Am I A Brilliant Jerk

Hmmmm – Let me ponder this question for a minute, perhaps you should tell me?

The New York Times did a piece on this concept over the weekend titled “What Do You Do With the Brilliant Jerk?” and its making its way  around the startup community. People are arguing both sides, but what i find most interesting is where they suggest this type of person excels, innovation.

Innovation is a tricky thing and it requires: persistence, stubbornness, and vision, which if broken down could easily be miss-interpreted as “brilliant jerk”.

I can tell you first hand that one of the most frustrating parts of having a vision is the time that it takes to get others to understand it; days, weeks, months and in most cases years. This does not fit well into our Twitter based world of elevator pitches, million dollar 30 second spots, or coffee shop conversations. As the slow food movement is providing an alternative to our fast food obese society, I wonder if giving the Brilliant Jerk some extra time, early on, will make him/her just a brilliant person.

Integrated turn-by-turn directions or more features – duh

The latest version of the IOS has dropped Google maps in favor of an Apple proprietary maps app. Their is an awesome lesson in here for startups and consumers. Leveraging a closed platform limits choice.

With that said, I have been using iOS6 for a few months and the integration of turn-by-turn directions is so much better then the previous Google maps integration that i do not believe they should even be compared.

    • I am not suggesting that Apple is the first mobile OS to offer this feature, their solution is better than other turn-by-turn apps or  that the current implementation choice was the best one for the community.

I am simply saying as a consumer, and someone who is direction challenged, having turn-by-turn directions integrated directly into the OS is f”ing awesome and the way it should  have been since the beginning.

Buying Retail Does Not Have To Suck

I have been researching what i think is a fascinating change happening in retail and I’m noticing 5 concepts merging at the same time, which is wreaking havoc on the entire industry:

  1. Brick and mortar stores are becoming showrooms for online purchases
  2. Products are becoming more sophisticated
  3. Sales people are clueless
  4. Interrupt advertising is not working
  5. Companies are clueless about social

I recently did some research around buying a smart phone. I visited all 3 major carriers plus a big box retailer. These are the best one liners I heard during my conversation with the employees:

  • Sprint told me all Apple apps cost money and all Android Apps are free
  • Verizon said Android is open sourced so the apps are better then the iPhone
  • AT&T said all Android phones could be upgraded to the latest OS
  • BestBuy said the camera on the the latest Samsung was an awesome camera in low light and the sales person illustrated this by taking out his personal phone and taking a screen shot of the home screen

Besides lies and nonsense, none of the representatives could tell me anything really useful about the devices and several told me to go read the reviews online. I was shocked, BestBuy did not even have actual phones on the floor, only slugs. Getting me in the door is hard enough and these companies spend billions to make that happen. I am not sure who had the great idea of telling their employees to send customers home to do their own research.

One interesting note:  If you ask them about the plans, they new the higher level details to sound educated. At first you would say ok they’re the carrier and not the device maker, but if you look at the latest plans for these devices:

  • Verizon Share Everything plan is $40 for unlimited calling and text in the US
  • AT&T Mobile Share is slightly more complicated but it starts at $45 for unlimited calling and text in the US

What’s so fascinating is the complexity is now switching from the plan to the device, and the retail environment is not keeping up leaving me unsatisfied again. A classic one step forward two steps back.

Why are these people selling your products its not just Smartphone and its not the sales people’s fault. This is bigger issue and it needs to be solved in a completely new way.

Hmm, i have an idea.

Fear and Panic

Everyone has boundaries both physical and emotional. Pushing through those boundaries/truths is hard. The common statements: how do i start, I can’t, it’s hard, I don’t understand, I’m going to fast, things are not happening are all places where fear and panic kicks in. As entrepreneurs and humans we have to learn how to experience these boundaries.

A friend of mine who loves to cave dive shared a story with me that has always helped me when I am stuck. He was looking to explore some new caves, and after an extended period of time found what looked like an amazing one to explore. He swam around for awhile and did not realize the cave was getting smaller and smaller until it was to late. Now you know the end of the story, because he was able to share it, but let me recount a few of the details and the most important part as it relates to fear and panic.

I do not remember why he was not able to detect the size of the cave, but I do remember that he said it was black and the top and bottom of the cave had things sticking out. He realized the cave was getting smaller when his gear started to scrape. He quickly slowed down and tried to move his body and thats when things went from bad to worse. He was stuck.

I like to joke with my kids in these situations PANIC and thats exactly what he did. Many many thoughts raced through his head, most of them negative and judgmental. Then his training kicked in. His brain slowed down and started to compartmentalize.

He looked at his gauges, his lights, his gear and began to device a plan. Yes, this is the james bond part with the clock counting down he slipped out of his gear push himself backwards and before running out of air,  made it back to the boat.

Compartmentalizing saved his life and I speculate when those moments arise for you, and they will. if you can compartmentalize your thoughts you will find away out of the quicksand.

When will Apple replace employees with iPads

I wonder if the cuts at the Apple store will lead to replacing the majority of their underpaid floor workers with Facetime and workers behind glass. I could see a basket of iPads at the front door and glued to the table next to each product. When the consumer needs help, they tap the screen and talk to the genius behind the glass. A custom version of facetime could be created that told the person behind the glass where in the store the user was standing. A new kind of in-store GPS called Point of Sale (POS).

Update: that was  faster then i was expecting, 1 day after I predict Apple will have geniuses behind glass they announced a new feature to its Online store in the UK.  Apple Geniuses to help you pick the right iPhone.

is it time for WORE

Write Once Run Everywhere

I own a PC, several macs, an ipad, several iPhones, Android phone and most recently kindle showed up in our house. I have purchased apps, music and movies for almost every platform, and books for the iPad and Kindle.

Trying to remember where all this digital stuff lives is becoming a mental exercise in frustration. What I am looking for is Buy Once Run Everywhere and I want the store to take care of moving stuff to all my devices automagically.

Hmm, that gives me an idea.

Hello…Hello…I’ll call you back once Verizon goes iPhone

New Tech Boulder predicts 54% of the existing iPhone users will switch from AT&T to Verizon. What’s the math and is it time to buy Verizon, Apple or short AT&T stock?

  • According to comScore 23% of the iPhones sold as of November 2010 were for the US Market.
  • The same article reports about 75 million iPhones have been sold to date.

If the New Tech survey is accurate and 54% of the people switch thats 9,315,000 new Verizon customers.

  • If these number are correct and using my AT&T  bill as an average $150 a month, This will increase Verizon monthly billings by $2,587,500,000.
  • Increasing Verizon’s annual revenue by $31,050,000,000.

Holy sh!t these numbers seem crazy.

I don’t think the current Verizon stock reflects these types of increases, but remember buying and selling stock is an adult responsibility and I’m not an investment advisor.

  • AT&T stock price 28.85 / market cap 170 bilion
  • Verizon Stock price 35.93 / market cap 101 billion
  • Apple Stock price 336.12 / market cap 303 billion

A few other stats you might find interesting:

  • 26% have already switched to Android
  • 5% have switch to Windows 7
  • 4% use a blackberry


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