuring it out? He used the Ipad and meetings with media companies mixed with telecom too. Remember how it was rumored that they were meeting with Verizon  and Sprint for the Ipad but then they announced ATT to everybody’s dismay and anger? That was the plan all along.

9 Why the heck did they chose Friday and not the normal Tuesday? Instant Gratification, speed and sales.  What if they did a announcement with an available immediately people would be standing in line immediately. I will. Weekend are the best time to release the product people shop most. Again they have to do this fast before somebody like me pieces the whole thing together

10 How they will use Friday to get Tuesday? Again go back 2 years July 2008 and Steve used the Earnings release as a way to highlight the brand new  revolutionary app store 10 million apps downloaded in 4 days and 1 million 3g Iphones sold  first weekend Believe you me when I say if Apple can do something to announce a brand new product or category for tuesdays call he will even though its not in the previous quarter but in the current one

11. Breaking the exclusivity –How did both sides break up and nobody heard about it ? Steve traded the Ipad exclusivity for time. The Ipad was never a part of the original agreement  and Steve gave it to ATT not because of the rates but 3 reasons–1 He gave them  IPAD first  them in exchange to amend the original agreement without penalty by say I’ll give you this for income if we agree to shorten the term    2 Always test a new product on what you know if has issues there are less variables 3 It works in Apple’s favor to have one way to get a new release and not 4 networks that way he builds desire among those who won’t or can’t get it. He probably tier the IPAD 3 g and WIFI for two dates not for manufacturing as much as being able to separate profitability for each company easier. Why was it in the middle of two huge releases? Does you “exclusive partner” change their DATA rates drastically for the Ipad and iphone and in the same week raise their early termination fee. It’s little like they took those intial Ipad customers and screwed everybody after them  over. You can ague the Iphone 4 release was the reason why but losing exclusivity has a much bigger impact on your bottom line (ask Sprint and Samsung)

12 Why would ATT give up the exclusivity before the term is up? They can’t handle the bandwidth, Steve already insured existing customers don’t run for the exits by getting probrably over 2 million of them back to ATT for the next two years by announce Iphone 4 on the existing network before opening it up to other vendors(Apple needs this as well cause it reduces Churn)

13 Steve loves being able to shock people into what they LEAST expect or don’t expect at all. That radically grow the companies market share Examples moving to Intel chips, the iphone announcement, the app store and developer models, I ad and finally the Non ATT Iphone. Rememer when everybody expected the original iphone to be 3 different devices NOBODY thought it would be one and Now everybodys expecting a minor hardware fix and they are going to get a MAJOR dose of Freedom.

PS Don’t worry he will fix the antenna issue but will be small time compared to what he has in store

Yet another reason why Steve Jobs and Apple are the best ever

20 12 2007

I love the Apple stores I always have. However I was walking through the mall today and I saw one of the greatest ways of show potential customers that we have plenty of staff here to serve you , they are easy to find(even from clear across the mall), and even with a completely packed store potential customers saw there was plenty of staff on hand that are HAPPILY serving their current customers in the Store. So the million dollar question is how did I get all that information will just a GLANCE at the Apple Store on my way to the Food Court at Christiana Mall. I’ll give you a hint it has to do with topic that I wrote about four weeks ago on this blog about Macy’s Department Store and their utter stupidity of how they present their employees. Do a quick read I’ll wait here if you haven’t yet you’ll understand what I’m about to share. So as I was saying before what colors your eyes use to make decisions on what to pay attention too.

Now NOT only did I pay attention but it ALMOST drew me into the store just because all the employees looked like they where having so much fun helping customers I wanted to feel like those customers felt– positive and relaxed (did I mention the store was PACKED– It’s less than 4 weeks till Christmas on a rainy Sunday at the mall ). SO I have 4 questions for you about my experience that I help to see why this was so amazing. First how was I able to see ALL the employees from across the mall? Second How could I tell that they had enough staff help a packed store? Third what the employees attitude was before I entered the store? and Fourth How could I have gotten all that info with just a quick glance? The answer was the color that all the employees where wearing got me to do that in like two seconds flat. I one of those colors that gets you to stop what you are doing and say whats that. With the backdrop of the apple store being clear it easy to see through.

The color is RED yes Stop light RED. We all do what we are taught as consumers or people. The rules that we have been taught when it comes to that color are plentiful. Our mind makes INSTANT associations when we see fire engine RED. It SCREAMS pay attention to me –your life my depend on it. So they used the color to send the same message but for a different reason. Who ever in Apple designs these little strategies is an absolute genius. Your eyes also reflect off of RED when you see it to determine its meaning. in other words you look for whats around it to determine its meaning. That’s how I was able to see the smiles because my eyes pulled off the shirts. It also allowed me to see how many employees where there compared to customers. Now that’s a Message that display ultimate shopping confidence– the one thing we are all looking for this holiday season–a reason to believe and trust in ANY retail business.

Why you need to look at Apple retail stores if you want to run a great(and hugely profitable)business

8 12 2007

Here are a list of just some things that you need to incorporate into your business Right NOW. I have picked them all up from Steve Jobs design of Apple retail business but they run a better business then anybody on the planet and it’s not because they make great products(wait that’s another post). Instead they understand what all customers want more than anything. An experience that literally transcends any other business (or human) interaction you have had before. Just look at this ever growing list of things they have given society.

1. The close when the last customer(s) leave not when a clock tells them to<shows customers they are #1>

2. The don’t sell they educate <people are mature enough to know when they are ready to buy>

3. They have instore classes all the time <even though you own their product that are not satisfied until you are in using it>

4. The use the clearest and lightest colors in their store <to make it some place you want to come in for the atmosphere and show you they HAVE nothing to hide>

5. You can stay as long or as little as you want with or without an employees help<please make yourself at home and I’m ONLY here if YOU would like me to be–to make your visit more ENJOYABLE >

6. All employees are armed(literally) with a credit card device that is ready where ever you are WITHOUT HAVING TO STAND IN ANY LINE(that’s a 1st–no waiting in line imagine that one)

7. They make ALL APPLE Store grand openings the EXPERIENCE of a life time. <Just like Disney World once in your life you have to attend an Apple store grand opening —you WILL feel the same emotion that YOU are KING>

8. If you Ipod breaks under warranty they replace it <they Don’t make you suffer because their product is defective or breaks–others try and find a way to put the blame on your actions and not honor the warranty–They feel it’s more important doing whatever it takes to keep the customer happy>

9. All employees are HAPPY to be there <makes the fact that you might need help less threatening because they WANT to give you anything you desire, instead of making you feel that they are only there because it’s their job requirement(ahem WALMART excuse me).

I’ll continue this list as I think of more great ideas

Knowing when your customers will buy!!!

7 09 2007

There is a way to easily tell when you customer is going to purchase your product. Then after they purchase it’s really easy to tell when they will purchase again. Every product or service has a life cycle . Most small business owners know when that life cycle is for their customer but rarely do they ever do anything about it. They simple wait for the customer to decide when they need the product then they hope that they marketing they have in place when the customer does feel they are ready is successful. Then hopefully they will get the opportunity to try and sell the customer. I don’t like the sit back and wait approach to getting the customer. My goal would be to be the first one in line when I know the customer is ready to make that decision.

Now going back to the basics I was talking about a life cycle. It can be a usability cycle meaning how long your product will last till they have to replace it. For example if you buy a tank of gas for your car how long will that tank last before they need to purchase another one? It depends on how much they purchase and what is their average speed and how many miles per gallon do they get. If you owned a gas station and started asking your customers these questions you might be able to use it to have them make their next purchase(s) from you. Give them coupon for soda or an oil change they could use they next time they make a gas purchase. The problem is most business owners think that they don’t influence the decision so they don’t try. When customers are crying out for these simple transactions to be made more valuable though either time savings or cost savings.

The next life cycle is not based on use but rather on trends When a customer FEELS they need to replace the product that is when a new sale is made. These are a lot harder to detect when they are going to happen but if you can find out the specific values and buying pattern of that individual you can have a good start. A great example of this is cellphones many people will not wait for a cellphone to die but rather when a new feature comes out that they desire then they get a new cellphone. Finding out how these individual people tick is the key to finding out when they will buy again. Maybe it is something as easy as they have to be a early adopter—somebody that has the desire to be the first to own new technologies. All those people that went out the very first weekend the Apple IPHONE was available and had to own it. However usually it is more involved as to why people want the new product.

Using your knowledge of what is influencing your customers decision can greatly help you out at this point. You should be finding out your customers purchasing motivation during the sales process. The question of what is most important to you when buying a ____________? This will help you to determine value about a feature or benefit of a product or service. There are several more questions surrounding this one that you can ask to determine how people make decisions that I can teach you about your business if you send me a email.

One of my mentors who in my opinion is the best at this is Harvey Mackay who own the Mackay Envelope Company and all of his sales people are required to to use the Mackay 66 which tell them everything that anybody would ever want to know about their customer. Look him up at

Lesson –the better you understand the customers reasons for wanting to own your product they better chance you will have to have them choose you over your competition when the time for them to buy arises.

Why the Iphone will ABSOLUTELY Affect your life even if you never buy one

30 06 2007

I’ve been watching the IPHONE hype now for a year. There is an AWESOME lesson to be learned here that if you apply it to your business will boost your sales. Most companies sell to you the things you want in your life –called the pleasure principle. Now most can do well and even do great if they present it better than everyone else or introduce the product to market. The truely bad side of this type of marketing and selling is that once somebody sees money being made everybody seems to jump into the mix. Of course then the market gets drained until the next great thing comes….

There are many great products many you don’t even think of that are 5 to 100x better than pleasure or a want based product. It’s a product designed, marketed and sold to take away what you don’t want. I like to call it the pain point product which is created to eliminate your negative experiences with another product. Pain point products sell faster, easier and the money you can make on this product IS NEVER priced according to competition but rather how much is some body willing to pay to alleviate the pain. IF your product takes pain away and replaces it with pleasure you have the GOLDEN TICKET in business. So when looking at your product instead of thinking what does this do for my customer? Think the opposite –what does may customer not like that without my product they would have ? or what problem does my product solve?

So where does the Iphone come into all of this you ask? It all started when Mr Jobs got into a completely crazy idea the make the worlds greatest cellphone. The problem Apple knew absolutely nothing about the industry and had never created any cell phone let alone attempt to create the best ever with the iphone.

So instead of going after them and trying to “one up them” he asked himself one of the most powerful questions ever that nobody was bothering to ask. What are all the things that people DON’T like about mobile phones? Those are the things the industry really needs to reinvent itself as you will.

So he found people current pain points and worked on designing a product from what they didn’t want. Then  create solutions that literally have other carriers terrified (like exposing a bad secret). The cellphone industry forces users to a way of using the phone that they control and is based on that companys way(ex motorola and nokia may do the same things but the way the menu is set up is unique to each company) . They traded of ease of use for technology and as they added more features phone became HARDER to use. Of course they didn’t care they figured if we continue to add more stuff people will buy it and its work for the last 15 years.

Now is the time people need to be heard.

So the iphone was created. It will be wildly successful even at $500 or $600 because people ARE willing to pay to have a phone that is the intuitive and easy to use. Then after he created valued solutions then he ONLY then he looked at putting things in it that nobody had ever seen.

The reason why the iphone will change your life is that finally manufacturers are looking at the TOTAL experience of the phone instead of just the features of the phone. So even if you never buy a iphone the next phone you do buy will probrably be influenced by the massive impact that Steve Jobs has done. Thank you Apple for yet another product in the iphone that make my life easier and remarkably better.

If you look at my tab called out of the box you’ll understand why if you learn to think in ways others don’t you too can create incredible products and make lots of money.