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I had to get an iPad for a startup I’m working with. Despite my tireless dedication to their cause, I also tried to squeeze some pleasure from this adult toy. Like finding a Porsche on Gilligan’s Island, this sexy slab of tech taunted me – daring me to figure out why I needed it. I learned that I didn’t, but got a firsthand glimpse into first world suffering. A condition no amount of inspirational Facebook posts can cure. So here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly of it all:
Just got this confidentially from a friend working on this project for the US Post Office… Unreal!
—– Forwarded Message —–
Sent: Wednesday, Jan 15, 2012 4:54 PM
Subject: Proposal: New Post Office Business Model – Go Postal!
- Define yourself. What are you? Are you Mexican, American, Middle Eastern, sandwiches? No one knows. You’re trying to be all things to all people. Stop.
- You have too many menu items. It’s impossible to do 90% of them well. Pick a cuisine, then get rid of everything that doesn’t fit. Have you seen a Chipotle menu? Simple.
- Your prices are too high, lower them. You’re a tiny take-out joint. Act like one.
- Change your name. There is no such thing as a blue food and no one describes food as “cool”. Fresh, delicious, spicy, savory, not “cool” and definitely not “blue”. Plus your awful premise for a restaurant badly needs to be forgotten as quickly as possible.
I recently read a scathing review of several new services offering free or nearly free phone calls over the internet. Assuming you get past the fact that this mystery has already been solved, the mere existence of these services raises a few confounding questions:
- Why would anyone design such bufoonish, overly technical services?
- What kind of uber-geeky cheapskates are they targeting? Who in their right mind would take that many steps to make a phone call? We live in a world of free off-peak mobile minutes, Skype, and $24 per month unlimited VOIP service.
- Finally, after sitting through the ponderous description of how these services work, what venture capitalist would have funded these unintuitive, consumer repellent services?
However, if you have a good (or marketable) product, you are doing it a disservice by selling it in a depressing environment. Case and point: Burger King. Last night, my friend was craving a Whopper, so we stopped in at a midtown Burger King. My GOD, the FLUORESCENCE!! Who designed this lighting? Surely, it was Satan. These places are the same as when I was a kid, grease stains and all. As an adult, I am aghast. While, my obvious disdain did not preclude my friend from devouring his Whopper, I know there is a way for Burger King and its brethren to grow up and attract new customers along the way.