Friday, January 29, 2010

Bashing the iPad - but will you purchase?

The question is not will the iPad do everything you or I wish it to, clearly Apple did not intend it to be the One Device to Rule Them All.  Apple's intent has been clear for several years.  Jobs stated the intent in a speech 9 years ago: The digital hub strategy.

"The Mac," Jobs said, "can become the 'digital hub' of our emerging digital lifestyle, adding tremendous value to our other digital devices."

"Jobs laid out a path of PC evolution that defined the early 80s as an initial 'golden age' of computing based on productivity software, which began to wane in the early 90s.  A 'second golden age' began in the mid-1990s with the rise of Internet; but it too began to lose its momentum by 2000.  Jobs said he believed a third age would focus on a digital lifestyle, driven by an 'explosion of digital devices.'"
-- by Phil Simon The Age of the Platform



Steve Jobs introduces the "Digital Hub... by HiltonRobb

Simon writes "Apple forced this third golden age by developing its platform -- and making it so compelling to use."

To see the ecosystem of the computer as a hub of your digital life.  They have executed on that vision with the iPod, then the iTunes store, the iPhone and the App store, now the iPad and the iBookStore.  Are we following a pattern, is there a cookbook?  The leader has a vision, shares the vision with the followers, the followers buy into the vision and together make it a reality.  

The new product adoptions phases are progressing quite nicely.  Apple is a master at this process, described by David Pogue in:
http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/27/the-apple-ipad-first-impressions/.
Wildly Successful New Product Launch Phases
Phase 1 feverish speculation and hype (preannouncment)
Phase 2 disappointment and bashing (prerelease)
Phase 3 attainment anticipation and adoration (post release)

So we are clearly in Phase 2 (bashing).  With rational reasons, but when Phase 3 (attainment) arrives - will you rationalize these arguments and purchase an iPad? I've got $5 on Yes, you buy.  Actually a bit more than $5 as I purchased Apple shares just under $200 after the bounce and drop on the iPad news.

My reasons for the confidence in Apple:  They have executed on Jobs vision, they are in iteration 3 of new products that connect to the computer hub.  I have Pogue's model of phases of product adoption for an explanation of the media. I refer you to the long list of "desired" feature missing in the iPhone, and the large number of iPhone sells.

Apple has the magic balancing act of the perfect engineer - they are at the top of the game in the compromise to optimize simplicity thereby maximizing enjoyment of the product.  They are not as concerned about shareholder value as they are customer satisfaction.  They have a very good measure of customer satisfaction.  I think they are getting the customer satisfaction equation optimized.

See comments section for continuing updates to this story line.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Visible Progress the Best Motivator

Scrum uses a burn down graph to track progress. Turns out this is a powerful motivator.

An article in Harvard Business Review discusses a survey of 600 managers on motivation in the workplace.  The number one motivator from manager's perception is recognition for good work.  However a multi-year study tracking workers has a very different finding.  Contrary to manager's belief workers define that progress is the top motivator.

"On days when workers have the sense they're making headway in their jobs, or when they receive support that helps them overcome obstacles, their emotions are most positive and their drive to succeed is at its peak."
Note the removal of impediments in the quote above.

The article supports the Scrum practices of tracking progress every day, of removing impediments, and of celebration of progress toward the companies goals.

An interesting TED video is Dan Pink's talk 'The surprising science of motivation'.  Where he also describes how our common understanding of motivation via rewards is contradicted by the science on motivation.