The Importance of Feeling Heard

As we’ve seen day in & day out in the headlines, the Apple Maps that was released via iOS 6 was a big flop.  In many cases, the maps were just wrong.  Lauren and I went to Hilton Head last weekend for a wedding and were consistently frustrate with Apple Maps as we tried to navigate.

The poor quality of Apple Maps led to a media and community up roar.  Countless blog posts were written about it.  There was even a Tumblr blog about all of the app’s mistakes.

When you’re the user and you’re having a problem with a product, the worst feeling in the world is when it feels like the company who made the product is so out of touch that they don’t know that there’s a problem.  That’s when the relationship between the user/customer & the company starts to disintegrate.

Well, I was really happy to see that Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote a letter on their site saying that they realized that Apple Maps for iOS 6 was sub-par and that they were working as quickly to fix it. They even went as far as alerting people to their competitors, as possible alternatives while Apple Maps improves.  He was saying to the Apple community, “I hear you. We screwed up.”

Apple’s not known for being a company that’s overly communicative or transparent.  So, seeing this kind of olive brand extended is definitely a notable moment.   I hope that we’ll see more.

It’s also a great object lesson in crisis communications for us all.

Give me more than just your app.

Every 5 minutes there’s a new startup popping up that’s building some new & exciting app to solve some problem I have.  It’s great but to be honest I get bored with it all.   Yes, your app’s functionality solves my problem but so does a dozen other apps out there.

What can you do to be different?  In addition to solving my obvious problem, solve the deeper problem.   Serve my life in a way that I didn’t anticipate.  Surprise & delight me.  Make my life happier.  Make me feel better about my future.

For example, does a great job of helping me connect with & buy from designers & artists.  The deeper problem they solve is that they make my life more exciting & fun.    Additionally, Zillow helps me find houses that are for sale.  Right.  The deeper issue is that I want to find a place for my life to unfold… for my future to happen.  I want some security that I’ll find the right place.  Zillow makes that possible.

Coincidentally, both companies have just put out TV commercials selling this.

First from…

Second from Zillow…


What I’m Reading – Saturday, Sept 22nd

Here’s just a quick look at some of what I’ve been reading over the last couple days…

What have you been reading?

Community Waiting for the New iPhone

I’ve been having a lot of fun riffing on a topic that I’m passionate about… building communities.  I hope that you’ve been enjoying it.

Communities are funny.  Sometimes they can pop up in places that you would have never thought possible.  TechCrunch sent their NYC intern to the 5th Avenue Apple Store to cover the line as throngs of people waited for the new iPhone 5.

As he was waiting all night long, he asked the question that any rational person would, “why on earth would someone do this for a phone?”   The answered was that it’s not about a phone.  It’s about community.  You’re having this shared experience with like-minded people.   It’s the perfect recipe for a community.

I remember when I waited in line for the original iPhone.  The lines weren’t as crazy as they are now.  I cut out of work at noon and only waited 3 hours.  But… I walked away from the experience with friends.  I still stay in touch with the couple that stood in front of me in line.

Apple fans aren’t just people who use computers.  It’s people who espouse to a specific way of thinking or way of life.   Apple users are creative & curious people.   Not many brands can claim this type of tribe.  It’s not like if you use a Dell that it says anything about your personality but it’s different with an Apple computer or an iPhone.

So… when you get those like-minded people together in a single environment for a shared experience, magic happens.   Communities get built out of standing in line to wait for my new iPhone.

Feel like a lemming.

After watching this video, I especially feel like a lemming for ordering the iPhone 5.  It’s amazing how excited people are getting for something that’s so evolutionary.  That being said, I’m totally excited and think it’ll be amazing.

This definitely leaves open a big opportunity for the other smart phone handset makers.   They need to start thinking outside the box on how they can differentiate.   Someone’s gotta be able to solve some unmet need with a new type of mobile phone that’ll unseat Apple.

The wonders of the mug brownie

My wife and I both have a bit of a sweet tooth.   30 minutes to an hour after dinner, you’ll find us scrounging for something with sugar in it.   It’d be easy enough to make a tray of brownies but I’d probably just eat the whole tray.   I have no self control.  Heh.

A few months ago, my wife introduced me to the wonders of the mug brownie.   You mix all the ingredients for the brownie in a mug, stick it in the microwave, and a minute later you have a hot & delicious brownie.   It’s sooooo easy.

Gentlemen, does your lady love chocolate anything but feel inept when it comes to baking anything?   Try the recipe I’ve been following that over on Babble.

Here’s some mug brownie baking action shots… 🙂


What I’m Reading – Monday, Sept 17th

Here’s a few more cool articles that I’ve been reading…