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