Worse than actual boredom, the anticipating variety preys on your mind and makes your worst fears about corporate-mandated meetings, or speakers who read directly off the slides manifest in a single imaginary meeting in your mind as you wait for a real boring meeting to begin.
In case you missed this statistic buried in the message that employee choice seems to be Apple’s entry to the enterprise.
46% is a huge number, and presents a great growth opportunity. Of course, the asterisks is there because it’s really 46% of the 1,000 employees on the trial program at Citrix, which might have a different demographic than the broader population.
Sitting here at NWC the other day, I saw a guy working. Went up to him and said “you have a corporate job too, where do you work?”. Someone overheard me and was like “how did you know he had a corporate job?”. Simple. The guy was working on a Dell laptop and had a SecureID next to him. Corporate issue just like IBM’s blue suit was back in the day.
I continue to believe that the common thinking behind PC’s having a lower cost of ownership than Macs is false. When purely looking at the purchase price, just one aspect of the total cost of ownership, they are cheaper, so CFO’s continue to purchase them by the boatload.
I believe that when people who use the machines are paying, even out of their own pocket, they believe Macs have more value. That will translate into Macs invading the enterprise as more BYOD programs launch.
When employees make the decision, they choose otherwise. Even if part of the purchase price comes out of their own pocket1 employees will choose Macs because they are ones that bear the other aspects of using the laptop beyond the cost. For me, weight, battery life, number of times a day it needs to reboot, and how long I can use the machine with performance close to day-one performance are equally important to cost.
Oh, and did I mention fun. Fun is important too… and I have a lot more fun with my Mac than I ever did with a PC.
Time will tell. I remain long AAPL in anticipation.
- assuming these employee-choose programs give a fixed stipend for people to choose their own laptop, but perhaps not one that covers the full cost of a Mac [↩]
Since yesterday’s announcements, I’ve been hit by a ton of searches where people are looking to understand how intrusive Kindle ads are on the ad supported devices.
In short: They’re not intrusive of the reading experience at all.
The ads show up in two places:
- On the front of the device when the devices is powered off, and
- At the bottom of the device’s inventory list
While I don’t think the discount is enough, I chose to purchase an ad supported device to save a couple of bucks, and I’d do it again.
I went to update my metrocard yesterday, and after charging my card $50, my receipt said “could not write to media call support” (or something close to that).
I went to the booth and the person there was wonderful. She was pleasant, knowledgeable, and thoroughly unable to help me.
I had to call to get my refund.
Well, not really.
I had to call and the automated system told me I had to write to get my refund.
I spoke to a person, then a manager.
You see, I expected it would be easy for them to simply credit the transaction. Just like if I were in a café and they billed me wrong. They would undo the wrong transaction and redo it correctly right on the spot.
Apparently, the MTA (NYC Subway system) can’t do that.
The process is to send in the info, and within 3 – 4 weeks, if I’m lucky, I’ll get the proper refund. Of course, there’s no way to track the status of that refund process, so I have no idea if they got what I sent them, or if what I sent them was what they need.
I wondered why. Why couldn’t the clerk in the booth simply exchange my receipt and failed metrocard for one of the proper value? Better yet, if the machine could tell me what the problem was, why couldn’t it just back the transaction out? Or, submit it automatically to be repaired, and give me a tracking code? The receipt (and machine) had all the information needed — the original balance, the charge amount, the problem, the metrocard number, the ID of the automated machine I used, and the last four of my credit card.
When I called, I said, if I called the bank, they’d simply undo the transaction. The response? “We’re not a bank.” Well, if I was at a café and they charged me wrong, it would simply be undone/redone. “We’re not a café.”. Really? I didn’t realize.
I think what it came down to was a lack of trust of the employees. In order to prevent abuse/fraud, there was a tightly controlled system to manage refunds. The system is probably centralized.
What I don’t understand, with all the modern technology and distributed governance out there, why they can’t do a better job at detecting and preventing fraud/abuse, while at the same time improving the customer experience?
You might think, it’s the MTA, they have no reason to care about the customer experience. I’d disagree. I think there is complete awareness that a better experience leads to more understanding customers. In the last decade I’ve personally noticed improvements at the Post Office and the Department of Motor Vehicles related apparently to the customer experience. I remember reading that a side effect of focusing on the customer experience at the DMV was better employee satisfaction. But, I digress.
I think the MTA could save a lot of money processing these refunds, while improving the customer experience quite “easily”. Why? Well, this process is really easy. Refund a failed transaction. It’s easy to figure out where the complex parts of the proces are, and design around them. It’s all been done before by others. It would save money, give people more confidence, and it seems that stuff like this happens a lot, so would affect a lot of people.
By the way, notice how I used “easy” and “complex” in the same description there. Think about this… Easy is to hard as complex is to simple.
Article first published as The Higher Insight on Technorati.
I’ve been thinking about a recent post by the Windows Engineering Team on upcoming design changes to Windows 8 Explorer. It’s an interesting article, and makes for good reading. The backstory: Windows 8 developers blog about what they’re doing for Windows 8, and you get really interesting insight into what’s going on up in Redmond.
Though I liked the article, something about it bothered me. I’m very pro-Apple, and passionately for user-experience. I was bothered by something that went beyond my bias, it took me a while to be able to articulate it. Most Mac/Windows arguments are emotional. I’m going to put words to that emotion.
The justification for the new ribbon on Windows Explorer is scientific. They claim that “the commands that make up 84% of what [people] do in Explorer are now all available on this one tab.”
Microsoft is missing the higher insight on this one, an insight that Apple gets.
The trends in mobile, begun with the iPhone/iOS, have led people to have an intimate relationship with their devices.
A more intimate relationship with technology. This is the higher insight. Intimacy, not which part of the window they’re clicking in, guides the user experience.
With OS X Lion and upcoming iOS 5, we’re seeing Apple merge these two environments and bring this intimacy to the desktop.
Microsoft is building a better Windows Explorer, no doubt. Most likely, way better than the frustrating Finder on the Mac. But, that’s not what matters. Watch the way people relate to their iOS devices, and understand what we crave from technology. Not a better Windows Explorer. We crave a better technology experience so that we can get things done and forget that we’re using a computer.
Apples vs. Oranges
Once I made this connection to the higher insight, I realized something else.
We can compare Microsoft to RIM.
Desktop to mobile device.
Justification to justification.
I remember RIM’s justifications when the iPhone first came out. Their target demographic were serious business people who needed keyboards. Their target demographic needed security. Their target demographic needed enterprise management tools.
They gave us a utilitarian argument.
Computing is no longer utility. As information workers, our computers are the tools of our trade. They’ve become part of our persona, how we interact with our jobs and with each other.
Guess what? RIM has not only been crushed by Apple, but RIM no longer has such confidence in their demographic. In fact, RIM have just released a social music service. I wonder how they justify that feature with their boardroom demographic?
RIM clearly had an enterprise class offering, an established user base, and a dedicated following. None of which mattered in the end.
Obviously, RIM hasn’t been around nearly as long as Microsoft. RIM’s roots into the enterprise might be wide, but they’re not deep (as compared to Microsoft).
Displacing Microsoft, and all the custom apps and administrative tools written to it is a whole other story. Never-the-less, I can’t help but think about how unlikely it seemed that Apple would crack open RIM in the enterprise, especially considering how quickly it did so.
If Microsoft continues with their utilitarian approach to computing, it will take time but they’ll suffer the same result as RIM in the end.