Archive for August, 2006


Tri Without Borders

Finished in 2 hours and 35 Minutes. Ten minutes faster than my previous personal best.

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I’ve never really heard this song from Notorious B.I.G. But I believe in it. Organic foods are hugely popular, but we are running out of supply. Apple is kicking some megabyte butt, but the iPod glow is losing some luster. MySpace, while growing, isn’t that cool anymore. And apparently Green Day sucks.

I see a kind of zero-sum game going on with supply and demand. For example, organic foods are selling like crazy. From food-coops, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and other upscale grocery stores. The demand is so great suppliers are having trouble keeping up. But with a national population in the US of 300 million and a world population of more than 6.5 billion, I would guess there is a point at which it is impossible for everyone to buy organic foods. This of course unless we lower the standards of what is considered organic. There are only so many farms and dairies and they are close to only so many metropolises. At some point growth hormones and insecticides and other “impurities” are going to need to be introduced to make sure there is enough affordable, and hopefully healthy, food for all income levels.

So it goes: Apple has gone mainstream. Rather, Apple has made it to mainstream with the iPod and now the Apple-haters are coming out. The worst are the former Mac-heads who no longer like Apple because it isn’t rebellious enough… it’s not their little secret anymore… it’s not the source of their quasi-intellectual status from which they get to look down on the rest of the population as lemmings and suckers and surrenderers to the hegemonic downfall of our Orwellian society.

Apple is known for being more expensive than the other guys. Sometimes double or triple. And with that comes the expectation of double or triple the quality and performance. And with the iBook, the iPod, the MacBook and the growing demand from the growing base of Mac-heads, Apple moved production to Asia. Like just about any other company with the business-skills to know they can lower labor costs. With this kind of production move, there are going to be problems. And a typical Mac-head is more technologically skilled than your average citizen. So if they have a problem, they are more likely to have an outlet to share their disgruntled ravings. The Internet forum/blosphere/media echo chamber starts and you hear about it a lot more. But for the 60 Million iPods that have been sold (frankly, most of them being Nanos) there are startlingly few problems.

But change is painful. With growth and popularity, Apple needed to extend their operations in order to meet demand. The bigger issue now is how Apple deals with product problems. The secretive nature with which they develop and release products (which I LOVE by the way) may not be the best to deal with customer service issues, but at least it limits official Apple communications to the truth. Every organization makes occasional missteps, but Apple works to resolve negative issues. Sometimes it is done quietly and sometimes it’s done with a new product release.

So don’t condemn Apple or Steve Jobs because they are mainstream. Apple still makes great products, has fun stores and provides a computer experience to satisfy the technically skilled and the technophobe alike.

They didn’t go mainstream. Mainstream came to them.

Oh, yeah. I almost forgot. Since Green Day makes really good music, has sold millions of records and consistently sells out any arena, coliseum or stadium, they officially suck.

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Our view is that the current format war is unwinnable by either Sony or Microsoft in the next several years. They are both powerful enough to maintain the stalemate. Hopefully, early next year the single format studios will join Warner and Paramount in becoming format agnostic. The press will declare the format war over and the consumer adoption cycle for High Definition DVDs will begin in earnest.”

– CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings (via HDBeat.

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