He wasn’t supposed to be here

My neighborhood lost power tonight. As a result, my garage door won’t open so I can’t park. I am in a cafe bored and inspired.

He wasn’t supposed to be here.

His boss left early today, so he snuck out of work and headed home early, avoiding the normal rush hour traffic.

For a moment he considered going to the gym. However, he had stayed late the night before so he was tired. He got in his car and headed for home.

He wasn’t supposed to be here.

For a moment he considered meeting a friend for drinks. He hadn’t seen his friend in a while and it would be nice to catch up.

However, his friend was stuck at work and wouldn’t be able to meet. Defeated he turned back around and headed back down the familiar street toward home.

He wasn’t supposed to be here.

As he pulled into his driveway, he hit his garage door opener. Clicking it, nothing happened. Perhaps the battery was dead?

His neighbor peered down from her balcony. “Powers out”, she yelled. Staring up through his sunroof he frowned. He wouldn’t be able to park.

He wasn’t suppose to be here.

With a heavy sigh, he drove toward a local coffee shop. He would have to wait out the power company fixing whatever problem cropped up.

He ordered from the friendly barista. This was not the barista he was used to. He came in Saturday mornings, so his normal girl must work mornings.

He wasn’t supposed to be here.

Finally he plopped down on the couch. At least he had his iPad with him. Between the news articles and coffee shop music he was lulled into a calm.

His phone buzzed. “Down for another hour :(” his neighbor texted.

He wasn’t supposed to be here.

He looked up because a pair of feet was standing in front of him. “Is anyone sitting here?” she asked. She was cute, and vaguely familiar.

“The power is out in my building so I’m riding it out here.” he offered. “Me too!” She replied.

He was exactly where he was supposed to be.

iPhone Announcement Predictions

My predictions for the big announcement tomorrow from Apple:

  • New iPhone
    • 4.7 inch
    • No 5.5 inch
    • bigger capacity (smallest is 32GB)
  • New “iWatch” device
    • Won’t be a watch, but a “wearable” that manufacturers can design straps”holsters” for like cases for the iPhone
  • New Apple TV
    • Everyone has forgotten about the rumors for this since the iWatch has taken over. But supplies of the Apple TV have dwindled, and its due for an upgrade.
  • New iPads
    • I know this is a bit out of place, but I think they are going to quietly update these. I saw the old iPad mini was on a $100 discount at my local Best Buy this weekend, like they were clearing inventory. That’s typically a sign.

Google is turning into Microsoft

“Or to simplify things (!!!): you’ll have Google Play, the online store with apps, movies, TV, music, books and NewsStand; Google Play Music for downloads you purchase; Google Play Music Key for on-demand streaming; and now YouTube Music Key for on-demand, streaming of stuff from YouTube.

Apparently, just calling the whole thing “Google Music” was not considered?”

-TechCrunch on Google’s new YouTube based music service.

Reminds me of this old gem:

 

Dating and Choice Paralysis

The internet has enabled us to connect with scores of people across the globe that we couldn’t have dreamed of contacting before the mid 1990s. So, with the ability to interact with so many others, why is dating still so hard? Shouldn’t we be able to find our perfect match?

My Grandparents were married over 70 years. They died together in their 90s. Chances are your grandparents have a similar story. Why did this bond last? Were they especially lucky? Did they search for their soulmate far and wide? 

No. Quite the opposite. Two generations back, people largely didn’t have the ability to look much further than their own towns to find a mate. Travel was expensive, and even communicating wasn’t realistic. 

So, your Grandmother looked around her town at the 10-20 eligible men around her age. She discarded the options that were not attractive – he’s a drunk, this guy is just unattractive – and picked the best available to her. It was a manageable selection.

Now, we have access to almost literally everyone on the internet. We get on Match/OKCupid/Tinder and have literally thousands of people at our fingertips to pick from. The thinking then goes – certainly our perfect match is out there. We should be able to find the other half of our soul that fills us with a burning passion while also sharing every single one of our beliefs. If someone isn’t exactly perfect, they are easily discarded, because there are so many other options available. One of them must be the one.

Which of those two scenarios is crazier? As an analogy, there is a concept called “Choice Paralysis”. The idea is that we are okay at comparing a few things and making a decision about what would make us happier. If we need to choose between three detergents – perhaps a scented, non-scented, and one with fabric softener included – we can make a decision about which we would most like.

Most of us assume more choice is better. So keep adding scents and options. However, at some point we tip the scale and become less satisfied. With too many choices, we get overwhelmed. We can’t spend our whole lives comparing detergents. So, we pick one, but if we aren’t completely satisfied we think there was probably an option that was better, still on the shelf. Even if we are satisfied, we can’t help but think there was a better option we overlooked – one that was cheaper or smelled better for example. Sound familiar?

 

Faking Cultural Literacy

What we all feel now is the constant pressure to know enough, at all times, lest we be revealed as culturally illiterate. So that we can survive an elevator pitch, a business meeting, a visit to the office kitchenette, a cocktail party, so that we can post, tweet, chat, comment, text as if we have seen, read, watched, listened. What matters to us, awash in petabytes of data, is not necessarily having actually consumed this content firsthand but simply knowing that it exists — and having a position on it, being able to engage in the chatter about it. We come perilously close to performing a pastiche of knowledgeability that is really a new model of know-nothingness.

-Faking Cultural Literacy on the NYTimes

Corrections in the Tech Industry

Two pieces of bad news for various tech companies recently. First, Samsung’s quarterly reports show lower quarterly income for the first time in two years.

This should be very concerning if you are invested in the Android ecosystem. Samsung rode the wave of being the “iPhone for people who didn’t want an iPhone”. But, they have never been great at innovation. Their “added” features aren’t valued by consumers.

So, they have to stand out through hardware. But at some point, other manufacturers can catch up with big screens and other specs. Then the only point of differentiation to an end user is the price. And Chinese manufacturers are already out-speccing Samsung and beating them on price.

For the end consumer, this appears to be a good thing. You will get hardware at cheaper. However, for manufacturers this means a race to the bottom. Consumers don’t appreciate small details and will just look for the cheapest phone. So, you use cheaper plastic. You start adding junk ware programs that are sponsored and the makers pay you to include.

All of this happened to the PC market years ago. No manufacturer could differentiate on features after a certain point. Plus, all the Operating Systems were the same, some flavor of Windows, just like all these phones run Android. So the only thing to do is go cheap.

How many of you enjoy using a 299 laptop? Exactly. But very few people justified buying a super expensive Vaio or Lenovo. Which is why both of those parent companies spun off those branches of their companies.

We are going to see more and more cheap devices and some fall out in the Android Phone industry as a result. Certainly, this means more wide adoption of Android devices, but how many of those users will buy apps, which support a flourishing app ecosystem? Its hard to make money giving away your product.

Second, Apple is selling fewer iPads that expected. This is a problem in that for growth, the company needs something to be the next iPhone. There are arguments about whether this is true – in that you can just keep updating iPhones, but for “investment” types growth is sexy.

I have an iPad, but I have also told almost all my friends they do not need one. The limitations are just too great to use it as a laptop replacement. The one-app-at-a-time problem is real. Think about your desktop right now. I bet you have more than one window open. You have your web browser, a mail client, a music player, probably a document/spreadsheet of some sort, and maybe a twitter client open.

Sure, you can have those running on an tablet, but switching between them is tedious compared to a laptop. And having both open to compare or copy/paste between is impossible.

I think many consumers hoped these tablets would be a cheap way to replace their laptop. Upon discovering the limitations, they quickly ran back to the computers, relegating tablets to third device status – behind their computer for productivity and their phone for always accessible updates.

What I'm Thinking

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