Posts Tagged ‘ Steve Jobs ’

Is it a headache or is my hat just too tight?

Man, realizing how hard it is to keep this thing current!  I made the masochistic decision to run for – and ultimately win – a board position for my 8 year-old’s Little League (suffice to say it’s a full-time job with the meetings, emails, planning, etc.).  In an effort to remain current, allow me to cover off on events since my last post.  Enjoy the musings:

  • Steve Jobs postscript:  Of all my previous posts, the last one stirred the pot most.  Had a few who misunderstood my point of questioning the herd mentality of his ‘disciples’ and thought I was bashing the man.  I certainly wasn’t – but do feel a bit vindicated by his biography that paints him as a world-class A-hole (at least early in his career).  I have become a ‘ends don’t justify the means’ sort of guy.  I realize the guy created a better mousetrap but the way you treat people is bigger in my book – regardless of the level of ‘success’ the world determines you have achieved.  But I have to admit that those Toy Story movies are pretty great – long live Pixar!
  • Hank Williams Jr. fired from MNF:  Torn on this one… on one hand I really hated that G*d damn song from the first minute I heard it and couldn’t be happier that it’s now forbidden to be on my TV screen.  On the other hand, he was wrongly fired.  Hear me out (and I did consult a prominent DC attorney who happens to be of the Jewish faith to make sure my position wasn’t unreasonably insensitive)  For those living under a rock, ESPN took umbrage (and a barrage of negative publicity) when Williams mentioned in an interview that ‘Obama and Boehner hanging out was akin to Hitler doing the same with Netanyahu’.   Hanky-boy was summarily pummeled and branded an anti-Semite for bringing up Hitler in his analogy.  I for one don’t see the issue:  It’s not as if he was comparing one of our leaders to “Hitler” but rather that to point out the diametrically opposed ideologies that the two men share.  He easily could have used ‘Jesus and Pontius Pilate’ or ‘Bin Laden and Bush’…would he have gotten the ax if so???  I think not.  I know the Holocaust is an extremely sensitive subject, but still don’t see the issue with the analogy… but psyched I don’t have to hear that stupid a*s song anymore; maybe the folks at ESPN agree with me and just needed a reason to fire that dummy!
  • Herman Cain emerges as a viable Republican nominee:  OK, originally a big fan of the 9-9-9 plan due to its simplicity and seemingly fairness upon first glance.  Is the beauty in its simplicity or impossible that something which makes sense to the masses can actually work???  I missed the debates since Cain has emerged but he must be a realistic candidate because the accusations of sexual harassment are now coming out of the woodwork… which means he’s likely going to be our next President!  Welcome to the spotlight Herm!  (sorry, wrong Herm, but couldn’t resist an image of the original hero of the Miracle in the Meadowlands!).
  • American Horror Story: Generally not a fan of the horror genre – I mean who LIKES being scared???  But this show is fast-moving up the ranks of must-see-TV for yours truly!  The macabre is amazing.  And the fact that the ancient, decrepid maid appears as a hot piece to the main character summons a similar experience in my life:  I’m the only fan who liked the Ray Rhodes era in Eagles football history.
  • Eagles beat the sh*t out of the Cowboys on national TV:  I mean is there anything greater to a true sports fan?  This will be my rallying cry when I run for President — we can all come together in hatred of the putrid Cowboys.  A collective welcome of Tony Romo to the ‘never lived up to the hype’ list.  Move over Reggie Bush, Mike Mamula, JaMarcus Russel, Ryan Leaf, and Mike Williams (first one… don’t know where the second one came from… I’m talking about the dope from USC who had to sit out his senior year before being allowed into the draft… played for the Lions, Cowboys, and maybe Seattle or something now???  I think he’s eyeing a spot with Franklin & Marshall next season).
  • More Hank Williams…:  While on the topic of Hank Williams and his lousy song, can we PLEASE do something about the even MORE annoying Faith Hill rendition of Joan Jett’s “I Hate Myself for Loving You”, lyrically altered to squeeze in Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth???  I don’t get it… Isn’t Miss Hill a multi-Grammy award winning recording artist?  Can’t she write a song herself to be retro-fitted with “Al and Chris in the booth’???  And what about Jett? She wasn’t available to sing her own damn song?  Too many gigs lined up at Wolf Trap to spend the 2 hours re-recording the one song?
  • Peyton Manning out for the year:  Amazing I’m going to write this, but has there ever been a more obvious choice for MVP?  Wouldn’t that be something if Manning won the award without playing a game?  I have never seen a team be more dependant upon one player than the Colts.
  • Scandal in Happy Valley:  Wow, longtime defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky accused of sexually assaulting 10-year-old boys… and JoPa knew about it???  What a horrific end to a pristine program… while I type this, there are certainly more facts to come… none of which are going to be good…
  • NBA Lockout continues….: … and just about nobody cares.  I was supportive of the players in the NFL lockout considering the short shelf-life of the typical NFL player (3.5 years) and the physical damage they endure.  AND the fact that the median salary of $770,000 for those numbers of years means there’s a lot of guys putting their bodies at extreme risk for a relatively small amount of money. Seems like a lot, but see how long $1.3MM lasts when you don’t have much of anything else to fall back on.  (For you math majors, $1.3MM equals $770k x 3.5 x 50% thanks to Uncle Sam!).  The NBA Players are a joke by comparison – the fact they were getting 57% of league revenues is absurd when Spencer Hawes makes over $2MM PER YEAR for an un-Michael-Jordan-like avg. of 8 points per game.  What a joke…

Lastly, a tip of the hat to the Gansevoort Miami.  The wife surprised me with a long weekend in South Beach last week and we had an amazing time, in spite of gale force winds and a bit of tropical storm the last day.  The only issue was an incredibly poor wireless internet connection.  And for someone whose job never stops, this is akin to rusty nail stuck in the bottom of your foot while trying to run a marathon.  The Gansevoort has a very efficient survey process for guests upon check out… a brief survey awaits via email, waiting in your inbox when you return to the ‘real world’.  Being in the marketing industry, I tend to answer these things perhaps more than most.  But this time, I had legitimate reason to inform them of the internet issue — something that would definitely deter my future business.

What happened next was flat-out text-book with respect to CRM communications.  3 or 4 hours following my submission, I received a personal communication from the GM informing me of the steps they are taking to improve their internet service and as a goodwill gesture of thanks for not only my business but for helping them improve, have extended a free upgrade when I book my next visit.  It blows me away why more businesses don’t operate like this; it’s FAR easier to satisfy the customers you have than trying to acquire new, so why not do all in your power (within reason) to keep ’em coming back?!  Kudos to you Gansevoort… I will return, gladly taking that free upgrade, and will continue my perma-grin that appears every time I step foot at the Saturday pool party at Plunge!

And then the next day I’ll be left wondering, “do I have a headache, or is my hat just too tight?”

Steve Jobs

So we lost an American icon two weeks ago – Steve Jobs was a true revolutionary in the technology, personal computing, and entertainment spaces.  Alas, if you think this is yet another digital bl*w job, think again.  Quite frankly, I don’t get it.  Now all you maniacs who are about to press ‘comment’, stop; I do “get” all that the man did to make our lives better, keep us more connected with those we otherwise wouldn’t via a machine that gets smaller and smaller everyday making our communications and existence in general more convenient, productive, efficient, etc.  He may even lay more accurate claim to inventing the internet that our pal Al Gore.  But none of these eulogies are my intent… for you must merely peform a Google search to read all the platitudes.

What I don’t get is this outpouring of love as if we lost our closest relative (or dog for you PETA folks).  I was in Philadelphia two weekends ago (fitting, as I witnessed the death of Philly sports in one godforsaken weekend!), walking around Rittenhouse Square, when we happened past the Apple store.  I was struck by maybe a thousand post-it notes of sympathy for Mr. Jobs and sentiments of how much he would be missed, etc.  HUH??? 

So I really am not an unsympathetic wretch – I genuinely feel bad for the Jobs family – or any family that loses a loved one prematurely to a terrible disease (or any cause for that matter).  But this outpouring of love for a man who pioneered a ‘better mousetrap’?  Did we gather around the village bonfire to lament the inventor of the air conditioner when he passed?  How about the venerable Thomas Crapper?  (The first correct ‘comment’ to name that person and ID Crapper’s gift to society gets a free subscription to TC Ramblings!).  I would make the argument – and win EVERY time – that these two gentlement have contributed more to society but left in relative anonymity.  Why?  I have no f’ing idea!  I mean, part of the appeal of Jobs – I believe – is he was perceived largely as a nerdy recluse whose contributions far outpaced his compensation.  Not like those piece of sh*t Wall St. bankers who do nothing for the greater good of society but rather stuff their wallets, eat steaks, get fat, and seemingly never have anything bad happen to them.  (Hold on, need to post my protest location on FourSquare!).  But seriously, shouldn’t we have the same issue of paying $699 for an iPad that costs something like $42 to produce as we do b*tching about Bank of America charging $5 per month to utilize their debit card?  At the end of the day, just take your damn business to the bank next door that doesn’t charge for their debit card – isn’t that far easier than filling up my damn airwaves and print with treatises why this is ‘extortion’???  For the love of God, find another stinkin’ bank!

Which brings me back to our collective mourning of Jobs.  I have 2 theories:  1) Conspiracy (of course).  Could the saints that run Apple be behind this public outpouring of love and devotion?  Consider the post-it notes; could that have started with notes of support by the employees who were perhaps encouraged to affix to the store front?  Once that occured, then perhaps 2) the Pack Mentality caused the notes to take on a life of their own as our disaffected youth – fresh from their $100k education but lacking a job that pays even 25% of their investment and so meander the sidewalks looking like Zack Galafanakis wondering why nobody will hire them – pulled the ‘crazy pens’ from their Lands End back packs and simply joined the pack of sympathizers, emblazoning their 3×3 neon notepads with Hosannas?  Plausible. 

(Sidenote:  Don’t these Apple stores remind you of the Black jack tables at the Borgata on a weekend – 5 rows deep of people straining to get on the table to donate their money!  I go in those stores and dont’ know what the hell I’m supposed to do after faking like I know what I’m doing  by picking up various versions of iPhones – only differing in color!  I think the employees are somehow color coded but can someone show me the legend so I know who to ask what?  I bought wifey a MacPro Plus last Christmas – yes, I said it, CHRISTMAS! – and the sweet nerdy sales girl was SO damn smart… but man if she didn’t have the most awful breath.  Isn’t that how it always works?  We can never have it all… smart as a whip, even on the cute side of the ‘looks continuum’, but god-awful breath!  I guess they won… I bought the computer before sprinting outside for fresh air.)

OK, now the marketing lesson:  If you can get enough people to start behaving in a certain way, you’re almost guaranteed that the herd will follow.  Citing statistics, roughly 3% of us are true trailblazers who march to our own beat.  Know what makes the rest of us?  SHEEP!  Don’t worry, it’s good being part of the herd… safer that way.  But as sales professionals, we focus so much on the microcosm of every transaction and oftentimes miss the bigger marketing picture.  Sometimes I wonder what has happened to the ‘loss-leader’.  We all know about the hi-rollers getting the fabulous free suites at the Bellagio and the airlines rewarding the frequent flyers with free flights… why do they do this?  Look no further than the age-old strategy that keeps ’em coming back:  Forget about the occasional profit, identify those prospects or even current customers who have the ability to attract ‘followers’ and get them to YOUR marketplace – whatever the cost.  Marketing is about long-term brand and experience building.  Don’t fall into the quarterly earnings trap that stifles innovation.  Be the trailblazer with the zany idea; so long as its rooted in long term growth the sheep will follow.

Baah! Baah!  Baah!