Tuesday, June 29

Silicon Valley peyote
(or, Tangent Heaven)

So, Sun plans to Get Rich Quick by selling (proprietary) Java Horn Tunes (vs Ring Tones) to teenagers for $5 a pop? Ring Tones are a fad; although they're a multibillion dollar business today, it will pass.

Yes, one of the first things I did when getting my new cellphone was download a ringtone, for $2. ONE ringtone, and not one a month; not only am I not that fickle, I'd soon forget which ringtone was mine. Ring tones have value because of the personalization; horn tunes have no such value (unless it's for the putz who pulls up front of Becky Bob's house and blows his horn, rather than ring her doorbell).

A lesson that soooo many people have not learned is that spreadsheets do not go forever .. eventually every fad will pinnacle.

What started me on this rant? Well, I spotted an article which exemplifies how out of touch the executives at Sun Microsystems are: Buy data service, get a free car?

Earth to Jonathan: people buy cars as reliable transportation, not as a platform to run Java (or whatever you're peddling at the moment). Forget the subscription model way of thinking; try offering stability to your customers instead.

I am convinced that every few years, Sun's execs gather in the desert to smoke some peyote, and emerge with a 1960's-era vision of how the world will come around to their way of thinking. Sun's "disruptive innovation" is simply Planned Obsolescence: lesson learned. Scott always had the desire to keep mixing things up, so the company doesn't get stale (like Wang or DEC or any of the Long Goners). While there's validity to that tactic, it sure would've been nice to go even one year without a major reorg, just to see whether that would have a positive impact on sales. Then again, selling computers isn't SimCity -- a laboratory experiment, where you have a quiescent/controlled environment. Even if sales had risen year-to-year, that doesn't mean it was because there was no reorg; it could've been related to hundreds of factors.

The Republican Party successfully peyote'd the population (during one of Reagan's terms); they convinced everyone that Democrat=Liberal=Bad .. and the Democrats are just now recovering from this Branding. I think this is partly a result of American Attention Deficit Disorder: we want everything in 30-second bursts and are annoyed when something can't be reduced to a Reagan-era sound quip [sic].

Note to Al-Qaida: beheadings are no longer shocking. We got over the first one, and the rest have (sadly) become "been there, done that" material.

Along another tangent: Branding [marketing] is so hard to achieve, and I was frequently baffled by Sun's Marketing (example: when they decided to jettison the Solstice brand .. Which was replaced by .. Nothing). I won't discuss the battle over Solaris branding .. no way.

I recall when CHMSLs (Center High Mounted Stop Lights - those red bulbs mounted at driver-height in a vehicle's rear window) first appeared. The thought was that they'd put an end to rear-end collisions. For awhile (until the novelty wore off) they probably did. I suspect that once we became accustomed to CHMSLs, their effectiveness wore off.

I never did believe in tailgating (repairing a damaged car takes too much time out of my day, so I don't get into accidents) but I watch a lot of drivers who tailgate, and dart from lane to lane, trying to get somewhere 30 seconds faster than the next guy. They are idiots, for the most part. Eventually, drivers will be graded and only allowed to be in the left lane if they have sufficient intelligence to be there (moving right when a faster car is behind, etc.). Alas, it's now time for my daily peyote smoking .. I will blog again tomorrow.

No comments: