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Marketing the NBC way

8.31.2007 by Kevin Creighton

Step 1: Load gun.
Step 2: Aim at foot.
Step 3: FIRE!
Step 4: Repeat as often as needed until you're completely ineffective.

NBC is pulling out of iTunes because it wants to raise the cost of each TV show download to five dollars per episode. Not movies, each TV show.

Did you get that? For $37 bucks and a few months wait, you can own a full season of Heroes on DVD and rip it to your iPod or watch it anytime you want on your computer or TV. And rather than the old price of $42. for a full season, which is right in line with the DVD price, NBC now wants you to pay the amazingly low, low price of ONE HUNDRED AND TEN DOLLARS (22 new episodes times $5) for a season of Heroes.

Look, I get that quick delivery is something people will pay for, and the long list of songs I've bought from iTunes proves this. But the cost/benefit here doesn't work out in NBC's favor. Look for them to come limping back to iTunes in a year's time.

Shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic

8.30.2007 by Kevin Creighton

Yahoo! reorganizes. Again.

While I've been using Yahoo! mail since it started, (and will for as long as it's free), I agree with Jeff Jarvis, Yahoo! is the last old media company. And it's in grave danger of becoming as irrelevant as all the rest of old media.

Five Simple Things

by Kevin Creighton

Leave it to a Microsoft employee to point out five excellent reasons why OS X treats it's users like human beings and not part of the collective. Via Fake Steve.

I have a list. And it's not so much a list of what I find wrong with Windows as much as it is a list of what I find right about OS X. It won't be phrased as such, but that's the general spirit of it.

These are things which, if the Windows team were to implement them, would make Windows far better than it is today.

1. Stop stealing focus

When I'm going about my merry little way in OS X, if there's an app in the background that needs my attention, it'll make itself known, but it won't hijack my whole experience.

In Windows, it doesn't matter what I'm doing - I could be focused on writing (as I am now), and some other app will happily come along, z-order its way on top of everything else, and refuse to piss off until I've clicked on something I don't even care about. I've been dealing with that this week, and it drives me nuts. It doesn't ask you to pay attention - it pushes everything else out of the way and forces you to get involved.

Not cool.

2. Stop with those irritating little bubble messages

After my machine starts up, I just want a clean space to work. What I have instead is a host of little bubble messages in the lower right-hand corner, telling me things like "Your security is stupid" or "Please click on this message to get rid of this message."

I.

Don't.

Care.

If my security is stupid, it's because I set it that way. I don't think nagging a user to change a setting that was intentionally set is a good way to make things safe.

3. Stopping hardware

When I have an external hard drive hooked up to the Mac, I just drag the drive's icon to an eject button on the dock to sever the connection between the laptop and the drive.

In Windows, I have to right-click on this obscure icon that most people will never even know about, click on something ("Stop hardware"? I forget the wording), and then select from a list the bit of hardware I want to stop. Problem is, there's nothing intelligible in the bloody list. There might be five things, all of which look as likely as the others.

I've been doing this for years, and it's still confusing.

What's the big deal? Drag. Drop. Done.

On the Mac, this is a one-click affair. Under Windows, it's at least four clicks. And they're confusing clicks at that.

4. Never, ever, EVER reboot my machine without asking

This one really gets me.

Non-existent on my Mac, but my Windows machine happily reboots itself whenever the fancy strikes.

I was writing a forum post for Channel 9 a couple days ago, and it got up there in length. Not so many words that I sobbed over the loss, but enough work lost and enough frustration gained that I called it a day and went home.

To my Mac.

There's no excuse for it. Yeah, security, whatever.

Bad.

5. Stop asking me to reboot - I'll reboot when I'm good and ready

Another rebooting problem. My machine grabs some updates, installs the updates, and wants me to restart my machine so they'll take effect. I'm fine with that, but I want to reboot on my own time. I hate having a whiny dialogue pop up every few minutes to remind me to reboot.

I KNOW. I KNOW IT'S TIME TO REBOOT. I KNOOOOOOOOW! NOW LET ME WORK.

When I write, interruptions are a Very Bad Thing. I get into a flow of thought that can disappear if I so much as walk three feet for a glass of water. Having that stupid "Reboot now? Well, how about now? Or now?" window appearing every few minutes is enough to make me scream.

That's all.

Five simple things which, if changed, would make Windows a much nicer environment in which to spend significant amounts of time. Windows is spiffy, but the things that work are the things I won't remark. When something happens with so little fanfare that I'm not really aware that it's happened, then it's probably a good thing. Unfortunately, when my attention is repeatedly - and we're talking about over and over every day - drawn away from my work, then all I'm going to remember is the irritating behavior. The good stuff doesn't even get a chance.

Not just a computer

8.28.2007 by Kevin Creighton

I like this little nugget of truth from a discussion over at Slashdot regarding Apple's laptop marketshare:

"...the laptop market is one that is well-suited to Apple's core strengths. Though a desktop is largely perceived as an appliance - it's an utilitarian box that you use to do stuff with - a laptop has the additional function of being a status symbol and expression of personal taste. Your desktop stays at home, but you can carry your laptop around with you. An iMac may look great, but its usefulness as a signifier of taste is constrained by the simply fact that it stays in your room. Now that the laptop market has become so important, Apple is in a great position to capitalize on their previously under-exploited brand identity."

Apple understands that if it's in your hands or in your home, it's an extension of your identity, not a utilitarian lump. Look at the industrial design of a KitchenAid mixer versus that of a Bosch power drill: Both are useful, functional, practical and rugged, but one is designed to be on display, and the other to be kept out of sight. Apple understands what's important to the consumer at a DNA level: Microsoft understands only what's important to Microsoft.

When many action figues where REAL manly action figures

8.27.2007 by Kevin Creighton

Fresh off the news that GI Joe has been turned into some Euro-backed UN team of pansies, I give you one of the greatest commercials in TV history.

Sgt. Slaughter, where are you when GI Joe needs you the most?

Not enough

8.23.2007 by Kevin Creighton

Pardon my yawns, but why would MTV want to bail on one failed online music store (Microsoft's) in favour of another failed online music store (Real's) ?

Any online music store that isn't compatible with the #1 mp3 player on the market is doomed to failure. It's like importing right-hand drive cars from Britain into the U.S. : Sure, a couple of aficionados might get one just to stand out, but don't expect the economies of scale to be on your side.

If you want to compete with the iTunes store for online music sales, you're going to have to take the iPod into account, and that means selling MP'3's, which prevents any and all Digital Rights Management on the music you sell.

E-Music gets this. That's why they're #2. Wal-Mart *may* (I repeat: MAY) be getting it. Real and Microsoft don't get it, and I don't know if they ever will.

Van Gogh 2.0?

8.11.2007 by Kevin Creighton

Ok, I like Apple products. A lot.

But this is NUTS.

"Thomas Martel, 28, of Bonnie Brae is a big guy. So he has a hard time using the features on ever-shrinking user interfaces on devices like his new iPhone. At least, he did, until he had his thumbs surgically altered in a revolutionary new surgical technique known as 'whittling.'"

Ugh. They even have a nickname for this procedure. Way, way WAY too much information.

PMA Non-Profit Conference Wrap-up

by Kevin Creighton

A few thoughts:
  1. Marketing organizations that are trying to help non-profits into the digital age need to to more than just provide two computers with internet access for their attendees: They need free wi-fi (at the very least) and at very best, communities and collaboration tools for instant feedback would be useful to both organizers and attendees alike, I think.
  2. How come high-end hotels like the Hilton charge for wi-fi, while it's free at a Holiday Inn Express or similar?
  3. New York is like any other city, only more so.
  4. It's interesting to note that in Times Square, in the heart of a city known for the depth and breadth of it's restaurants, your eating choices are Sbarro's, T.G.I.Friday's, Mcdonalds, Subway or similar.
  5. The pastrami at the Carnegie Deli is everything it's cracked up to be. And while my tastes lean towards Chicago-style pizza, authentic New-York style pizza is pretty good, too.
  6. Christian organizations (by and large) do pretty good direct mail marketing. Online marketing, however, is not where we shine. For now.
  7. Most interesting session? Listening to the top minds in marketing talk about how they have no idea if the all the young people currently on social networking sites how are advocates will ever convert into actual donors. My guess is yes, but it's going to take a while for them to get the cash to do so. Least interesting? Focus Groups for non-profits. I'm not a big fan of focus groups in general, and this presentation was particularly unconvincing
Photos here. A few of these were taken with camera in my Blackberry Pearl, and while I wouldn't submit them for publication, I think they look alright for snapshots.

Off to La Manzana Grandé

8.06.2007 by Kevin Creighton

for this.

Yay! Another conference!

Should be interesting. Watch this space for updates.

Well that does it

8.03.2007 by Kevin Creighton

No more open access wi-fi for me.

"The attack can hijack sessions in almost any cookie-based web application and Graham has tested it successfully against popular webmail programs like Google’s Gmail, Microsoft’s Hotmail and Yahoo Mail. He stressed that since the program just uses cookies, he only needs an IP address and usernames and passwords aren’t required."

Scary stuff.

No, Jon

8.02.2007 by Kevin Creighton

(No, not you Jon, this one.)

Elton John *is* an idiot.

"Sir Elton said the internet had 'stopped people from going out and being with each other, creating stuff', and it compelled them to 'sit at home and make their own records, which is sometimes OK but it doesn't bode well for long-term artistic vision'."

This is especially humorous coming from a man notorious for never working together in the same room as his lyricist.

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Kevin Creighton's views on online marketing, design, photography and the future of technology

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