Monday, August 11, 2008

An Open Letter to Apple, Nintendo, and AT&T:

Dear morons,

I don't mean to tell you guys how to do your jobs. You guys have been in business for a long time and you've made some nifty products. (How about that Lisa!) I just have one little suggestion, just a tiny little enhancement to your business process.

What I'm about to suggest may seem completely nuts. It may fly counter to everything you believe to be true about business, but I'm asking you to suspend your disbelief and follow me in my flight of business fancy for just a moment.

Here's my idea:

If you have a product that people are willing to buy (and you all do!), then sell it to them.

I know! I know! BLASPHEMOUS! The whole concept of letting people pay for your product seems ridiculous! Hear me out though.

Nintendo, your entire business strategy these days seems to revolve around making really cool products and then not having any to sell. I am very impressed at your ability to come up with great ideas, but I can do that too. Time travel on a stick! Chocolate sex! Perpetual humor machine!

See, anyone can come up with great ideas, but unless you can actually manufacture them and get them to a store, you'll have the darndest time making money off them. You've got to SELL your product.

Apple, the same goes with you. That iPhone of yours looks so very shiny. I love shiny! I'd love to put that baby in my mouth, but for some strange reason, you won't let me. You've devised some Rube Goldbergesque purchase process that involves HOURS of my time and still does not let me trade dollars for iPhones. See, I WANT TO TRADE MY DOLLARS FOR YOUR PRODUCT AND YOU WON'T LET ME. You even have them in stock. I even got to hold the goddamn box. Unfathomable.

This idea you have, that people must go through the Sisyphean process of activating their phone before they can walk out with it IS RIDICULOUS. I realize that some tiny minority of people would buy an iPhone and hack it into something else, like an iCottonGin, but the vast majority of us just want your goddamn phone.

AT&T, this iPhone issue is probably your fault. You should realize that I'm willing to pay you $75 a month for moving bits across a wire. I'm no business wizard, but the cost of moving those ones and zeroes is a lot closer to the zero than the one. So, out of the $75 I'd be willing to hand you each month, you'd clear about $74.99 of pure profit. That's a good deal, no?

So, why do you need my social security number? Why do you need to run a credit check on me? YOU DON'T. You need ONE THING from me and that's my credit card number. It's the same number that I use to purchase items that cost THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS. If I'm willing to give you my credit card number, then we should have a deal no?

I mean, this should kind of be your forte, no? The act of taking my money and then moving information across a wire is kind of what you do for a living, no? Then why do you suck so hard at it?

In closing, I'd like you three to consider a final offer. I do hereby offer my services as a business consultant. For a reasonable fee, I'll sit in on your product meeting and every time one of you suggests making a fantastic product and then NOT SELLING IT, I'll punch you in the crotch.



Some Girl said...

Hi, Mike! I realize we've never met, and the extend of our relationship consists of me lurking at your blog.

However, based on the genius of this last post, I will serve as whatever reference you need for ANY consulting business with any of the above companies.

Seriously, WTF. This would be why I do not own an iPhone or a Wii. (While you're consulting, can you suggest another name, too? One that doesn't suggest pee?)


Avery Gray said...

Yeah, I thought it was pretty odd that the guy at the AT&T store asked not only for my SSN, but my husband's, too. He isn't even on the account. I figured it was because the guy asked me who my employer was, and I told him I didn't have one. Hey, how does he know I'm not some sort of independently wealthy heiress or something? My credit's good, so what does it matter who pays the bill? The fact that they ARE paid should be his only concern.

Hey, maybe when you're here in Portland you could make a little extra time for a good crotch-punching session! (The guy's manager was a weasel, too.)

Meg S. said...

Ah, you haven't been schooled on Life Rule #1

People are No Damn Good.

and Rule #4

Companies run by people are REALLY No Damn Good.

Got that from my grandmother actually.

I'll fill you on the rest of my life lessons later. But Rule #1 ALWAYS comes true.

patsy said...

well as usual I got in trouble with my mouth I was refering to the fact that India has a class system and one class is the unclean class at least that is what I have read or seen on Tv.
What do I know I have never been to India.

Mike said...

Hi Some Girl! !ooooo! I will totally use you a reference. Prepare to be bombarded with reference requests!

Avery, your husband's too? Man, that is just weird. I'm pretty certain that if we spoke to the right person at AT&T, like the Grand Poobah, they'd accept a deposit in lieu of a social security number.

Meg, I'm not one for sweeping generalizations, but those Life Rules are pretty compelling. I'll keep them in mind.

Patsy, I believe I've heard that caste referred to as the untouchables.

yajeev said...

Mike, when I'm elected President, I'd like you to be my Secretary of Commerce. You've got some revolutionary ideas, but i think our country just may be ready for them.

Yes We Can!

Neel Mehta said...

For a reasonable fee, I'll sit in on your product meeting and every time one of you suggests making a fantastic product and then NOT SELLING IT, I'll punch you in the crotch.

Crotch punchers make more in the private sector, but get more action within the Bush/Cheney administration. It's a trade-off.

Anonymous said...

I.... dunno. I got to the part where you said "chocolate sex" and the whole world just went sort of silent and I couldn't comprehend another word. Because that is just about the closest thing to perfect that I could imagine.

I'm sure the rest of your post was lovely and well-reasoned and insightful.... but... you had me at chocolate sex.....

Mike said...

Yajeev, I'd love to be in your cabinet! Sign me up! Who's the VP?

Neel, YOU are the master of commerce, able to even optimize the selling of crotch-punching. I bow down to you.

Mox, I know! Delicious! Feels good! Delicious! Feels good! Mmmmm.

Ms.PhD said...

As usual, thanks for the laugh.

avery gray, that's some sexist bullshit. I really doubt they would have asked your HUSBAND for YOUR SS# if he had said he was "between jobs" at the moment. WTF???

Mike said...

Miss PhD, you are welcome.