Apple Posts

Microsoft: Windows 8 and Surface make a bold, brave statement

The last thing I want to do when I am readying to board a plane is getting sold on something.

  • A widget.
  • A diamond jade elephant.
  • A snuggie.

My ears are closed, and my mind’s blank.

But technology?  That’s a whole different story.

Now you have an active, interested, engaged candidate. I might even miss my flight if the technology looks impressive.

While walking to a recent flight, I noticed a pop-up Microsoft storefront where a gate should have been at Austin Bergstrom’s Interational Airport.

The Windows 'handout' was fun, colorful, intriguing.

The Windows ‘handout’ was fun, colorful, intriguing.

This gate wasn’t hosting a direct flight to HOU or LAX, but a wise technology veteran aiming to sport a new image.

Was it strange to see a vendor like this at an airport? Yes.

Was it brilliant for Microsoft to introduce Windows 8 and the Surface tablet to business travelers? Absolutely.

Friendly, courteous, knowledgeable Microsoft reps were on standby to answer my questions as I approached.

I not only had a chance to test drive new product, but saw first-hand the focus of the Windows ‘brand’ and the secondary ‘brand’ of Microsoft. It wasn’t accidental that Microsoft was playing the Windows card front and center.

Since 1985, Microsoft has been releasing versions of Windows. The once-dominant operating system may have lost its way amidst iPads, iPhones, iMac and Macbooks, yet don’t count this tech bellwether out yet.

Inside: A little text-heavy, but still casual and effective.

Inside: A little text-heavy, but still casual and effective.

Call me old school, but I really like to type on a keyboard, and the Surface satisfies this craving. The colorful, fun-to-use tablet helps me bridge the gap between a fun, entertainment device and a productive machine. I could easily see myself charging through a marketing campaign via the Surface, as well as watching a Netflix movie, or getting crazy on social media.

I’ve long been a Windows user (professionally and personally), but have often looked at the Mac OS with jealous excitement. Mac users seemed to be having so much fun, and there I was, being – well — productive.

Windows 8 may have finally received an invitation to the cool kids’ party. The new operating system looks fresh, fun, colorful, intuitive: characteristics that have long remained elusive to the Redmond, Washington’s most famous company. This splashy product launch is very encouraging for the Windows franchise.

Most likely, you own an Apple device or two in your household. Don’t dismiss Microsoft, however, as yesterday’s technology computer. They are back with a great new line of products and technology – Windows 8 and Surface.

Austinites: Look for the Microsoft gate at ABIA. Careful: you might miss your flight.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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Apple’s best advertisers are its customers

I have a confession to make: I don’t own an iPhone. Go ahead call me an anomaly. I own a Blackberry (hey, they were once cool?); it does the job, but lacks the obvious sizzle, appeal, and usability prowess of Apple’s baby.

I’ll probably eventually submit and join the revolution, yet until then, I’ll blissfully observe the transformational impact that these devices are having on society.

For example….

A recent flight had me sitting next to a friendly lady; she sported an authentic Texas drawl as a longtime Austin resident and travels around the nation doing sales training and consulting. She was chatty (my kind of seatmate) and was transfixed to her iPhone.

I watched her fiddle and play; she eventually told me that she spends the majority of time on her iPhone playing Scrabble. In fact, she was so ‘committed’ to Scrabble that she’d buy the iPhone just for this luxury. Now that’s a lover of the language; a maiden of words. The iPhone is far from a device; it a phenomenon that makes convenience, necessity, want and need blur into one.

Scrabble

The digital version of this classic game could get pleasantly compulsive.

The company Apple is in an enviable, favorable place in American society; the company’s products and services continue to play an active role in our personal and professional lives. People literally can’t live without these devices.

Go ahead and dream, but your company may never come close to achieving the success of Apple; there are, however, a number of lessons that you can carry into your business.

  1. Can you not just routinely, mindlessly solve your customer’s pain, but bring him some fun while doing it? Apple’s products aren’t just functional; they are a joy to use.
  2. The app ‘ecosystem’ is a magnetizing method to keep customers on Apple product. Can you find methods to make it tougher for your customers to switch to a competitor?
  3. Consistency of benefit. Apple relentlessly pushes fast, light, easy in their business. Are you coherent in the relief that you bring to your customers, or does it waver depending on the program or campaign? Make it simple for customers to know why you are the answer.

Fair warning: If you see me asking you if I might borrow your iPhone, be wary; I might need it for a full day. ;)

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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A cautionary tale: the Smartphone names of the future

Smartphones (Android, iPhone, Blackberry) are omnipresent and show no signs of ceasing. Apple has done a dazzling job at creating a new market and turning a commodity into a luxury. Whereas Starbucks brought status and sizzle to coffee,  Apple has quickly, miraculously done the same trick to smart phones.

Smartphones

Are you using your device as catalyst or crutch?

One frightening trend I’ve noticed is the lack of interaction in public places – some of the blame can be placed on devices, including smartphones. I know the workplace has gone mobile. Many professionals use Starbucks as their office, not as a gathering, connecting place. They have a quota to meet, code to finish, campaigns to push.

Many people set aside social interactions or meeting new people in favor of gazing into their cell phone. Yes; business is business. If you need to check an important message, return a phone call, or approve a spec, the attention is warranted.

Look around; this gaze into a Twitter feed, Facebook wall, corporate e-mail inbox or apps sometimes teeters into a flat-out, glazed-over stare. Don’t bother blinking, you might miss a text message, or a deal of the century on Groupon.

I’ve been thinking….

The ‘vanity’ names for smartphones of past and present could double for a list of amusement park rides or alluring colognes:

  • Chocolate
  • Curve
  • Torch
  • Transform
  • Wave
  • Focus
  • Desire

Could our focus on ‘device contact’ instead of ‘eye contact’ usher in a new group of smartphone names?

  • Bored
  • Distract
  • Frozen
  • Zombie
  • Scatter
  • Trance (no wait, there already is a Nokia Trance; can you believe it?)

As my friend Steve Harper, author of ‘the Ripple Effect’ stresses, connections are all around if you would take the time to pay attention and step out of your comfort zone. Remember: don’t set aside the importance of social media for your business. If used appropriately, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter (even on your smartphone), can open up connections that were before impossible to achieve.

True meaning, connection, engagement, trust can ONLY happen in a face-to-face meeting – something that no smartphone can replace — no matter how compelling the name.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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