The Idea Dude


Sunday, June 06, 2010

Bling is in our DNA

So I'm standing in the Apple store looking at the 15 inch MacBook with the anti-glare screen. Next to it is a standard MacBook with the glossy screen. It's been a rant of mine about how Apple and other notebook manufacturers have gone down the evil path of offering glossy screens that give off horrible reflections making it difficult to work over long periods of time.

Firstly, I pull up a long web article that consisted of lots of text. My theory is confirmed, that is much easier to read the one with the anti-glare. So I'm thinking that it would be great to trade up since I do spend 10-12 hours a day writing software.

But a strange thing happened. I noticed the photos on the anti-glare Macbook appeared washed out. The glossy screen seemed to show deeper and more vibrant colors. Indeed, the anti-glare screen seemed to put a snowy haze over everything, blacks looked like dark grays and the colors looked dull.

I reached an interesting cross-road in my analysis. Even though, I knew that as a programmer and someone who reads a lot of text throughout the day, buying the anti-glare Macbook was the right logical choice, the emotion side of me kept reminding me that I will miss the vibrant colors and deep blacks. I wondered if I would fall in love with the anti-glare version the same way as I have with my current glossy MacBook.

What happened to the logical, sensible me? My only explanation is that bling is our DNA. We love shiny things. As consumers we feast with our eyes. We buy shiny cars. We put sequins on our dresses. Our skyscrapers are monuments of glass. Every TV and notebook manufacturer has realized that. I played with my iPad the same night and wondered if I would have felt the same way, if the screen was also anti-glare. I half-suspect, I would still enjoy it but it would cease to be that new shiny thing that shimmered in my hands.

Most of our purchases are based on emotions and often on impulse. Yes, we'll compare features and do our research but our final decision is seldom based on logic. We will find ways to justify why we will buy the inferior one simply because it looked better.

Glossy is king and shiny is in. There are often stories of crows that lined their nests with jewelery, beads, marbles and other shiny things. Perhaps we are all birds of the same feather.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Apple needs to lighten up

First up, I'm an Apple fan and have been since the Apple IIe in 1983. We have iPods, iPad, iMacs, iPhone, MacBooks. I loved the Mac commercials poking fun at the Microsoft products. I used to be a Microsoft fan too, still am. So for me, it's just great entertainment, nothing more or nothing less.

So I'm a little surprised at how they handled Ellen DeGeneres skit on the iPhone. First of all, it's coming from a comedian and talk show host. It probably borders on satire in some ways. But frankly, every mistake she made, I've made too. Typed the wrong characters, sent an SMS by mistake. It's not misrepresentation but reality. Apple saw fit to scold her and she had to offer a public apology. It's nowhere close to the constant stream of Apples ads ridiculing Microsoft.

Apparently what's good for the goose is not good for the gander. So it's a little disappointing to see that reaction. Apple, you should be fashionably sensitive but way to cool to care.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The 3 i's revisited

I used to have the 3 i's on my business card. Funnily enough, if you have three words with exactly the same starting character, it's harder to remember.

The i's where Imagine, Innovate and Initiate. I believed in it and taught my teams to believe it it too.

Imagine - most of us don't practice the art of possibility (beyond the usual 'I want to be a billionaire'). We accept the status quot. We travel the same path every day, use the same gadgets, get the same pay check. Imagining means thinking of the what-if's and not worrying how absurd it sounds. Think about the microwave, the cellphone, wireless internet. A hundred years ago, it would be absurd. Today it is a commodity we take for granted.

Innovate - means bringing your imaginations into reality. Figuring out the path, finding the way. Innovating forces you to look at things differently, doing it differently because doing it the same way every day will get you the same result every time.

Initiate - get off our butts and doing it. The first step is always the hardest. Ask any toddler. But it doesn't stop him for trying and eventually he will learn to run and maybe, just maybe, become the fastest in the world.

The thing with the 3 i's is that they are things we do ourselves, they aren't things others do for us. There is no external barrier, just us. Sometimes we are our own biggest impediments.

Often I would imagine but too lazy to innovate and even if I find the energy, initiating is such a hill climb. But if we think of all the great inventions of our time, are these not the first 3 steps that they took?

The 3's are a constant reminder of what I need to do make a difference.