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

It’s official I’m a switcher — lessons to learn from an Imac

14 01 2008

It is no secret that I have been a Mac fan for years. Well for christmas I was finally given my dream — a get out of jail free card from PC hell. My new Imac is so great I should have done this along time ago. The one thing I have always loved about Apple is their ability to take technology and make it MORE valuable to you than anybody else. See creating new technology isn’t the same as it was 10 where if you had the next cool idea people would flock to it. Today with so many products on  the market its about convergence — products are about making your life easier and making thing work together. The philosophy in the tech industry has to be the same with your business which is this. What can you do to make your customers lives easier and more value from using what you sell?The greatest part of my new Imac is the same as my ipod — the technology gives me more time by using my computer.Let me give you my 1st case in point my digital camera. I got a Cannon ELPH for christmas a few years ago and of course I had to get the software for my PC loaded, then the PC had to recognize the device, then I had to open the Cannon program, then hit a button on the camera to let the PC know that it had pictures to upload on it, I then had to hit acquire to get the program to pull them off, after 3 minutes I closed the program because I could never find the pictures I just uploaded and finally go to the my pictures folder under todays date to see the pics in windows preview. I thought thats what you had to do all of those steps to get your pictures until 2 weeks ago. After setting up my Imac which literally took 4 minutes the system asked me if I wanted to see tutorials on Leopard OS I said yes. I was okay until I saw iphoto then I almost had a heart attack. All I needed to do to get photos off my camera was to plug it in to the USB in my Imac and then photos appeared INSTANTLY. No software, buttons to hit , recognizing devices just my photos on my computer. Hell I didn’t even launch Iphoto it did it for me. Now I thought my Ipod was easy but this blew it away. Now my life and learning this new OS is mostly realizing that Apple has made Leopard much simpler than I’m used to which is what we all need. My new Imac saves me a TON of time with the steps I no longer need to take doing routine tasks(more on this in later posts)My lesson for today is this look at the ways that your customer expect their lives to be hard what can you do to make it easier. A great example is this when people need customer service treat them better than you treat new or potential customers. Send them a Thank you letter or a discount certificate when anybody has a problem. Tell them you are GRATEFUL they brought this to your attention so you can make sure it doesn’t happen to future customers. Reinforce that you are truly sorry that they have had this challenge and do what it takes in their eyes to resolve it. Basically be HAPPY when people have challenges because they are giving you the opportunity to make your company stronger and probably more PROFITABLE for future interactions. I’m going to be posting on this next question in detail soon but ask yourself this everyday.WHAT CAN YOU DO RIGHT NOW THAT WILL ADD MORE VALUE IN YOUR CUSTOMERS LIFE?     

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.

WEBMASTERS – LISTEN–What can you do to make the customers experience Amazing

8 10 2007

The other day I was on and I was updating my recommended list. Once I got 5 minutes into that list I realized why it is that I stop working on it every single time. make the layout of the site easy but once you want to do something they make it a lot harder than it needs to be. So I wanted to tell them about the laundry list of things I saw they could do to make the customers experience easier and more productive. Guess what? I look through 3 pages from where I was and I couldn’t find a feedback link. Listen Amazon finding out what your customers think should be more important than selling stuff because when you frustrate customers you lose them PERIOD. So a feedback link (unless I am blind) should be as easy to find and as noticeable as that stupid gold box that I have never opened. Of course I instantly thought of my readers and I thought this is a hugely important topic that isn’t discussed often enough LOSING CUSTOMERS and what you can do about it. So this post is lesson one the customers experience.

So the first thing about their website is that they make it easy if you want to place an order but hard if you want to do anything else it become progressively harder. Let me give you an example I want to put something on my wish list and the next thing I see is a page of recommended items which I appreciate. However They don’t make it easy to do your only two choices — there is no direct link back to what you where doing before your wish list or selecting multiple things on the recommended list without having to go back and forth. At this point I have forgotten what I started and get frustrated and leave. My dumb ass forgets though every time I go back why I left–I was frustrated, lost and couldn’t find help so I start the hopeless crusade again. Hopefully I’ll remember now that they only care if I’m purchasing something.

So what does you customer feel about your businesses experience on line or off line? Have you keep with the times in your store design? Every knows that JeffBezos hasn’t done anything to make that website any better in 5 or 10 years. He probably thinks that since his company makes billions that he is okay but so did AOL when they pulled this junk of being the best.So talk to your customers and ask them (don’t ASSume) everyday about all the parts of their experience. If they give you things that they didn’t like be grateful because they my have just saved you. Sometimes just talking to our customers can save us more than a sale would give us in profit–not all the time sometimes. Become a people watcher step back and look how easy it is for your customers to see prices, get something off a shelf to look at it, or walk without trip over a display. Here’s the rule= just because you think something is completely obvious doesn’t mean that your customers will .

Your goal is to make the process of doing ANY type of business with you as enjoyable as possible. Give you customers an experience that leaves them saying "WOW "and that is one the keys to them coming back again and gain. After all look at Disney World the rides don’t change but why do people return year after year? Simple they want the experience of how they feel when they are there. If Disney could bottle that up and let people take it with them they would be trillioniares. Make your customers viewpoint and their experience be your number one goal and it will be sure to help your profitability

Apple CEO Steve Jobs–showing your most loyal customers how important they are

13 09 2007

The new IPOD Touch / IPHONE has been not only a hot release this past week but also hot bed of what to do when you let you most loyal fans down. I love companies that have loyal fans sometimes considered crazy because they show that a company is usually doing something that is so groundbreaking people want to believe in them. There are several but this week there was one of the best saves by a company I have ever seen by Apple. CEO Steve Jobs released great new products on Wednesday but for the first time I can remember one of them was clearly cutting into present marketshare. The Ipod Touch while it is amazing product out of the innovation factory of Apple also cut into the IPHONE market of just 3 months ago. For all those people like myself that wanted an Iphone but weren’t willing to switch to ATT now when can have the features we want without the commitment of the phone contract.

However fans got upset and rightfully so If they would have know about this maybe they wouldn’t have gotten the IPHONE. Now introducing new products the next week that eliminate other products has ALWAYS been the true cost of the ownership of technology. Thousand of companies do this all the time and if you don’t cannibalize your product yourself competition definitely will. However very few if any of the others have a fanbase as rapid as Apple. Now regardless of any of the reasoning of Apple or Steve Jobs that has been flying around the internet there is one very powerful truth that all business owners should heed. When your customers aren’t happy stand in their shoes look at the world from how they see it not how you see it.

The reason i’m posting is that Steve Jobs actually did something about this because he cares about his most loyal and passionate customers. He realizes that once you lose them it is almost impossible to get them back. After reading thousands of emails personally I’d bet that at he remembered how it feel to be completely neglected and used and told that you don’t matter. After all he did build Apple once and then his own board of directors threw him out after everything he had given. He realized more than others the very last people I want to deny is the people that help me rebuild Apple.

You can have a great product that changes the world but if nobody buys it –what good is it?

So when your most dedicated customers or employees have a complaint start listening to how they feel instead of what the complaint is. These people are so much more important than any fiscal document could ever show. These people create market share for you just look at how Starbucks launched a new city when they started.

For all the criticism of Steve Jobs I have seen I must say at least he did something about it where as many others wouldn’t. So for yourself whenever any of your customers are disappointed in something you do start talking to them. Asking them what they feel and why. Many times they will show you points that you probably haven’t considered and that can help you to make better decisions in the future.