Archive for July 2007

Will it sell?

July 19, 2007

I admit that I love watching Will it blend? This is one of the most brilliant marketing campaigns I have seen. Tom Dickson, the founder of BlendTec, shows the power of their blenders by shredding durable items — golf balls, hockey pucks, even an iPod and an iPhone! The videos are cute and campy, and Tom does a great job at keeping a straight face during the demos.

More importantly, these videos have created amazing publicity for BlendTec. Of course, “Will it blend?” has become the catchphrase of the tech industry. But when I heard a “Will it blend” story on NPR, I knew it had gone mainstream.

The demos are very impressive. I sold my old blender because I didn’t use it. But if I wanted a new blender, I know where I’d go to buy one.

eFlea market

July 17, 2007

In this story from the Dallas news, a woman tries to buy out the entire store’s inventory of iPhones on the day they are released. Just minutes before the store opens, she pays the first person in line a handsome sum to take his position in line. When the store opens, she is surprised to learn that there was a limit of one iPhone per customer. And she probably could have purchased an iPhone without having to pay for the first position in line. Ha!

These speculators are bad for both the manufacturer and the customer. From the buyer’s perspective, it may be difficult or impossible to get repairs, technical support, or a refund from an unauthorized reseller. From the manufacturer’s perspective, an authorized reseller promotes a positive product image, but a disreputable vendor tarnishes that image. ebay is simply a flea market. It’s fine as a virtual garage sale where individuals can sell their used possessions, but I wouldn’t want to buy or sell high-end products there.

It’s a shrewd move by Apple: to ensure that there is sufficient product for customers while choking off the supply to speculators.

Why retype business cards?

July 3, 2007

Like most professionals, I have a large stack of business cards from clients, colleagues, associates, friends, etc. But business cards are nearly obsolete. When was the last time you saw a professional with a Rolodex? Everyone uses electronic address books nowadays. An electronic address is necessary for email, and it can be shared with colleagues. It can even sync with your laptop or mobile phone.

So whenever I get an important business card, I have to retype the information into my computer. When someone gives me a paper business card, it increases the work needed to contact this person. This reduces the chances I will actually stay in touch.

Unfortunately, I can’t think of a better alternative. Scanners are almost as much work as retyping. It’s unprofessional to attach a vCard to every business email. Publishing your contact information on the web makes you a giant target for spam. And using a private address book system such as Plaxo means your colleagues must trust and join the system.

There must be a better way.