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Tag Archives: Apple

How “Research” helped Jobs and Woz

Steve Jobs wouldn’t have been the serial entrepreneur we knew him to be, if not for his partner in crime, Steve Wozniac

I make this point to my students, when teaching them the power of collaboration, something lost in our education system that, until now favored the individual over the group; the bubble test over the team project. Common Core standards, adopted by my school (Arizona is one of some 45 states adopting them) urge us to break out of that mindset, and get kids to discuss more, debate, confront, and work as a hive mind.

So I use this example of Woz, where he describes how he stumbled over a piece of fiction about the ‘Blue Box’, and showed it to Jobs. They wondered if this device were possible, but didn’t stop at that. They snuck into a library one Sunday, and looked it up in a stack of journals.

In other words, Steve and Steve were doing their ‘research.’  Something that sounds anathema to today’s kids who like to imagine search = research. That supporting ideas will always be within a few keystrokes or clicks.

I particularly like how the Apple co-founders got started not in a garage, but a library.

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2013 in Education, Search

 

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“The world has lost an amazing human being.”

Hard to forget, the first PC I ever owned was the Apple Color Classic*.

But apart from giving many of us in advertising and marketing a simple (as in non-geeky) on-ramp to computing, we remember him for his vision, and his humanity.

I found this statement from him, made in 2005.

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share…

…Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent.”

 

*I have not used a Mac for the past 15 years. 

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2011 in Business Models, Disruptive, Technology

 

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A formula for going viral? Picking Everett’s and Brown’s brain

I had a great conversation with Brown Russell, former Chairman of Gum Tech (GUMM:NASDAQ), last evening on our radio show.

Brown was behind (and by this I mean he led) the launch of Zicam –the cold remedy, medicine. I didn’t know this but Zicam was one of the fastest growing new cold treatments in recent history.

The reason I thought he would be a great guest was because of a book I noticed on his desk one day. It was one of those thick books on communication that communicators who have just graduated may have not even heard about: The Diffusion of Innovations by Everett Rogers, first published in 1962. (By the way Rogers published 30 books in 15 languages.)

To put this in perspective this was before the Internet was ‘discovered.’ And some of the concepts Rogers analyzed presaged  viral marketing by what, 40 years, maybe?

How do ideas spread and products take off, I asked? Is the diffusion of innovations across networks (the unwired kind) dependent on a marketing and PR push? Derrick brought us a good point –that demand, could possibly be influenced by planned scarcity (as in Apple’s play); by game mechanics (as in earning rewards), and filling the need that nobody has quite recognized (as in Facebook).

Here’s the podcast, if you’re interested. http://bit.ly/your3bl11

By the way, if you occasionally use terms such as ‘early adopters,’ ‘late majority’ or ‘laggards’ you’ve been borrowing from Roger’s theory!

 

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Quotes for the week ending 8th May, 2010

“In the Future, we’ll all have 15 minutes of privacy.”

Scott Monty, head of social media for Ford, on a post about Facebook’s latest move to connect to the rest of the web

“No one is laughing in Arizona. Do your job and secure the border.”

Governor Jan Brewer, in a YouTube video aimed at president Obama, who made a joke about the immigration Bill that Brewer signed into law.

“A lot of great stories are hidden within the public”

Manesh Nesaratnam, Malaysian film director of a movie, Your Grandfather’s Road, which is being crowd-sourced.

“That QR code on the left will even take your smartphone to my Twitter feed. And if you really liked this story, you can re-Tweet too.”

Kit Keaton, whose column in Fast Company, features this Quick Response code.

“A nastygram.”

Shel Holtz, referring to the letter Apple, which sent a nine-year-old girl a cease-and-desist letter after she suggested enhancements to the iPod.

“You gotta give him credit for his media manipulation skills.”

Pat Elliot, commenting on a post I wrote for ValleyPRBlog, about the value Sheriff Joe Arpaio holding a press conference to announce he is NOT running for governor.

We are heartened by news reports that J.S.Tissainayagam appears to have been pardoned…”

CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists) in a statement on the presidential pardon for journalist J. S. Tissanayagam in Sri Lanka

 

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Industrial design could send a message

How could a building or  structural feature send a stronger message about what you stand for than other design elements –web site, brochures, annual reports– you put out on a regular basis?

Not everyone could build a spectacular ‘shrine’ like Apple has, in Manhattan.

At ASU, the Global Institute of Sustainability takes a more pragmatic approach, with wind turbines on the roof generating power, even while solar panels are being installed in other parts of the campuses so as to take care of 20 percent of the total energy.

And speaking of wind power, this story out of London, of designers creating a column of light using wind power is more than a fancy energy project. It demos the capacity of creativity that could be unleashed within the urban planing when you let energy send a message.

jason-brugesIn this ‘tower of power’ as it is being called, there are 120 LED’s being powered by a “gentle” wind. Nothing fancy in the set up. A laptop is the only piece of technology behind it, apart from these 1,200 tiny fans. The designer, Jason Bruges Studio, calls it a wind-light.

Maybe someday outdoor signs will be lit this way.

So that, beyond growing lettuce (watch this video!) on the vertical face of a billboard, as McDonald’s did in this very daring/cool design, existing structures could send a passive message, with some “gentle” asistance from the sun, water and wind.

 

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“Rumor” about Jobs, a symptom of things to come

Steve Jobs brushed it off with a slide. He used the Mark Twain line to note that the rumor of his death had been greatly exaggerated.

The rumor, was not a rumor but a publishing mistake –going live with a story that should have been behind a firewall. Bloomberg is not the first to make this new-media error.

The copy had the usual safeguards: “HOLD FOR RELEASE – DO NOT USE – HOLD FOR RELEASE – DO NOT USE.” There were placeholders such as “IF STOCK DROPS” leading into a sentence “…The decline is no surprise to investors…” All good intentioned.

But in the rush to do things to meet unforgiving deadlines, to hit the newsstands, and sate the digital newsfeeds, publishing must take these risks. Are we moving too fast, where we might accidentally push the button that could affect the stock price of a company?

Rumors –especially the online kind– are nothing new. United Airlines’ stock was a victim of a rumor just this week, while Yahoo! (temporarily) benefitted from the Microsoft takeover rumor that turned out to be more than a rumor.

Rumor is being slipped into the PR toolbox because it goes well with viral. Recently, there was one about the –ready for this?- Apple Nano iPhone. If you replace “rumor” with “forecast” a lot of this might make sense. The Nano iPhone story was based on a “forecast” using “unnamed sources in the supply channel.”

As we accelerate our marketing, our PR and how we generate news about organizations we represent, news, forecasting and speculating could begin to blur.

Dan Lyons, who once created the now-retired Fake Steve blog, didn’t mince his words describing Gawker, which republished the Bloomberg gaffe as “filthy hacks,” ending also with “Great work, Bloomberg. You dopes.”

 

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Apple’s glass shrine beats all billboards

Grand Central Terminal and the Apple store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan have one thing in common. They suck people in!

Grand Central terminalThe former is 95 years old, and the latter is just two! One has utilitarian value the other cult value. Whereas more than 25,000 people pass through Grand Central each day, thousands of people come to the Apple store on 5th Avenue to go nowhere fast. They caress the iPods and gaze at other cool people.

Like the station, the 32-foot glass cube that sits on top of the store is open 365 days of the year. When I visited it seemed that people were treating this like a piazza, or park. Some were engrossed over their Macbooks, some having conversations and others seemed transfixed around the huge ‘genius bar’ waiting for their turn to be delighted.

Apple store - 5th Avenue, ManhattanIt struck me that like the station, there could very well be a ticket counter, and the people would pay to get in. Not that this is even necessary. Apple devotees are actually paying to be there –with their attention. Today. In a time when people are largely ignoring brands and blocking out branded messages, getting people to walk in (opt-in?) to an environment that’s eighty percent logo is pure genius.

A few blocks away, there’s a Best Buy right next to a Circuit City. I didn’t see young people sitting outside their sidewalk with open laptops, or taking pictures of the Best Buy logo. Apple has cracked the code of branding and billboarding by not simply slapping a logo onto a large (expensive) flat surface, but by building a shrine that pretends to be sign that pretends to be a store.

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2008 in Advertising & Branding, Hype

 

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Things that made us go “huh?” in 2007

Oh, what a year it was. Between freedom of information faux pas, a fake press conference, and a shiny new new object from Apple, we obsessed about these stories:

The amazing role that social media played in letting the world know about the violent reaction to the peaceful protests in Burma, in September

Larry Craig, Republican senator for Iowa, accused of soliciting sex in an airport bathroom, pleads guilty, but then attempts to deny charges.

Southwest Airlines gets a passenger to change his T-shirt because of it has a slogan that could be considered rude. It also gets another passenger to get off a plane for wearing a too-revealing mini skirt. Southwest later apologized and called launched mini skirt fares.

Lisa Novak, the astronaut who drove across the country in a diaper, is arrested.

Strumpette, the PR blogger who postured about PR, resigns, and re-emerges.

FEMA holds a fake news conference after the California fires, using employees posing as journalists.

Apple fans camp outside electronics stores to be the first to buy the $600 iPhone.

Soon after this, Apple warns iPhone customers it would cripple it should they try hacking it.

Wal-mart is investigated on charges that an employee could have been spying on text messages and phone conversations between a New York Times reporter and a PR employees.

Jeff Jarvis begins to say nice things about Dell.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg apologizes for Beacon, a feature that would have shared users’ personal information with others without their opting in.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio arrests the owners of a newspaper, The New Times, for refusing to submit information about the dates and times and other information about visitors to its web site. The case was later dropped.

Comcast responds to the “Comcast Must Die” angst started by Advertising Age columnist (and NPR’s On the Media co-host) Bob Garfield, saying “real world developments” such as becoming the largest cable provider makes it difficult to keep promises.

John McCain responds to a New Hampshire high school student’s question about his age with “thanks for the question, you little jerk!”

A blog calling itself Fake Steve Jobs, is tracked down to senior editor of Forbes, Daniel Lyons.

British rock band Radiohead releases its album In Rainbows online, for free, with a prompt to downloaders to pay what they want.

Earlier in the year, Prince gave away a 10-track album, Planet Earth, free through the ‘old media’ a.k.a. newspapers, The Mail on Sunday.

The protest by Londoners over the ‘ugly’ 2012 Olympic logo. The wisdom of the crowds was ignored. The logo remained unchanged.

Barry Bonds if pleads “not guilty.” Don Imus is fired by CBS, and returns to radio via an ABC affiliate.

 

 

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