Customer Unservice

This funny-but-sadly-true image has been widely shared this week.

Unskippable segments on DVD are the ugliest form of interruption advertising.

It’s never OK to deliberately give your customers a bad experience. DVD manufacturers are there to entertain, not to lecture.

New Spice

LOLs all round for the Old Spice 2010 Super Bowl ad. Much kudos for the knowing, witty and likeable execution

And you gotta love that payoff.

(The IT) Crowdsourcing

Graham Linehan, writer of Father Ted, Black Books and Father Ted is not only a funny fella, but also a seasoned whizz at social media.

Ahead of the filming of the fourth series of the IT Crowd, he’s asked fans to help dress the set

…send us your poor huddled zines, your artwork, your comics, your T-shirts, your memes. Anything you think should be in there that we might have missed

Not only is this financially sensible, but it’s also a great way of engaging fans, giving them a deeper sense of ownership and a real reason to spread the word about the new series.

But this has got a bigger hard drive. And bluetooth. And…

The biggest mistake a technology company can make is to think that they’re a technology company. It leads to the mistaken belief that better tech spec means better product means market success.

Nope.

David Hepworth is an unmissable writer on entertainment and culture, and also occasionally strays into marketing. This piece on the the difficulty of competing with Apple on rational grounds struck a chord:

Playing with it [a Sony Walkman] just now it struck me how difficult it must be in the personal electronics space these days, having to compete with Apple. It doesn’t matter how many qualities your product might have, Apple is the one that holds the high ground where dwells desire. A year ago a young friend demonstrated all the features of his iPod competitor, many of which were superior to Apple, but he did it more in sorrow than conviction, as if he knew that the playground prestige battle had already been lost

It reminded me of this similar article in Penny Arcade, which nailed it so brutally and beautifully that every tech CEO should staple it to his desk.

It’s got to be so annoying to compete with Apple… when you come out with what is (on paper) a better version of the same thing, maybe even multiple times over, it’s too late.  You made a “product” to compete with their “product,”… only to discover that they hadn’t made a product at all – they made a narrative.  A statement about how technology should interface with a life.

Microsoft’s creative destruction

This is a great insider’s-view article on how Microsoft lost its creative and innovative spark.

Internal competition is common at great companies. It can be wisely encouraged to force ideas to compete. The problem comes when the competition becomes uncontrolled and destructive. At Microsoft, it has created a dysfunctional corporate culture in which the big established groups are allowed to prey upon emerging teams, belittle their efforts, compete unfairly against them for resources, and over time hector them out of existence. It’s not an accident that almost all the executives in charge of Microsoft’s music, e-books, phone, online, search and tablet efforts over the past decade have left.