Steve Jobs

Does a man really die when the world we live in is defined by his work?

The bondi blue iMac, white headphones, that original 5GB iPod, the iPhone.

1234; black turtlenecks and blue jeans; glass stairs and the Apple Store look; put the lowercase “i” in front of any word and an Apple lawyer will be at your door in a flash. A computer without a floppy drive or a CD. Hell, computers without keyboards.

Apple made innovation art under Steve Jobs. He showed us the way, now we can lead, create, innovate on our own. But we should start that tomorrow.

Tonight we mourn.

RIP Steve.

Apple Hates Social Media

[picappgallerysingle id="9195352"]I wasn’t a good Facebooker until I got an iPhone. I would forget about my accounts and not look at them for weeks. I think that part of the reason that Friendster and Myspace died is because you had to be chained to your computer to update them. Once you could effectively manage your online profiles on the run as you were being social and not after the fact, social networks became relevant to me. You could make an argument that the iPhone helped take social media to the next level. It brought elegant Internet surfing, faster connections, and a camera to everyone who would stomach AT&T. All of this was a boon to social networks.

So for their role in creating a space that made sites like Facebook and Twitter possible, how can Apple suck so bad at social media?

  • Customer Service – Your iPhone 4 is having problems. The signal strength and proximity sensor issues are all over Twitter, Facebook, an the blogosphere. Yet you say nothing. Of course you really don’t have a Facebook page of any value or your Twitter account is worth even less. You do have forums that you don’t answer. It’s like it’s 1998 at 1 Infinite Loop. In 2010, customers expect interaction online – not waiting in line at your stores or on the phone.
  • Social media integration – Why can’t I submit photos or videos directly to Facebook from outside of their app? As I mentioned before, the connected camera was one of the things that made these sites relevant.

As smart as Apple is about some things, they’re incredibly dumb about this. It’s not as if their employees don’t talk to customers millions of times every day. I was at an Apple store recently and saw customers hug their Apple rep on two separate occasions. Your employees are good at what they do, customers like them, and they seem to be able to communicate well, something it’s apparent that you can’t do.

I hate to say this, but one of the best companies at this is Apple’s ugly stepsister, AT&T. On AT&T’s Facebook page, they answer questions, post helpful videos and work to allay concerns before they go viral. You can also look at Verizon’s or Comcast’s Twitter accounts for other tech companies that get it.

Do you have any examples of good customer service online or companies that use social networks well? Share them in the comments section.

Dodge Charger Commercial Doesn’t Speak to Women – So?

During the Super Bowl, Chrysler ran a commercial for their mid-age crisis auto, the Dodge Charger. Now I’m not a man that has ever needed a car to express my maleness, but some men do – this commercial was targeted towards them.

This commercial was designed to not be ignored. It’s creative execution is done in a way that makes it stand out. It cuts through the clutter and targets the one type of guy – we’ll call him PW for short.  This commercial was destined to offend – and it has. Some women have gone online to express their dissatisfaction with and ad that doesn’t address them. On one blog posting a about the Dodge commercial, I saw the following comment:

I don’t care what car you’re selling, you’re still selling to women.

And then there’s this parody ad:

I think that for too long there’s been the assumption that men abdicate all decision to the women in their life. I’m sure some men do. But what about men that have backbones; or men that don’t like women in that way; or men that have a relationship where they consult on decisions with their partner? Why does every product need to be sold to women?

Women have earned the right to vent at this male dominated society – and I understand where the parody is coming from, but not every message is meant for every person. As a black person, I tend to skip over ads for tanning salons – I assume they’re not meant for me.

Advertising has swung to target women so decidedly, that advertisers don’t know how to speak to men. The only way they know how to is to insult women, show T&A, or feature scatological humor.

All this commercial does is target men in one of the few ways the advertiser knows how to. If the ad doesn’t ad doesn’t speak to you, I say you ignore it.

What do you think?

Who has this good health insurance?

Angrier and angrier I get.

I keep hearing people saying that they’re worried about losing their health insurance. The Rethuglicans keep saying the American people are happy with their insurance providers and their doctors. Really? I’ve spent the last 3 weeks dealing with insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and whoever else I had to deal with and at no point have I thought “Wow, insurance companies are awesome.”

Isn’t it patently clear that the insurance companies need to be eliminated? How in the world has the Republican party convinced American people to argue on the behalf of the very companies that turn down our claims, cancel our health plans, and overcharge us for the privilege?

And another thing? Why aren’t we going after the pharmaceutical companies? Yesterday I received 36 boxes (72 doses) of generic Imitrex (sumitriptan succinate) at a cost of $5,200 (not my cost – what the drug costs). That is $72 per dose; for generic. There has got to be the understanding that controlling costs in the healthcare industry without reigning in the pharmaceutical industry is like losing weight while maintaing that Cheesecake Factor diet. Of course when your Chief of Staff is in the pocket of the pharmas.

Thoughts?

Cluster Headaches: Imitrex Injectable vs. Generic Sumitriptan Succinate

If you suffer from cluster headaches you’re likely familiar with Imitrex injectable. You’re also likely to be familiar with the high price of Imitrex. The introduction of a generic version last year was welcome news. I’ve been taking the generic version for some weeks now, 4mg doses no more than 3 times per day and so far the generic version seems to work the same as the branded version. The cost is dramatically lower for the generic version. At my local Target, the cash price for two doses of was $214 for branded Imitrex vs. $164 for the generic.

One question I had was whether or not the generic and branded were the same; bottom line is they are. You can use the same stat dose pen kit. I made the following video to illustrate the differences.

Is Blockbuster still around

There was a story today about how Blockbuster will be closing upwards of 1,000 locations by the end of 2010. My question is “Why wait”? We decided years ago after being treated poorly by Blockbuster to stop giving them our money. Between Redbox, Netflix, and various on demand options – we decided that Blockbuster didn’t deserve us as customers.

It’s bad enough that technology has turned against Blockbuster, but what they failed to do was create loyalists out of their customers. I know I definitely felt Blockbuster was a necessary evil and as soon as I had the chance to be rid of them, I was. If you develop a brand, a service, a product that evolves into a relationship that your customer values, then those customers will follow you onto your next venture.

Blockbuster’s other problem is that it didn’t innovate it’s service soon enough. Netflix has 10 times as many users, connects through set-top boxes and Xbox, and streams to PCs and Macs. Meanwhile Blockbuster is stuck in the 80′s. When they finally go under it will be met by “ho-hum” from me.