A Choice of Simple Tools

My primary requirement for a tool is that it stay out of my way. Ok, so maybe that is requirement number two, right after the requirement of the tool fulfilling its purpose. But honestly, if a tool can perform its required function then the next most important characteristic for me is that it be as non-obtrusive as possible. This applies to simple tools like screwdrivers and hammers as well as more complex tools such as computers and their software.

Simplicity ToolsWhen I pick up a hammer I expect it to be able to drive a nail into a board. I do not need it to have a compass to guide the way or a light to illuminate the path. Such things would only add needless complexity to the device and would thus get in my way. It is the simplicity of the device that makes it both useful and appropriate. The same goes for a screwdriver. Multiple attachments, lights in the body, and fancy sheathing may sound attractive at first, but when I am trying to get a job done those added complexities could actually make the job more difficult. The beauty of simplicity is that it represents just enough. Just enough to accomplish the work – not too little so that you require more time or tools, and not too much so that extra effort is expended.

This simplicity is also how I choose software. I am an Apple fan; there is no doubt about that. But I am an Apple fan for a reason. I will not deny, not in the least, that Windows and Linux may be immensely more configurable than Mac OSX. But that configurability adds a level of complexity that I find in no way necessary. That configurability actually gets in my way. I feel the same way about the Android mobile operating system versus IOS.
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Review: Uprising by Scott Goodson

Uprising: How to Build a Brand–and Change the World–By Sparking Cultural Movements by Scott Goodson promises to help your master the tools of social media and the new global communications market place to start a movement behind your cause. Well, in this case, most of what Goodson addresses is commercial marketing as a cause.

Uprising by Scott GoodsonWhile much of what Goodson teaches is useful, there are some glaring flaws in his arguments. This first problem I had is that he uses the Occupy Wall Street movement as a successful case study of a grass roots movement affecting change. The difficulty with this, at least at the moment, is that while the OWS movement exhibited a lot of sound and fury, but has seemingly not accomplished much. I wonder if this was just a view I had, but I asked a number of friends, most liberal like I am, and they all had to admit that while the OWS was a great idea, it seems to have accomplished very little. Well, unless you could trashing parks as an accomplishment.

Secondly, to defend his argument that these types of movements can be motivated towards brand marketing, he holds up Apple as an example. Just as I was an OWS sympathizer I am also an Apple fan boy. But, Apple is a special case and is not an easily replicable example. Just ask Microsoft. While people will line up for hours waiting for an Apple store to open, I can’t remember anyone ever lining up for the release of a Microsoft product. Maybe the Xbox or Halo video game? Perhaps the only other store that has people lining up for its opening is Trader Joe’s or Chick-Fil-A. But neither one of those has a stock cap of over $600 and the international brand recognition of Apple. And in Chick-Fil-A’s case it is because they are bribing the first 100 people with free meals for a year. Take those meals away, and no one would line up.

This is not to say this is a bad book. This review is coming off extremely negative, and for that I am sorry. I really enjoyed the book and the object lessons Goodson writes. The examples and methodologies it contains are valuable and they are easy lessons to read and grasp. They are harder lessons to carry out however. And more importantly, they are methodologies and viewpoints that are very hard to instill in an organization unless they were there from the start – and were there as the raison d’etre from the beginning. Steve Jobs did not retrofit his goals to the company. He set out from the beginning to change the world.

So, read the book. Take it to heart. Pass it on to others in your organizations. But don’t expect to be the next Apple unless you already have implemented everything in the book before you even read it.

Note: The publisher gave me a copy of this book for the purpose of. There were no strings attached, and that gratis review copy in no way swayed my opinions towards this work.

Apple Store Opening

I am actually writing this while sitting in line in the Charleston humidity for the Apple store opening. It is 8:15 am, and I have been here for about two hours. Just because you want to know, I am number 34 in line behind a dog named Olive and her owner. The number one person in line got here last night at about 8:30 pm. The line and the waiting isn’t too bad, but the humidity is killer. Has to be about 95 percent! Combine that with a temperature of about 76 degrees and we are all drenched.

Well, here is hoping I get my iPhone this morning. I would hate to think that all I am going to get out of this is a free t-shirt. Of course I do get bragging rights to being one of the first people in the new Apple store. Is that geeky or what?!

Apple Store To Open In Charleston

Charleston Apple StoreThe first Apple store in South Carolina is officially scheduled to open this Saturday, July 25th, at 10 am on King Street in Charleston. I can tell you that I for one am extremely excited. I will be there waiting for those doors to open!

Who else is going to be there? And the big question – how early do we need to start lining up? Damn I wish I hadn’t placed my iPhone order last Saturday.