Apple Goes Back to the Future to Fight Google

| Particle Debris

For a long time, observers have tried to figure out Google's overall product strategy. It's not that Google doesn't have a vision based on its long-standing angle on people's needs and associated advertising. But when Google started rolling out hardware, then we started to wonder about the grand product plan. What have been the driving values that, in turn, confer respect and admiration for the company?

Meanwhile, Google was hiring some very smart people and unleashing them. Lots of things have been tried, and lots of things have ended up being cancelled. The consensus, at least what I've read, is that many of these projects were dreamed up and implemented because they seemed cool, and the hope was that because they were cool, they'd appeal to a broad range of people.

A lot of them did not.

This week, I was directed to a fascinating article by Thomas L. Friedman at the New York Times, who tells the story back in February of how a Google executive, the senior vice president of people operations for Google, Laszlo Bock, has reconsidered whether the prospective employee's G.P.A. rules. “G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless. ... We found that they don’t predict anything.”

We should welcome him to the club of experienced hiring managers who've been saying this for decades. Friedman continues the article by citing the many other factors that Mr. Bock has found to be useful. Those factors are exactly what you thought they'd be. What took Google so long?

What I find fascinating is that in our fast-paced technology development, the backwards looking window of wisdom is compressed. As data, experiences, web words and products increase exponentially, we can only look back in time so far before everything that was done before seems irrelevant. That, of course, can also lead to overlooking a century of insights about the basics of human behavior and needs.

When Apple presents us with TV ads and when Apple develops products, one of the things that we realize is that there are long-standing human values at work. Part of this comes from Steve Jobs, but part of it comes from the people who have trained under him and who are still at Apple. Some are irritated by these Apple ads because the values expressed fall outside their backwards-looking window.

One of the things we expect of Tim Cook is to not only continue to be an effective CEO in the operation of Apple, recognizing change and seizing opportunities, but also to preserve, protect and defend core values that Apple is famous for. Mr Cook doesn't have to be Steve Jobs. He only has to be himself — smart, insightful and a solid leader who maintains a proper focus. Then, everything important about Apple's values takes care of itself, and observers will seldom find themselves questioning Apple's new products as they have with Google's. 

However, it's one thing to forget the past.  It's quite another to institutionalize it for your own gain.  And that leads us to...

Next: The tech news debris for the week of July 14.

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Re google waking up to GPA reality, I like the mantra of one global engineering company:

“We never hire the students with the best grades, we hire the students who make the best keg catapults, whose robot does the most damage when it runs amok, who gets banned from science fairs because their project destroyed others projects.  That’s why we succeed where others fail.”


Ted Landau on the demise of iLife.
I’m glad to see someone pointing out what I’ve found obvious ever since it was introduced: While it may be a great app, while a (vanishingly small) subgroup might use it, the vast majority of people never use it, never start it, never play with it. I have started GarageBand exactly once and after five minutes I realized that not only was I not into creating music, I actually have a negative talent for music. Anything I started editing sounded worse the longer I messed with it. I truly believe, based on a fairly large sampling of my family and friends and co workers, a number of whom are amateur and professional musicians,  that almost nobody is using GarageBand. I have no idea why Apple has continued to update it.

Annoying Ads
I find that the more annoying an ad is the less effective it is. I’m usually trying to close the pop-up window or hit the mute on a commercial that I don’t pay attention to what they are selling. Also if they get too obnoxious, like one site I used to frequent, that put three commercials in front of their videos, I leave tyne site. I just stopped looking at their videos, and eventually stopped going there at all.
In a tangential topic, has anyone seen that Cadillac(?) commercial with the dancing robots. There’s this car surrounded by two rows of four manipulator arm robots all of which are moving, twisting and turning in unison. I’m not really sure what the car is because every time it comes on I’m fascinated by the robots. I really couldn’t tell you what the car even looked like. That’s not an annoying ad, far from it, but it is very ineffectual.

Why Enterprise IT should Fear Apple/IBM
This makes a lot of sense. I’m glad I no longer work in IT. Between hosted rent-a-server companies and remote support companies and now this I’m thinking it was a good time to go into something else.

What’s Android to do
Crazy prediction time: Faced with the Apple/IBM partnership Google/Samsung will try to set up the same kind of a deal with Microsoft. Google will want to roll out a bunch of apps to support Windows Servers from Android devices. They will get rejected by Microsoft for two reasons. First Microsoft has their own (moribund) mobile platform. Secondly The new boss at Microsoft is pushing cloud services hard. They are trying to move to a world where most businesses just use Microsoft as their rent-a-server service. Office365 is just the start. They’d like to reduce or eliminate remote IT techs so they won’t see a need for Android apps to access Windows Servers.
The Apple/IBM deal will will mean one thing though. BlackBerry is toast. Apple ease of use with IBM security and inside track to the boardroom cuts the last fingernail they were hoping to hang on with. Few, even here in Canada want their phones. Their services haven’t taken off on other platforms. Now with IBM pushing the iOS solution the last of their strengths, an inside track to the boardrooms, is gone.


To me the key argument in the USB3 vs Thunderbolt discussion was in the comments, where a user advised that WiFi and wireless devices suffered around USB3. He said:

I have tried *many* USB3 hubs, and have given up. You need heavily shielded cables and boxes *everywhere.* Neither my wireless mouse nor my USB3 was reliable. Disks “fall offline” without warning. My WiFi range for iPad and iPhone in my house is 20-30% less with USB3 devices attached.

More speed is NOT good if there are adverse side effects. Especially if they are this bad.

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