Ok, I need to ask something. Why did it take so long for them to figure this out?
I’m pretty sure if you told a 10 year old that there was fluid spilling out of a hole, they would tell you how to fix it. I understand there are complexities to plugging a leak at the bottom of the ocean, but come on, it’s 2010. It should not have taken that long to figure it out.I think the important question right now is how to be prepared for this in the future. Obviously, preventing further oil production isn’t feasible, at least until Tesla takes over the auto industry (which shouldn’t take that long, but that’s a different article).
Hopefully, there’s a plan. I’m pleased that no one took the Russian suggestion seriously, but there needs to be preparation. I’m no tree hugger, but I think I have a concept of the impact this will have on the environment (local fishing economy aside). Obviously, hindsight is 20/20, and I’m not claiming to have thought of this before, but the mistake was made, we took our licks, and it’s important to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future.
Many people thought the government should have gotten more involved. The problem with that is that the government is far less qualified to deal with the issue than an oil company. Certainly, the government should have put some heavy pressure on BP to get things cleaned up, but trying to take control of the situation would have hurt more than helped. I don’t want the same people that take 3+ hours to renew my license calling the shots on something as urgent as a large scale oil spill.
So, I guess until we hear a thought out future response plan, we should all start growing our hair out and stuffing stockings for next time.
Apple’s iPhone App Store allows third-parties to release software for the iPhone (built with an API provided by Apple) to all iPhone users. They can charge what they want for the app, and delivery and payment is managed beautifully within the iPhone interface through your iTunes account.
The true genius behind the system though, is that Apple takes a small percentage off the top of each application sale.
By providing the medium (iPhone) and the delivery service (App Store), Apple has created a completely self-sustaining business model that generates passive income for them and increases demand for the product with each awesome release on the App Store.
So What’s Coming?
Well, with the upcoming mass rollout of Android, Google’s linux-based cell phone operating system, a simlar App Store-like service will be available. I’m not sure that anything official has been said on the subject, but I would predict that Google will not be skimming off the top of these app sales. What this means for Apple is that developing for Android will return a higher margin. Of course, the benefits will greatly depend on the success of Android, while the iPhone has already been proven as a viable development platform.
So, it will be fun to see what the future brings. I still don’t have an iPhone and will probably hold out for AT&T to release an Android phone. Between this upcoming competition and Verizon’s plans to completely open its network, the mobile phone world is heating up. I’m excited for the potential consumer benefits.
Tags: technology · business
I don’t get what the big stir is about. Well, that’s a lie. I don’t get what all the misdirected blame is about. If you’re one of Steve’s belligerent underlings, let’s look at the facts:
- You chose to spend $600 on a phone.
- You couldn’t wait for the inevitable price drop.
- You had to be the coolest kid at school for a couple weeks.
- You are probably bad with money (I don’t have much data to back that up, but I’m sticking to it).
So let’s look at why you’re really mad. You spent $600 for a $300 phone so you could be cool for a few weeks. It seemed like a great idea at the time, but, like my mother after a nice vacation, now that it’s over your not so sure it was worth the money. Soon all your other friends with less money/more sense will have the same phone and all the novelty will be gone.
Here’s a couple observations I’ve picked up during my few, but technology-filled, years. Firstly, technology is always most expensive at its initial release. It will go down in price. If you don’t want to get hosed, forget about being a first mover. Secondly, anything with an Apple logo on it will cost more than it’s unbranded, gunmetal gray counterpart. If you want to be cool, buy the Apple. If you want to eat, settle for a Treo, 8125, or what have you.
Lastly, companies drop prices. Period. It happens all the time. I paid more for my 360, PS2 and every single video game and accessory than they would cost today. My computers are depreciating. So is my car. The McBathroomBreak I ate last week just hit the dollar menu. This is standard business practice. Steve Jobs is not a bad guy.
Now, while I hate to point it out, there’s also another lesson to learn here. Jobs, in his infinite, coffer-stuffing wisdom, responded to his angry fans, and for good reason. Those silly first-adopters are his meal ticket, so it’s well worth taking the hit. It’s not to say that Apple doesn’t make a good product. I’ve played with an iPhone, and it’s a spiffy little toy, but the products aren’t worth the money people pay for them.
You got lucky this time. I’m sure it’s not what everyone wanted, but it’s more than anyone deserves. This is the game. Get used to it. Make your decisions, take your licks, and stop acting like this is such a big deal. 95% of the same clowns will be in line for the next one, whatever it may be.
… I can’t believe this place didn’t die off. The amount of commenting and readership has remained steady - if not increased - over the past silent months. I’m shocked and awed, truly.
I’d like to say that I’ve
been too busy to post. And, while I have been busy, it had no effect on my posting. I simply lost my drive. All great writers run out of fuel for periods of time. We mediocre ones are no exception.
I plan to be back - whatever that may mean. Hopefully my posting will return to a somewhat regular schedule. There’s certainly no lack of business related retardation out there. Thanks for the interest folks.
Tags: blogging · miscellaneous
McDonald’s is under attack once again for marketing to kids. This has been a long term debate between the chain and its loyal (unwilling?) customer base. Jim Skinner (CEO) has fended off the attacks (temporarily) with the promise of a pro-activity campaign.
Let’s start with the positive - he’s not backing down. McDonald’s is a company, a business. It’s not a non-profit, an environmental group, the FDA, MADD, DARE or the government. It is not their job to police the food intake of the world’s children. If marketing to children is moving more hamburgers and chicken (corn) nuggets, then that’s exactly who they should be marketing to.
Sure, it’s bad business practice to disregard the well-being of your customers, and people will notice, but at the end of the day, which will bring in more money: selling low-quality beef to minors with cartoon characters (and that scary clown) or teaching them to eat healthier?
But other companies do it! I’ve got news for you. Companies do what’s best for the company. Cigarette companies contribute to quit campaigns because it gets the government off their back (or in some cases, because they have to). Power companies run environmental conservation campaigns because it draws our attention away from the smoke stacks over our heads. That’s business.
The shareholder/stakeholder debate isn’t really about corporate responsibility. It’s about green, and I don’t mean trees.
The second point here is that the campaign will get annoying moms temporarily off their back. A change in action is all they’re looking for. If a group can strong arm a company into doing something different, it’s a win for them. The new campaign will likely have very little effect on the kids. They’re often smarter than we give them credit for. Kids only respond to marketing that’s enticing. No matter how hard you try, you can’t sell soccer to a fat kid that just wants some fries.
The downside is that this whole thing is just a PR maze. I’ve never been one for the sheepish PR tactics of a lot of companies. I understand their purpose, and they often work, but sometimes people are just being stupid, and they need to realize that. An entire nation (heck, half the world) is hooked on McDonald’s food. Do you think ignoring their low rumble (albeit persistent) whining is going to hurt sales? I doubt it.
Parents are pushing more and more for organizations to do their parenting for them. They want McDonald’s to stop appealing to kids. They want cartoons to be educational. They want video games to be less violent. Some even want the government to buy their food (and need the government to regulate what food they can buy).
Here’s my suggestion. McDonald’s (and Rockstar, and the government) should start a new campaign focused on how to properly raise a child. Cover complex subjects such as:
- How to say “no” and stick to it, regardless of how loud your child gets in the grocery store.
- How to properly supervise a child.
- How to punish a misbehaving child.
- Apples are good. French fries and ice cream are not.
- The alphabetical guide to monitoring your child’s video game collection from (L)ook to (L)ook.
That’s the short list, but you get the idea. I’m not making a joke here either. Perhaps the derogatory tone shouldn’t be so prevalent, but the fact remains that bad things will always exist. The proper methodology here is not to remove everything bad (punishing those of us bright enough to enjoy it maturely), but to set boundaries and teach children right from wrong - a responsibility which (unfortunately, in some cases) lies with the parents.
Face it, McDonald’s is always going to sell toys with the happy meal. Popsicles are always going to be rainbow colored. Explosions will always appeal to a child and often appear in R rated movies. Grand Theft Auto is absurdly fun, and kids know it. Learn to start parenting, and stop expecting multi-billion dollar corporations to do it for you. Believe it or not, your child’s safety is not nearly as important to the CEO of company X as the wallets of his or her shareholders.
Capitalism is a selfish system. Start dealing with it.
Tags: news · business
I use Microsoft products everyday at work. We’re a .NET/MSSQL shop exclusively, so this is what I have to work with. It’s not a bad system. The Visual Studio IDE is a great programming environment - at the feature level. SQL Management Studio is a great product as well - also, at the feature level.
I’ll tell you where things start to break down. My last project encompassed wait times of ~2 minutes per compile. It was not a large project by any means. This is totally unacceptable - a level of torture when you’re recompiling repeatedly to track down a problem. This isn’t the only problem. The IDE is buggy. Very buggy. “I can’t believe I don’t see moths flying out of the box” buggy.
Load times are horrendous. Basic functions cease to do just that. The ability to delete anything - controls, text, all encompassing - is torn from my arsenal on a whim. The only cure for such headaches is to restart the application. The Web IDE suffers from slow, no, that’s not the word. Let me try again: The web IDE suffers from non-existent response times. Changing from control to control is literally nothing more than a visual cue. The underlying effect on the properties box is not there at times.
That machine is a P4 with 2.5G of memory, so I don’t think it’s a hardware issue.
I recently got a new laptop for work which I’ve begun using exclusively for development. After a few days, I began experiencing blue screens. This is frustrating to a level indescribable with the english language. For those who are unfamiliar with the infamous bsod, the errors are extremely cryptic - even to those of us considered “computer literate” - and they always require a restart of your computer.
Long story short (long being a few hours, short being a few words), the blue screens were caused by a conflict between Microsoft SQL Management Studio and my mouse drivers. My mouse, which happens to be Microsoft branded, was running on the newest release of the Intellipoint drivers, released by Microsoft.
Microsoft SMS was conflicting with Microsoft Intellipoint causing Microsoft Windows to crash. How am I supposed to respond to this?
The solution was to downgrade my Intellipoint software (I believe to 5.2) for anyone else out there that wasted a few hours researching this problem to no avail. The problem appears to be recognized, albeit unmanaged.
Today, a new issue reared its ugly head. A Windows Update was pushed out to our machines. Now, this is not entirely the responsibility of Microsoft. Our parent company screens these patches and decides when to push them out. While I’ve always thought it was silly of them to play firewall to Microsoft’s own updates, and it’s turned out to be ineffective anyway, I suppose it’s been proven somewhat necessary.
The patch updated the .NET 2.0 framework. The result was a handful of broken .NET 2.0 applications. I don’t know how this happened. The resolution involved installing the update on a development box, recompiling the applications, and redistributing them to all the necessary employees. Now, I won’t go into details on this except to say that it was a giant spear in my side. A dirty, rusty, spear in my now sore, bleeding, infected side. The damage hasn’t yet been totally contained, but it should be tomorrow, so it’s not the end of the world - this time.
What if one of those applications was mission critical? We have a plant full of people relying on our software that would have come to a screeching halt if the wrong apps had been affected. This is a big screwup, and it needs addressed.
The point. Sorry, that was a long rant, longer than I had expected at least.
Microsoft has hooked a ton of companies with their Visual Studio line of products, and for good reason. They are generally very reliable IDE’s that offer a very intuitive way of developing software. On the downside, we’re all dependent now. It would be extremely hard for us to switch to an alternative. Microsoft obviously recognizes this (though they’re feeling the heat), and that’s good. Capitalize extensively Mr. Gates. But, don’t take advantage. Don’t get comfortable.
Releasing buggy software is a sign of complacency. Your reign won’t last if you screw your customers. You have a huge amount of businesses eating out of the palm of your hand, renewing thousands and thousands of dollars in licensing year after year. And we do it gladly, as long as it works. There’s a strong, loyal following there. Keep it that way. Sure, you have control, but a group of pissed off prisoners cursing high switching costs will not keep a business moving.
If you’re lucky, some will never see the light that is Linux, but to assure the survival of your business, you have to give people a reason to continue paying for what could be free.
Tags: technology · rant · business
- Why is this an issue?
It’s generally accepted in the business world that getting rid of bad/resource-intensive customers is a smart move. Sure, from the consumer standpoint it seems like we’re just being bullied, but we have the right to change companies if we’re not satisfied with our current one, so why can’t a business do the same?
Say that Sprint is making $40/month off a customer that is occupying a customer service rep for 1-2 hours per month. For argument’s sake, say that said rep makes $10/hour. That’s $10-20 per month lost on that customer’s bill. That’s 25-50% of their revenue! Of course they’re going to fire that customer! If they can replace the customer with one that checks their account balance online, making no calls to the customer service center, Sprint has increased their revenue from that customer slot drastically.
One customer quoted in the article says that she only called because of billing mistakes. If this is the case then I agree that Sprint is a crappy company and deserves to fade away as they are. If not, this is perfectly acceptable practice.
Next time you sign a service contract, ask if you can insert your own cancellation fee clause at the end.
This whole Google/Sicko fiasco is a little embarrassing. Now, I’m no supporter of Michael Moore. Personally, I find him obnoxious and I think he does more to make similar-minded people look sneaky and untrustworthy than he actually does to educate. I also think that Google is an awesome company. They’re incredibly forward thinking and quick to embrace modern business practices. This is how they were opened up to this mess.
Google has employees blogging on a number of different topics. This is great. It offers a level of transparency that doesn’t exist in most companies. It makes Google easy to trust. Google also prides itself in hiring the best people. Generally these people are probably very intelligent. One risk that will always exist with choosing human power over computer is predictability. Well, the lack thereof. This can manifest in a poorly thought out blog post.
The idea is not bad. It’s a good way to teach customers how to use Google’s products. And the issue is not the content, or ideas exposed, but the medium. A corporate blog is not a place to discuss opinions. This particular instance wasn’t catastrophic, but it could have been.
I’m not saying fire the woman. I’m not even saying punish her. Just remember to be very careful who is allowed to portray the face of your company. People are prone to making mistakes, and there are plenty of legitimate reasons for screwing up. Let’s try to avoid the stupid ones.
From Bob Meets World. It’s at the end of the post. I contributed to his macbook pro fund/entered the contest to win something worth a lot for very little.
And you know what? He’s right.
Well, I haven’t posted much recently, but a few updates.
First off, my new project that I mentioned - Josh Druce for President. The world needs a President, not a politician.
Secondly, Tony Hung is my hero, and here’s an amazing article on Conversational Marketing. All his articles are amazing.
Thirdly, I was about to contact the man himself about this, but he beat me to the punch and made a post. Jeremy has a post on your htaccess www redirects and how to manage subdomains (my problem). I discussed it further with him, and you can forward all non-www requests to www with the same code for you subdomains. Just edit the htaccess within your subdomain directory.
Lastly, my buddy and I have an idea brewing that I think could do something. I’ll keep you updated.