Earlier this year, prior to my talk at The Next Web conference in Amsterdam, I wrote a guest article on TNW's Web site titled "The Death of the Web Browser." Intentionally hyperbolic, it looked at how we increasingly get more of our Web content through something other than a Web browser--a smartphone app, desktop apps that embed Web-based content into them, and so on--and we can foresee the day coming fairly soon where the browser will be the minority means of accessing the Web. My Next Web talk extended that idea in more detail, in particular looking … Read more
Remember just a few years ago when Apple was lambasted for shipping a one-button mouse with its Macs, and there was constant speculation as to why the company stubbornly refused to offer a multibutton option? The given reasoning was that more buttons would confuse people, even though PC users seemed to do just fine with them. Not that Apple has always shied away from a bit of complexity in the mouse arena--just look at the first Mighty Mouse--but still, there has been something about one-button products that Apple has consistently liked; both the iPhone and iPad have only one button … Read more
Check out these great illustrations from the 1960's, possibly done by Henry Drefuss' office, envisioning how the aesthetics of the electric grid can be improved. These are from a little-known book called Power Styling, commissioned by United States Steel. The book introduces the concepts this way:
“The problem of locating electric power structures and lines is becoming increasingly difficult. The public is sensitive to and critical of the appearance of such facilities which traditionally have been designed on a function-reliability-safety-initial low cost basis with little consideration given aesthetics. Remedial measures taken during or after erection are usually of limited … Read more
Whatever you may think about Apple, there is no denying that it continues to set new standards for its craft. Craft? Yes, that seemingly old-fashioned word that many confine to quilting, scrap-booking, and other pursuits often disparagingly categorized as women's activities. My alma mater, the California College of the Arts, dropped the word craft from its name years ago, feeling that it was dragging the image of the school down. But craft as a concept has made something of a comeback in recent years, and no company in the mass-production realm is doing it better than Apple.
That's … Read more
As we're inundated with hero shots of the iPad every day, on every billboard and the back of every magazine cover, it appears to be a good time to rethink the relationship between advertising and product, between marketing and innovation. It's not that Apple doesn't spend any money on advertising--no, it was pouring a whopping $500 million into its launch campaign for the iPad. But what is different is that Apple's marketing doesn't have to be clever or utterly creative. In fact, it is stunningly not so. No major social media campaign needed to be sparked, no user-generated content contest needed to be held. And while the ongoing tongue-in-cheek anti-Microsoft ads are undeniably cute, they are not really an advertising revelation. Gone are the days of the bold "1984" campaigns. Today, Apple earns enough attention to forgo any ostentatious marketing, in fact, so much that a cleverly orchestrated campaign would distract from the brand rather than boosting it. The company simply displays its products--that's all it takes. Apple's products are viral without any viral marketing.… Read more
IBM has just released its fourth annual survey based on 1500 face-to-face interviews with global CEOs. Past studies have been rich sources of understanding the trends that company leaders are seeing shaping their businesses. The opening statement by IBM's own CEO, Samuel J. Palmisano, sets the stage for this year's study:
"[E]vents, threats and opportunities aren’t just coming at us faster or with less predictability; they are converging and influencing each other to create entirely unique situations. These firsts-of-their-kind developments require unprecedented degrees of creativity — which has become a more important leadership quality than attributes … Read more
Those who know me will tell you that I tend to reflect on things, but the sad truth is that my brain is simply slow: here I am, writing about the iPad months after everybody else has put the microscope down and decided to wait for the thing to finally hit the market for real.
From my vantage point of nonengagement I must admit it was oddly amusing to see Apple for once unable to safely ride out the centrifugal mammoth hype tube they managed once more to build around their latest … Read more
I'm en route to the Marketing 2.0 conference in Paris, one of the most respected gatherings of marketing executives presenting and discussing the latest trends in their field. In a way, the story of the conference is the story of marketing itself. The somewhat yesteryear name indicates that a few years ago, when Marketing 2.0 premiered, it was conceived as a forum for pioneers who were early on embracing digital marketing and social media. Times have changed. What used to be at the fringes of the profession has moved into the mainstream, and both program and attendees of Marketing 2.0 reflect that. That's not a bad thing. Digital marketing IS marketing, social media IS media. You would think...… Read more
Microsoft is a bit like Tiger Woods at the moment--industry darling that became too dominant, then had a fall accompanied by a thick layer of schadenfreude, and now is trying a come-back. Microsoft is being replaced in the big-bad-wolf department by Google and Apple and finds itself in the odd position of being an underdog, and people love to root for underdogs. In fact I'd say that Microsoft is further ahead on the comeback trail than Tiger is if you look at some of its recent announcements: Bing, Windows Phone 7, the Courier journal concept, and the just-announced IE9. … Read more