Archive for April 2012
This isn’t to say that Apple can’t be contaminated by the toxicity of success, or that the spots of mediocrity we can discern here and there (and that were present when Steve was around) won’t metastasize into full blown “bozo cancer”. But for those interested in company cultures, the more interesting set of questions starts with how Apple will “Think Different” from now on. Jobs was adamant: His successors had to think for themselves, they were told to find their own true paths as opposed to aping his.
From a distance, it appears that Tim Cook isn’t at all trying to be Jobs 2.0. But to call his approach “legal/bureaucratic” (in the Weber sense), as Colony does, is facile and misplaced.
[Interesting analysis. Loving "bozo cancer" though. That's a useful term of disdain.]
Indeed, this madness was invented in the late ’90s and helped perpetuate the first dot-com meltdown. “Mark-to-mystery was developed as a large part of the last bubble, but it’s gotten a lot worse this time around,” Mr. Kedrosky said.
When this next bubble pops — and it will pop — the idea to make no money can finally pop, too. Then investors can start working with companies to build businesses that have long-term financial goals, instead of just building a short-term mystery.
[Bad news all around. Money remains the root does it not?]
Source: Daring Fireball
Google’s purchase of SketchUp a few years ago struck me as curious, but they used it as the platform for Google Earth models. Now, selling it strikes me as curious. What does this mean for Google Earth? Maybe they haven’t figured out how to shove it into Google+, so they’ve lost interest.
Source: Coyote Tracks
Revenue is up year over year, although profits were down. This caught my eye:
“I’m excited to announce that we now have more than 130,000
new, in-copyright books that are exclusive to the Kindle Store –
you won’t find them anywhere else. They include many of our top
bestsellers – in fact, 16 of our top 100 bestselling titles are
exclusive to our store,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of
So 16 percent of bestselling titles are exclusive to the Kindle Store — and the
Department of Justice is investigating Apple’s iBookstore. Got it.
[I've nothing to add.]
Source: Daring Fireball
No, they won’t respond to a better-than-them pitch. Instead, they’re much more likely to respond to a new statement of their problem and a new statement of the solution. Don’t ask them to announce that they were wrong when they decided that they didn’t need a tablet, a survival kit or an anti-impotence drug. Instead, make it easy for them to make a new decision based on new information.
[A lesson that needs to be heard in many fields.]
Source: Seth’s Blog
It’s a little bigger than a Macbook Pro power supply, and twice as thick. It has a clever water reservoir, any .5 liter or smaller water bottle snaps into a fitting, and will supply 6-10 hours of vapor, depending on the setting.
Berlin apartments are as dry as a brush fire, so we also ran it all day in the living room, and even in a large room, it made the air so much more pleasant. Then we ran the Air Swiss all night for the baby, and again it performed perfectly. That’s day and night for 30-days non-stop; it’s built solid.
The only drawback is that there is a rather bright blue light that illuminates the vapor when the unit turns on, which changes to a red light when the water bottle is empty. If you’re a light sensitive sleeper, it might be an issue.
[Heh. I like it.]
Source: Cool Tools
You mean like how google drives around filming the world, mapping your home wifi network, and when you complain tells you “Set up your network better”? That’s scary, but of course, that’s not what he’s scared of. Because that would be evil and google’s not evil.
Brin said he and co-founder Larry Page would not have been able to create Google if the internet was dominated by Facebook. “You have to play by their rules, which are really restrictive,” he said. “The kind of environment that we developed Google in, the reason that we were able to develop a search engine, is the web was so open. Once you get too many rules, that will stifle innovation.”
How about the environment where Google can kill your adwords account at any time, keep your money, and not even have to tell you why. Or the clause wherein if they think you knew about a “violation” of the Adwords ToS, which of course, they never tell you what that violation actually is, because it would reveal “proprietary” data. Funny how Google is open only when it’s convenient. So a company well-known for arbitrary application of rules, and heavy-handed handling of violations of those rules that are never actually revealed to the people who violated said rules is “worried that facebook’s rules are restrictive.”. Clearly Sergey is an atheist. No one actually afraid of a hell would be that much of a hypcritical twonk.
[Introspection is hard. Google has not mastered it at all.]
I agree with one thing: sustaining high profit margins is difficult. But where Denninger goes wrong is in assuming that competitors can easily or quickly copy what Apple is doing. His argument is no different than the dire predictions for the iPod a decade ago. Yes, Apple’s hardware margins are extraordinary. But Apple is an extraordinary company. They have an unparalleled retail presence, a top-shelf brand, and a loyal, large, and growing customer base. They write and design their own entire software stack, have incredible third-party developer support, and, by selling very large quantities of a relatively small number of hardware products, attain astounding economies of scale.
I’m not saying Apple’s continued success is assured. But there’s no sense in an argument based on the supposition that Apple is in any way a typical hardware maker.
[It is always easier to throw rocks.]
Source: Daring Fireball
Most people don’t have great taste. (And they don’t care, so it doesn’t matter to them.) They usually like tasteful, well-designed products, but often don’t recognize why, or care more about other factors when making buying decisions.
People who naturally recognize tasteful, well-designed products are a small subset of the population. But people who can create them are a much smaller subset.
Taste in product creation overlaps a lot with design: doing it well requires it to be valued, rewarded, and embedded in the company’s culture and upper leadership. If it’s not, great taste can’t guide product decisions, and great designers leave.
No amount of money, and no small amount of time, can buy taste.
[I'm not sure I quite agree with the "People who naturally recognize tasteful, well-designed products are a small subset of the population" line. I think the subset is those who *think* about the design, rather than the more common, "yeah, that works, yeah, I like it" intuitive understanding majority. Since taste is the ability to discern and consider the differences rather than intuit them… The argument here is simple, most people would gravitate toward a better a better design, but they let a whole slew of other factors (what they've been told and by whom, and their own biases of many years etc) get in the way. Remove some of this, and the design that works, one that provides a good experience, every time.]