Kindling Success

Addendum: RIP Steve Jobs – You are this generation’s greatest innovator

Amazon recently introduced a new version of its trendsetting Kindle electronic reader. While the original ignited change in how books reach audiences, the latest intends to disrupt the momentum of Apple’s iPad. Kindle Fire has a bigger – color – screen, a faster browser the company believes will be as smooth as its Silk name and stores everything in the cloud. Since iPad hit the market 18 months ago – having sold more than 30 million units – competitors appeared and vanished quickly.

HP announced six weeks ago it is discontinuing TouchPad after determining it mistakenly tried to compete with Apple’s 83 percent market share. So what makes Amazon think it will succeed where others failed? Amazon is upfront that it’s not taking aim directly at iPad. Kindle Fire is WiFi only with no 3G access. There is no camera, nor can you create and edit documents. You can’t place a voice call. What you can do is access Amazon’s extensive digital library. As CEO Jeff Bezos noted in unveiling Fire: “What we’ve done is really integrate seamlessly all of our media offerings – video, movies, TV, apps, games, magazines and so on.’

Most importantly, you can buy Kindle Fire for $199. The entry-level iPad is $500. Amazon is betting the digital content it sells will make up for the low price. That’s an advantage other Apple competitors aren’t able to utilize.

Anytime there is innovation, copycats follow. The key to not ending up in the product graveyard is to provide enough differentiation that consumers have a viable choice. As someone who purchased the original Kindle several years ago and has read many books on it, I’m glad to see Amazon take the next step in improving its device. Someday – in our lifetimes, I’m guessing – hard copies of books will be collector’s items and nothing more.


Future Shock

My wife and I recently had a discussion about what the younger generation will do in, say 2030, when they look back and realize all the moments of their lives are forever captured by YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and whatever arises as the next can’t-keep-away-from-it-must-update technologies du jour. (We also spoke about their ultimate realization of ‘Why did I ever get these tattoos?’ – but that’s another story.)

I’ve decided, however, we’re being unfair to the youth of today – what with adults already setting such embarrassing examples. Take Rick Sanchez who was fired by CNN on October 1st for inappropriate comments about his bosses at CNN and Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart. Sanchez violated the first rule my mother taught me in high school: “In everything you do, act like there is a camera on your shoulder for all the world to see it.” (Keep in mind that was 35 years ago.) How a professional journalist could allow himself to speak such controversial things is mindboggling. Those few sentences Sanchez said on satellite radio will follow him forever.

An episode of ABC’s Modern Family addressed this topic just two weeks ago when Claire Dunphy confessed to her daughter that she wasn’t as pure and wholesome a teenager as she tried to make her children think. Regardless of whether you’re in high school, college or already in the working world, keep in mind what you say and do is subject to someone else discovering it. There are no secrets anymore. Think about that before you post something that might not reflect positively on you down the road.


It’s All About Connections

Up next in the Top 10 Things I learned in 2009:


Social Disruption – My generation is known as technology ‘Immigrants’… as opposed to our ‘Native’ kids. We’re learners; they’re naturals. In April, I started Tweeting. In July, I began blogging. Toss in Facebook, Linked In and a few others and – whew –  there are many things to learn and track. Social Marketing is here to stay; the world wants to connect, and all of us need to determine the strategy behind our efforts and the best way to balance everything.