Tag Archives: Apple

Steve Jobs’s Infamous, Childish Prank

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Return to Apple

In February of 1997, after Apple had failed to deliver its operating system, Copland, CEO Gil Amelio turned to NeXT Computer (a company owned by founder and former CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs), and the NeXTSTEP platform became the foundation for the Mac OS X.

Steve Jobs returned to Apple as an advisor.

Strategic Manipulation of the Playing Field

Apple’s stock continued to slump and hit a 12-year low in Q2 1997 that was at least partially caused by a single sale of 1.5 million shares of Apple stock on June 26 by an anonymous party (who was later confirmed to be Steve Jobs). Apple lost another $708 million.

On the July 4, 1997 weekend, Jobs convinced the directors to oust Amelio in a boardroom coup; Amelio submitted his resignation less than a week later; and Jobs then became interim CEO on September 16.

Now, Jobs’s strategic selling of 1.5 million shares was a brilliant, albeit sleazy, way to coerce the members of the board to put him in as interim CEO. Even when Jobs was at Apple previously, he was never the actually the CEO.

They did not know at the time that it was Jobs who sold the shares that caused the company to fall into a state of desperation. However, it’s hard not to admit that it was a brilliant move on Jobs’s part, and he more than made up for it once he was given the position.

Rise to Glory

Jobs brought Apple from near bankruptcy to profitability by 1998, with the creation of the iMac. Around that time, he also secretly began development of the iPod, iTunes, and a plan to create Apple retail stores.

With the completion and release of those products, along with appealing designs and powerful branding, in 2000 Jobs dropped the word “interim” from his title, meaning he was there to stay.

Many people are familiar with these details, as Jobs went on to continue creating amazing products and bringing Apple unparalleled success. He went down as one of the most influential inventors / businessmen in history. Jobs is also known for his ruthless, tyrannical management style, oftentimes belittling employees for mistakes.

What’s My Age Again?

What many people don’t hear about, however, is Jobs’s childish side. During the period of time that Jobs served as interim CEO of the company, it was generally accepted knowledge that Apple was searching for a CEO that would replace Jobs. They put him in that position, against their own fear that Jobs wasn’t really up for the role.

They didn’t know who else to turn to, so they decided to give him a shot, but they made sure he and everyone else knew it was not going to be a permanent gig, by adding “interim” to the title.

Jobs wasn’t concerned. He is a visionary, after all, and he could see years ahead of time how the pieces were going to fall together in his favor. He knew it was only a matter of time before the rest of the team saw what he was capable of and make him the permanent CEO.

Despite Jobs’s confidence that everything would go according to plan, it was still public knowledge that his role was temporary. There was an extremely ambitious man, named Michael Murdock, who was working as a computer consultant, but believed that he would be the best choice as Apple’s new CEO. He had certain unique ideas for what direction to take the company moving forward, and he pursued this role using the most state-of-the-art method of 1997: an email campaign.

He sent roughly four emails to various members of Apple’s board, as well as Jobs, detailing why he would be a great choice for CEO and be “the man who could save Apple.” Personally, I admire his ambition. I’ve tried to send emails to people of significant power before, thinking “there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.” If you manage to spark some intrigue from one of them, than the crazy plan worked.

Jobs, however, did not share my admiration for this man’s ambition and ingenuity. He saw it as an insult, since secretly he wanted to remain at the CEO position. He was not about to consider recommending putting somebody else in the slot in Apple’s best interest, because he believed that himself being in that slot was in Apple’s best interest. So, these emails really annoyed Jobs.

Jobs and Larry Ellison, Jobs’s friend, fellow board member of Apple, and eventual CEO of Oracle) sent out e-mails, two days before Christmas, appointing this man, Michael Murdock, as chief executive of Apple.

“OK. You can have the job. — Larry,” came the first message in the e-mail basket of Michael Murdock, the 36-year-old who had campaigned for Apple’s top spot.

Right behind Ellison’s e-mail came one from Jobs: “Yep, Mike, it’s all yours. When can you start?”

Hilarious, but Too Much

When Murdock, who took the emails seriously, replied that he would start work January 5, he got this email from Jobs:

“Please do not come to Apple. You will be asked to leave, and if you don’t, you will be arrested.”

Why Can’t a Tech Giant like Google Have Amazing Customer Experience?

Is a company like Google too large to make huge impacts on their customer service? I don’t think so…

Now, to be fair, when I complained that the iPhone App for Google+was no longer working, I did get a comment from +Vic Gundotra, who “plus-mentioned” someone else (I’m assuming the person responsible for the Google+ App for iPhone).

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The iPhone App has yet to be fixed, but I give Google major points that the person in charge of Google+ actually read my post and passed on the information to someone who may actually be able to do something about it…

I sent +Vic Gundotra  a private message about this, thanking him and offering up a suggestion, but I don’t know if he read it or not (he never responded, but he is a busy man), but it’s not private information. It is a deeply held belief of mine, so I don’t mind sharing my advice on this post…

Companies Make Mistakes

Shit happens. From my many years managing in the restaurant industry, I learned that no matter how “tight of a ship” you run, occasionally the ball is going to get dropped. At my restaurant, it might be a spilled drink tray or an undercooked piece of meat. For Google+, it may be the iPhone App breaking or various other bugs that occur from time to time.

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The two are actually a lot more similar than a lot of people realize (running a restaurant or running a billion dollar tech company). Both occur in real-time, right in front of the customer. There is no “down time” during the operating hours of a restaurant, just as there is no “down time” during the running of a social network. They can’t just magically fix all the mistakes while things are shut down and reopen the next day fresh.

They have to stay running on all other fronts, in addition to fixing whatever went wrong. A restaurant has to continue serving all of its other patrons, and a social network has to keep functioning for all of its other users, while the problem gets fixed in the background (at the same time).

Initiating a Moment of Truth

This is what I used to call it when something bad happened at the restaurant. It is not a ‘problem’… it is a ‘challenge’ that gives the business an opportunity to show what they are really made of. As I said, initially, companies make mistakes (even the best companies). How the mistake is handled is what separates the weak companies from the strong companies.

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The “problem” that occurred is an opportunity for the business to:

  1. Apologize for the mistake.
  2. Let the guest/user know that a solution is being worked on.
  3. Fix the problem (get the right food out or work out the kinks in the Google+ iPhone App).
  4. Make it up to customer/user (with restaurants, I would comp a guest’s meal, but with a social network they may need to think outside-the-box on this step).

I was the only one that I know of that complained, but I’m sure the bug in the iPhone App affected all Google+‘s iPhone users. To make up for the iPhone App being unusable for multiple weeks, perhaps on the next App update, they could include an extra feature that is iPhone-exclusive.

So, a way +Google+ could “initiate a moment of truth” would be:

  • issuing an official statement that explains the error
  • that they fixed it.
  • they are including an extra special feature in the next update to make up for it.

Another way Google+ could initiate a moment of truth would be:

  • issuing an official statement.
  • that they fixed it.
  • maybe offer a couple free songs from Google Music (a way to apologize, and secretly convert iTunes users over to using Google Music).

The fact that +Vic Gundotra  took notice of my post at all was huge for such a large company like Google… and I can infer from his plus-mentioning of someone else that it’s being taken seriously. However, Google could take it to the next level of customer experience by doing something like the examples I’ve listed above.

I know that it is such a large-scale user base that the individual can get lost in the shuffle, but I don’t think the solutions I’ve suggested above are unreasonable for Google to do, and it would set them apart from the other technology companies by actually taking the user’s discomfort seriously, showing that they empathize with them, and making an effort to do something to make up for it.

That’s what would push them into an exceptional customer experience level, like what you would expect at one of the Disney Parks. The “word of mouth” alone from doing something so positive would spread like wildfire on the net: “Even Tech Giant Google Cares About Their Users, Whether They Use Their Branded Smartphones or Someone Else’s.”

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You couldn’t beat that. Just a suggestion…

Apple patent details optical image stabilization for iPhone cameras

Gigaom

When it comes to smartphone cameras, Apple(s aapl) might not use as many megapixels as the rest of the competition, but the iPhone is generally believed to have one of the best mobile cameras out there. Just yesterday a report came out saying that Apple might retain the same 8-megapixel camera sensor it uses now for the iPhone 6, focusing instead on features like optical image stabilization. And it looks like that very well may be the case, judging by a patent published on Thursday that was spotted by Unwired View.

According to the patent – which is for a VCM OIS actuator module – Apple has been working on optical image stabilization since at least as early as the patent was filed in late 2012. The language in the patent describes:

A lens actuator module including an autofocus (AF) mechanism capable of moving a lens according to at…

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The NSA can reportedly gain backdoor access to the iPhone, among many other tech products

The NSA can reportedly gain backdoor access to the iPhone, among many other tech products

 

Google Glass and Wearable Tech

Alternatives to Glass

These products are significantly cheaper, but lack the functionality of Google Glass. However, I’m certain that shortly after Google publicly launches Glass, there will be serious competitors.

Just think:

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  • Who made the first smartphone? Are they still relevant today?
  • Apple almost went out of business and became all but obsolete, until their “restart.” Now, they make the most successful phone on the planet. I’m a Google fan to the core, but there’s no denying the technological, not to mention societal impact that the iPhone had.

Google is on the Right Path

I am critical of them because they are the best, and I want to see them continue to do be the best. What they are doing right is taking a risk on developing a device that has a major issue of not knowing whether the customers will actually want it.

That’s called innovation at its finest:

  • Great companies make products that are currently in high consumer demand.
  • Legendary companies make products that will eventually be in high demand, and they get a head start on it. These are the companies that change the world.

The issues about customers wanting to wear them will be fixed by:

  • Improvements to the style of the glasses.
  • Time passing as millennials will become the predominant buying force (Millennials like to have a unique style and show that their hip. Remember geeks are the new jocks).
  • Prices of the Glasses will gradually go down, as they develop more efficient & cost effective ways to manufacture them.
  • Most importantly of all the factors, is the “bandwagon effect.” It’s happened every time an innovative device comes out and Google Glass will perhaps be the biggest one in history, due to advertising, TV, social media, and the fact that they make a huge visual impact.

At first, this works against the product, because nobody wants to be the odd man out. As Google Glass becomes relatively commonplace, those same people that didn’t want to stand out still won’t want to.

So, they finally give it a try:

“Oh, this is actually pretty neat.”

Yes, we know…

Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.

The younger generation is typically correct.

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We just grow up and forget what it was like to be a kid, so we treat them the same way we were taught.

PARENT: “Well, I had to do this, that, and the other, and we didn’t have all that technology that just makes these kids dumber than we were.”

KID: “Yeah, and we could do math without a calculator, use a library to learn something instead of the instant knowledge of Google. We won’t use cool gadgets that teach us skills never available to most people.”

For example: making a movie, creating a song, editing photos, and using video chat with relatives in other countries. Not to mention Google Search… That single service serves as an unprecedented educational device.

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Google Search Outdoes Any School in the World

  1. Be curious about something.
  2. Know it.
  3. Find other resources to deepen your understanding, if needed.
  4. Become very smart.

Schools suck!

A person goes up and blabs about the preset curriculum to teach kids to memorize test answers, so that the school gets funding. That’s not the way human beings are designed to learn. We learn by exploring and from being curious. Google is creating a generation of polymaths, which hopefully will be our future problem solvers.

Apple Versus Android: Are We Google Fans Kidding Ourselves?

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Google+

It’s supposed to be a place to meet and converse with people from all over who share your interests. Yet, the early adopters were all tech nerds whose main interests were Google products and news, how Android is superior to iOS (it’s not, and I am a massive Google fan)?

Android

My Android sometimes acts buggy or slow, and that never happens on my iPhone or iPad. And I use a Samsung Galaxy S4, the so-called “flagship” of the Android phones. 

Over the last year, Android has made some smart moves and improved things quite a bit. But they are forgetting the primary focus of the multi-billion dollar company: the customers

Make People’s Lives Easier

How can we make this easy enough for a child to use, while still having high-tech abilities? They say Apple is for non-technology people who don’t like to configure and modify their device. But with the exceptions of gadget nerds, users just want the features to work automatically. 

Simplicity

I’m a tech geek myself, and I occasionally fiddle around with my Android for fun, but my iPhone actually makes me a more efficient, productive, and organized person.  

Bottom Line: Google needs to focus on simplicity and customer experience.