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Apple Hires Away TAG Heuer's VP of Global Sales

Scot Seese Re:What's next (67 comments)

Are you saying the Reality Distortion Field is slipping? ; ]

Well, look at Beats. They really are horrible quality headphones, but they have extremely effective lifestyle marketing driven by hip-hop royalty & superstar athletes.

Their actual differentiators are the very thick, colored silicon rubber coated headphone cord that "feels substantial" and the softness of their ear cups, and the head rest foam. Granted, a pair of Klipsch headphones for half the price are better headphones, but "Dr. Dre" isn't endorsing those, and Carmello Anthony and LeBron aren't stepping off buses with them around their necks.

Fifteen years before that it was a few dollars worth of rubber and leather stitched together in SouthEast Asia being sold for well over $100 because some basketball player from Chicago had his logo - sorry, the logo Nike, or their ad firm created - glue on the side of each shoe.

about three weeks ago
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Apple Hires Away TAG Heuer's VP of Global Sales

Scot Seese Re:What's next (67 comments)

There are references out in the wild as to Ives' design influences. I can't remember if it was from the Walter Isaacson "Jobs" biography or elsewhere, but I read that both Jobs & Ives were huge devotees of Braun and their product design from the 1960s -1980s.

Lots of stainless steel, flat surfaces, needless but visually appealing accent holes, etc. It was joked that the old Mac Pro - the "Cheese Grater" looked exactly like an old Braun electric shaver, and the holes on the front resembled the foil shaver surface.

about three weeks ago
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Apple Hires Away TAG Heuer's VP of Global Sales

Scot Seese Re:What's next (67 comments)

Sorry,no - I typed my post on a fully loaded i7 15" rMBP w/16 gb RAM.

Just calling it like I see it. And as I see it, Apple is a boutique design company that makes expensive products with often superfluous differentiators. Truly the "carbon fiber and burled walnut" of tech products.

Your iPhone 4 does not have Gorilla Glass 2, or Gorilla Glass 3 on it.

The laptops you mentioned aren't selling well because consumers are repelled by Windows 8, the design of most Windows laptops right now is dreadful, and Apple's marketing is ferocious.

I owned a 13" MacBook Air before I bought my rMBP, and yes, they are nice little units.

 

about three weeks ago
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Apple Hires Away TAG Heuer's VP of Global Sales

Scot Seese Re:What's next (67 comments)

This. I have been saying this for years.

Apple is, and day by day, more and more - a boutique brand. Their pricing is incompatible with all but a handful of wealthy nations, and within those nations, upper income consumers. Their market share is very, very small.

They make high quality, beautifully designed, well thought out products that include luxury differentiators that are unnecessary for most users' needs. Billeted unibody aluminum cases in a world of plastic. Very high resolution laptop & desktop displays in a world of commodity 1920x1080. High speed SSD in a world of SATA spinny hard drives - that now, with RAM caching on-drive, are almost as fast as SSD. And the list of "luxury differentiators" goes on. And, most people who buy their products use them to do exactly the same work as the commodity Windows machines costing half the price.

And, Apple makes virtually nothing themselves - they design, and use a slew of Asian contract manufacturers to build their products - making them something of an analogue for European high fashion clothing brands. Design Studio to Runway, email the patterns off to Vietnam, container ship the fall dresses to the stores in a couple months. Design Studio to emailing the schematics off to FoxConn, container ship the phones for fall launch in a couple months.

Apple has probably resigned itself to the fact they will never move the marker significantly either direction for market share. Like any premium consumer brand targeted at upper middle to upper income consumers - Bose, BMW, etc. - There exists at any point in time a percentage of the population wanting those differentiators. And by adding a few tiny, special wrinkles to your products, the margins can be increased handsomely.

"Sapphire display glass." A Red Herring. The Corning "Gorilla Glass" product currently available is incredibly scratch resistant and costs 1/10th the price. The entire issue is obviated by the phone chassis being machined of aluminum, which is extremely soft and will scratch or dent badly from foreign objects in your pocket or hard surface drops, so the first thing most iPhone owners do is entomb their device in exactly the kind of design-hiding, ugly plastic case that makes Jony Ive bolt wide awake at night in a cold sweat.

But, another luxury differentiator that looks fantastic with a stylish Keynote slide transition, and a cute bar chart boasting of comparative surface hardnesses.

Luxury differentiators, small boutique brands, huge margins, discriminating consumers - all of Apple's recent executive hires have been from clothing & luxury wearable companies. It would appear they've made peace with their position in the world.

 

about three weeks ago
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Overkill? LG Phone Has 2560x1440 Display, Laser Focusing

Scot Seese Specs On Paper & Buyer Mindset (198 comments)

This is simply a stats arms race.

Seeing how Android flagship makers are using someone else's OS and app ecosystem, the only two places they can differentiate their products are through custom OS skinning (horrible) and product tech specs.

Considering how many Android users tend to be the "build your own PC" crowd who are hardcore gadget people, the specs bloat appeals to them.

Meanwhile, Apple is selling a smartphone with a tiny less-than-HD screen, a processor that toddles along at a whisker over 1 GHz and a tiny 1400 MaH battery, and they're doing quite nicely for themselves.

"Purpose Built" vs. "Specs in a Box" ?

about a month ago
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George Lucas Selects Chicago For the Star Wars Museum

Scot Seese Population Proximity, Travel Hub, Central Location (98 comments)

Well.. ,

Hardly surprising. This is the same kind of decision typically made by large entertainment ventures - e.g., Six Flags, Universal, etc. - after doing careful studies of population density, demographics and travel connections.

You've all heard the " ... there are N millions of people within a 4-hour drive or 1 flight,no transfer, from Y amusement park." Yep, same math.

While New York or LA may be closer to the entertainment industry, Chicago is central to the people who matter most - The fans.

If you stuck a pin in Chicago on the map and plotted a circle to estimate how many millions of people live within 2 states in any given direction - easy traveling considering the transportation arteries that converge into I-80 & I-94 - it's a hell of a lot of people. That one of the largest, most capable international airports in the world - O'Hare - sits on the edge of town, massively connected through multiple rail, bus and taxi lines - is a big fat cherry on top.

This is the kind of head-scratching math that puts enormous amusement parks like Kings Island in Cincinnati Ohio, or Six Flags halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee in the middle of nowhere - because they are actually in the middle of a ton of midwesterners unafraid of a car trip.

Having the ability to ride the nations' only electric interstate train all the way from South Bend, Indiana to Millennium Station in the heart of downtown Chicago for $22 round trip - I can't wait for the museum to open!

about a month ago
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Workplace Surveillance Becoming More Common

Scot Seese Re:Awareness of Programs Will Nullify Improvement (195 comments)

I used Richard Branson as an analogue for vision and creativity. My point was that vision, creativity and leadership are skills that some people are inherently significantly stronger at than others, and picking up an MBA at Online U won't do anything to make a person a more effective leader, or manager.

A parallel here would be the ages-old argument that doctors from Asia - Japan, particularly - are wonderful doctors - their scholastic culture and discipline serves them well for the brain dump of med school- yet the staggering majority of groundbreaking medical advances comes out of the United States, often from researchers who were lackluster students.

We have a lot of companies in the U.S. preaching "Innovation" yet the people they staff to provide "Innovation" have all the wrong skills. Lots of Fortune 1000s in the MidWest watch Apple keynotes and Silicon Valley companies keep slinging "Innovation" around as a buzzword, and decide to throw a committee together to be "Innovators" , with predictably disappointing results.

about a month ago
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Workplace Surveillance Becoming More Common

Scot Seese Awareness of Programs Will Nullify Improvement (195 comments)

Dear Corporate America,

Your employees will begin to resent your "15 minute department coffee breaks" as soon as they learn they were born from spying on work habits, or pulled out of the latest fad HR / Management best seller. This ranks up there with silly morale boosters like "crazy Hawaiian shirt Fridays" for a developer team that is crushing 60 hour weeks and just wants to go home.

Please accept a few thoughts on true lasting employee and corporate culture improvements:

1, end the "Corporate Daycare" mentality. Arriving at 8:05 isn't the end of the world, particularly if that employee is conscientious about staying until 5:10 to compensate. Actually, have you heard of "Flex Time" , at all? Adult professionals shouldn't be shamed for making coffee at 3:30 requiring they leave their desk for 20 minutes.

2, Realize that company-provided smartphones are essentially the same as taking your manager home with you, and stop fucking sending emails after 5pm unless it's an emergency. Stop sending meeting invites at 9pm for 9 AM meetings with the expectation that employees will see it, reply immediately and be present the next morning. Let's just tie this back to "treat people like adult professionals, the way you would like to be treated."

3, Your company suffers failure of imagination and naked greed. Make your employees participants in your companies' success. Ask them for product improvements, new product ideas, and give them more than a plaque or a parking space for coming through with groundbreaking ideas. Give them bonuses. Uncomfortably large bonuses. Watch in amazement as suddenly your employees are transformed from the cave-dwelling Morlocks from HG Wells "The Time Machine" to highly motivated people who will make the company significantly more money.

4, Value for Value. Pay people what they are worth. Treat them with respect. They will work hard for you.

5, There are artists - people who can start with a blank canvas and create a photorealistic painting from their minds' eye. There are people who can't do that, but can take a blank canvas, pencil a grid on it, and methodically reproduce the photorealistic painting with 95% accuracy. This is the difference between Richard Branson and every asshole with an MBA. Far more often than not, the largest source of employees' discontent stems from bad management. Leading and motivating people is a preternatural talent, and the people with that gift are worth sourcing and retaining at all costs. All star leadership will cut your employee churn, boost your productivity, and earn your company more money.

6, Stack Ranking, Six Sigma, when will you people realize that human beings are psychologically complicated animals and applying scientific optimization models originally designed to optimize efficiency in industrial manufacturing environments has little or no value when applied to the talking meat populating your cubicles.

Six Sigma is spectacularly effective at destroying true innovation, creativity and blue-sky thinking, and has no place outside of the factory. I'm glad everyone who attended a training seminar at the airport Hilton immediately ads "Six Sigma Level 3 Grand Wizard" in their Outlook signature to quickly identify those persons I never, ever wish to have a meaningful conversation about new product with, as part of the Six Sigma training is to destroy the part of the brain responsible for creative thinking by way of directed electrical current applied using a special helmet. Other electrodes in the helmet stimulate the part of the brain making you feel incredibly enthusiastic about applying Six Sigma to everything you imagine to be possible.

Stack Ranking is essentially the same cruel process used by 10 year olds choosing teams for kickball at recess, and often with the same level of consideration. The guy answering his company Outlook emails until 10:30 every night, who also pipes up frequently in meetings - albeit absent any meaningful contributions in either - color me surprised if that guy doesn't do well in the soul crushing quarterly Stack Rank.

Corporate America is soulless.

about a month ago
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Harley-Davidson Unveils Their First Electric Motorcycle

Scot Seese As a Motorcyclist, I Declare "Meh" (345 comments)

The limits of existing battery chemistries is what will reduce the LiveWire to an expensive hipster commuter toy. A 54 mile range per charge is not sufficient for anything but a typical daily Home - Office - Grocery Store - Home - Recharge cycle and the price will kill consumer interest. No one is going to buy this EV motorcycle for weekend back road twisties or poker runs. Or Track Day. Or pretty much anything else people use motorcycles for.

For electric vehicles to be practical a significant breakthrough in battery technology must occur on two fronts - Batteries must become significantly cheaper, have significantly higher energy density (storage), or both.

One of the many reasons an EV motorcycle makes little sense is that it erases one of the attractions of motorcycles in the first place - Price. $4-12k will buy nearly any Japanese brand you care to consider, brand new off the dealer floor. I absolutely guarantee the LiveWire will cost > $20k, just like the other boutique electric cycles out in the wild. That's well into "fuck it, I'll buy a Prius" territory.

  Then, add the "Harley Tax." Ha! And you thought the "pride of ownership / marketing brainwashing tax" only applied to your MacBook! Tell that to people who ride what are essentially farm tractor engines sold for > $20,000.

A brand new Honda CBR 250 costs $4,000 and will get > 50 mpg. http://powersports.honda.com/2...
A Honda VStrom 700 costs $9,000 and gets >60 mpg.

Neither of the two random bikes I listed above needs to be plugged into a 220v outlet for nearly 4 hours to "refuel." You can ride both of them all day on one "charge" of fuel and refill them in 1 minute at any one of hundreds of thousands of fuel stations.

John McCain may have been right about one thing, years ago during his campaign - We need a "Manhattan Project" level of concerted effort into producing an evolutionary leap in battery technology. THAT will change the world - not shoehorning a pile of laptop batteries into a motorcycle frame and calling it the wheel reinvented.

Someone in Milwaukee got tired of watching Elon hog all the media adoration a year or so ago, and decided to create a Halo product that won't break even but will bring young buyers back to Harley Dealerships.

about a month ago
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TrueCrypt Author Claims That Forking Is Impossible

Scot Seese Re:What whas the problem in the first place? (250 comments)

You missed an explanation - the TrueCrypt devs determined that the community code audit of TrueCrypt would eventually turn up backdoors, or spotty code in places so bizarre it would have to be intentional - and, possibly combined with a National Security Letter, the debs decided to just burn the house to the ground instead of allowing the government to repeatedly burgle it.

about a month ago
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Elon Musk: I'll Put a Human On Mars By 2026

Scot Seese Re:Bad idea (275 comments)

Well, obviously, Elon just needs to fund a $970 billion dollar Kickstarter.
   

about a month ago
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Elon Musk: I'll Put a Human On Mars By 2026

Scot Seese No He Won't, There Is No Money in Exploration (275 comments)

I admire Elon Musk. But he's dead wrong. Neil Degrasse Tyson is right.

As others have pointed out, taking your company public means surrendering a significant amount of control over the long term. Board members and share holders like revenue. It's all about the next quarter. They don't like pet projects that are giant money sinks without the remote possibility of a return. Persist on that path post-IPO Elon, and watch yourself be fired from your own company, ala Steve Jobs.

NDGT is spot on the issue of exploration. It takes a government interested in (mostly) pure science without profit motivation.

You want to put people on Mars? I'll tell you what puts people on Mars - the U.S. government thumbing their nose in the face of Chinese ascendancy - Ala Cold War 2: Space Boogaloo.

Let the government, or team of governments blow tax dollars on building Mars mission tech. That tech will filter down to private enterprise years later, so the next generation of Elon Musks can farm minerals off asteroids, or some other future commercial endeavor.

Elon is overreaching with this.

   

about a month ago
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IRS Lost Emails of 6 More Employees Under Investigation

Scot Seese Congress Churns, Federal Institutions Do Not (465 comments)

Senators and Representatives blow like the leaves during elections, but our federal institutions persist. Their executive personnel may turn over, but the organization doesn't.

You can have as many Senate hearings and bluster on CSPAN as you like, possibly even terminate and reappoint senior level officials, but the organizational mission of the NSA & CIA is skullfuckery, treachery and manipulation, and the IRS exists to refill the wallet of the federal government every way imaginable.

What will come of this? Well, a probe into data archiving pract Oh look a tornado just wiped out a town out West and one of the Kardashians is pregnant again. Just a sec, gotta look at Reddit on my iPhone. What were you saying?

about a month ago
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Bitcoin Security Endangered By Powerful Mining Pool

Scot Seese The Night Shift @ Fort Meade (281 comments)

.. It's just the guys on the 3rd shift at Fort Meade, retasking server farm cycles.

about a month and a half ago
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Big Telecom: Terms Set For Sprint To Buy T-Mobile For $32B

Scot Seese Re:Anybody remeber Nextel? (158 comments)

Entirely depends where they get their marching orders from.

Kansas? Or Tokyo?

What IS Sprint, now, exactly? They're just a brand name. They were bought out. "Sprint" is the color of the shell that the Softbank hermit crab moved into.

about 2 months ago
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Wikipedia Medical Articles Found To Have High Error Rate

Scot Seese Internet Medical Info Saved My Life. (200 comments)

Wikipedia NO, but thorough scouring of the Internet for information coming from peer reviewed medical journals - U.S., and foreign - greatly reduces the informational advantage that physicians used to enjoy over patients. Furthermore it puts up to the minute information in patients' hands, vs. docs who are so overloaded with patients they scarcely get time to go to conferences or view lectures to satisfy continuing education requirements. Doctors also tend be highly opinionated people who quickly discount information shared by lay people.

Several years ago, I was diagnosed with Borellia Burgdorferi (Lyme Disease) by a family practice doctor at a walk-in Urgent Care outpatient facility. After 28 days of Doxycycline - the "standard protocol" - my symptoms returned significantly worse.

Had I followed the generally held beliefs of the medical community, I would probably be in a wheel chair right now, unable to work or function. Instead I aggressively scoured the Internet for more information, for weeks. On an out -of-the-way antiquated looking Lyme support website, I found recommendations for a Lyme specialist 3 1/2 hours away in another state that was willing to risk the wrath of insurance companies and even loss of his medical license by treating patients in the manner known to actually WORK - Profoundly high dosages of combination antibiotics over extended periods of time (many months) and radical dietary changes with added nutritional supplements.

I sit here today - now several years later - in perfect health thanks to "Internet Medical Information" and a courageous doctor that flew in the face of conventional wisdom.

Should you listen to your doctor? Yes. Far more often than not, they are going to be correct. However, "trust but verify" should be your approach- particularly if you are faced with life changing, life altering, or potentially life-ending medical care decisions.

Your physician is but one person, while the internet contains the collected wisdom of millions.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can Star Wars Episode VII Be Saved?

Scot Seese You Can Never Go Home Again (403 comments)

No, because you can never be a child again. So you will never view Star Wars through the lens of the young person you were when Ep. 4/5/6 were released.

Lucas had stuffed teddy bear people, cute robots and cartoonish muppet alien characters in all of the original films. Fans loved them. Lucas put silly characters in Ep. 1/2/3 and they were panned.

Did Star Wars change?

No.

You did.

about 2 months ago

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