Saturday, January 8, 2011

What competes with an iPad?

Well it's that time of year again,  Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas time, where all the companies roll out their iPad killers (circa 2010 & 2011).  If it were circa 2008 the theme would be iPhone killers, but we have progressed as a society.

One great quote I read on the web was from Steve Martin in reference to CES - "Saw large wooden device that can fling boulders over castle walls. iPad killer."

There are great minds trying to help companies unseat the Great and Powerful Oz ... uh Jobs, but even they are missing the silver slippers (that got ruby-ized for the Technicolor movie).  Note dear reader that I have a personal misconception that all allegories in America stem from the Wizard of Oz and I subscribe to the Monitery reform allegory of Frank Braum.
I have gone so far as to require people on my teams to watch the movie and eat popcorn in order to better understand the idioms of their village idiot.

Quick Toto, into the twister (worm hole) and back to the CES, where the theme repeats like an album at the end of the track.  For you digital natives - in old school tech, just after the steam punk tech died out and we got the 1950s good nuke generation (power so inexpensive it would not be cost effective to meter it) the music player of the day was a turn table and we had several media file formats 45s, 78s or the LP (that means long playing, about an hour).  Oh - wait, wrong exit, back into the twister... 2010... no 2011 is our exit.  It is not the iPod killer CES we wish to see, its the iPad CES we are looking for, pod, pad, "you say potato, I say patato - let's call the whole thing off".

Back at the 2011 CES the theme is iPad killers - or slate computers.  A whole new industry just materialized in front of Steve Jobs' in 2010 as he waved his magical wand (with an Apple logo at the tip) and created the elusive new market segment that couldn't be successful. Yet here we are one year later and it appears that the segment is successful.  Apple stock has continued to rise.  The yellow brick road leads to Cupertino.

Andy Ihnatko gives us Lessons at CES - how your tablet can compete with iPad. He list over 10 lessons to help competitors run to catch up with the wizard.  However I think he misses the key.

Great lessons in the play book to create an iSomething product killer. But there is a repeating meme here. I keep hearing the melody repeat but at a different pitch. Oh... I think we are in a fugue! So what is the subject of this fugue, the beginning point, the pattern's purpose?

It can be traced back to 2001, when the Great Oz stepped out from behind the curtain and presented the eHub strategy. The key to understanding the whole formation of the Land of Oz. It is the one thing that all other companies creating their iSomething replacement keep missing. It is the key to happiness that Dorthy is looking for.  The key she finds it in her own backyard. It is what makes the grass in Kansas greener than in Colorado. (An aside - the grass is always greener where you water it.) Its virtue is simplicity itself.

The eHub strategy is about creating an eco-system. Not one product. Not one device. An interconnected, interdependent, well integrated ecosystem of many products and services and a holistic land where not just one wizard was capable of printing money - but a land where many people could work and play. A land that gives people Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose (thanks Dan Pink). A land that maximizes Happiness (my core value).

The 2001 MacWorld keynote where the wizard in black turtel neck sweater steps from behind the curtain to describe the land.

  Related Post:  Bashing the iPad - But will you purchase?

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