Losing Our Senses

I heard a fabulous interview with a mini hero of mine this week. James May was on the Richard Bacon Show talking about his new BBC series – Manlab.

Still being based in the US means I haven’t seen Manlab yet – don’t pay the licence fee, so can’t get iPlayer and won’t buy a Slingbox, but James was discussing the premise of the programme being to show the lost skills of what used to mean, being a man.

He discussed hanging wallpaper, cleaning spark plugs and mixing concrete – (all of which I have done I’m proud to say) as being basic skills that are now in danger of being lost due to a computer dependent generation. Why put up a shelf yourself when you can call ‘a man’ to do it for you?

Without passing judgement on the lazy, good for nothing generation Y, I was more taken by a phrase that James used when describing Sat Nav.

One of the tasks he undertakes in Manlab is to navigate the English Channel armed with just charts. He made a very good remark about Sir Francis Drake having a Sat Nav aboard The Golden Hind, before saying this – “you cannot bequeath your whole life and all your senses to the machine”.

So Captian Slow sums up beautifully a feeling that I have tried to express in this blog previously. For all the technical brilliance of smartphones, tablets, apps, widgets, social media monitoring tools, etc. etc. at the end of the day they are just tools! Tools used by people – human beings. Irrational human beings with high expectations of service levels and product quality. Having a Facebook page a Twitter account and a whistles and bells CRM system means nothing if the people responsible for them think that the tools in themselves will solve all of their problems.

Human beings are the key. As Best Buy say to their Twelpforce “Be smart, be respectful, be human!”

So if you think technology alone can get you out of the social media jungle unscathed, then forget it and go home.

Do you agree?

iPad Sales Fall Short of Target

Quarterly results published by Apple yesterday revealed that 4.2m iPads had been sold, down against analysts predictions of 5m.

This is against a backdrop of encouraging sales data for the iPhone – 14.1m (up 91.4% on the same quarter last year) and iMac computers – 3.9m (up 27% against the same period).

I would suggest that supply problems – I certainly noticed my local Best Buy were out of stock recently, combined with consumers awaiting the launch of iPad 2.0 are significant factors behind these reports.

However, as reported here, the iPad is shortly to be available in Wal-Mart and is already being stocked by Target as Apple makes attempts to widen distribution.

I stick to my prediction that the iPad will become the dominant platform for accessing the internet in 3-5 years.

Am I wide of the mark?

iPads in Wal-Mart

This isn’t a comment about the fact that people will apparently soon be able to pick up an iPad at their local Wal-Mart, it’s more to do with how this makes you feel.

How would you feel buying an iPad from the Apple store (on or offline) as opposed to Wal-Mart? In the same way, how do you feel about buying potatoes from a Jewel Osco, or a Co-Op, as opposed to a farmers market or Waitrose.

How important is price for you? How important is service? What about the warm feeling you get from some stores that you don’t from others?

I’m intrigued.

I think Wal-Mart are making big strides in changing their image. Their green scorecard isn’t just lip service, it matters now.

Of course, Apple must be desperate to secure greater saturation before the Playbook and Android tablets start making headway, but by allowing distribution through Wal-Mart and Target, they are surely taking a risk with the Apple reputation?

What products will Wal-Mart merchanidse alongside the iPad? Will Apple have the same sanctuary they enjoy in Best Buy?

I’ve just noticed this post is full of questions!

What do you think?

Another One Down

Just a quickie. I was following Iain Dale on Twitter this morning and laughing out loud at his unfortunate experience in the Tunbridge Wells branch of PC World on a Saturday morning. Iain tells a great story. Here are the highlights:

“Enduring the usual bollock breaking customer service experience at PC World trying to buy an iPad. How does this company stay in business?”

“In the end walked out of PC World after they wanted 2 know how many credit cards I had and other personal info irrelevant to iPad purchase.”

He then publishes a Blog post entitled “How Does PC World Stay in Business”

Finally,….“Have now ordered iPad via Apple Online Store. A pleasureable experience, and all without having to deal with PC World numpties.”
Now Iain Dale has just shy of 14,000 followers, not a massive number, but that number includes some very influential and powerful people who have much larger number of followers. A simple re-tweet of this mornings miserable experience would be devastating. As it is, here I am writing about it!

I’m not aware that PC World in the UK are on Twitter. They don’t promote it on their site so I supsect not. So I guess they’ll just not be listening for people like Iain Dale either? Shame. Best Buy are coming….

But then as Mark Ritson says in his infamous article “Social media is for people not brands” and “..it does not work is when cold, hard, lifeless organisations start trying to spark interactive social media conversations.” What about just engaging with poor Iain Dale?

Give me strength!!!