Tag Archives: Antennagate

Bumper to Bumper, Part II: Steve Jobs is Wrong

Any guesses as to which guy is Steve Jobs and which guy is the customer?  Hint: Steve Jobs always wears black.

If you read Part I of this series, in closing, I asked whether the "bumper" solution was a good decision from a management standpoint.  My opinion?  Yes, but only if you look at it from a purely financial perspective.  From a customer service/relations standpoint, it's a disaster.

Let's review the progression of events, from initial customer complaints to Apple's eventual response:

  1. Denial – "There is no problem."
  2. Blame the Customer – "You're holding it wrong!"
  3. It's all in your Head – "Our s/w is erroneously telling you that you have a problem."
  4. Blame your Competitors – "Everyone else has the same problem."
  5. Denial II – "There is no problem, but we'll give you a free bumper."

What's the 1st thing that comes to mind?  This isn't indigenous to Apple.  I've heard this song before.  Where do think the joke, "That isn't a bug, it's a feature." comes from?  I just think that with Apple's dedicated user culture, they have a better chance than most to pull it off; but that doesn't make it right.

I've spoken to career Apple customers who are so incensed by what they term the arrogant attitude of the company (usually referring to Jobs, specifically) that they've finally had enough.  Apple can afford to lose them, but that's not really the point, is it?

So where's the eDiscovery tie-in?  Where do I start?  You might be in a corporate IT department.  You might be inside counsel.  You might be outside counsel.  You might be me – a consultant, positioned somewhere in-between all of them.  What are you going to do when management adopts the attitude:

  1. Denial – "We don't need to implement this."
  2. Blame the 'Customer' – "The client doesn't want it."
  3. It's all in your Head – "We don't need to comply with the rules."
  4. Blame your competitors – "Nobody else is implementing it."
  5. Denial II – "We'll take our chances.  If litigation arises, we'll look at it then."

The difference between Apple and you?  They have a public relations issue and face class-action lawsuits.  You – and/or your management are likely to face serious sanctions.  But don't worry; that's only if something goes wrong


Bumper to Bumper, Part I: e-Lessons Learned from Antennagate

BumperCar_Front If you're a long-time reader of this blog, you know that I used to post frequently about relationships between techies and management and how successful interaction between them is critical to the success of an undertaking; internally and externally.  As you can see from the headline, I'm using Apple's response to the iPhone 4G 'debacle' as a teachable moment.  Some will take issue with my use of the word debacle, but I'm speaking in terms of the negative press this issue has generated.  Caveat: I own an iPod Touch (but you already knew that).

If your initial thought is to wonder how any of this applies to eDiscovery, read on…


Make no mistake.  Steve Jobs knows his customers – and so do I.  My first real exposure was when I was tasked with managing the only MAC network at Hughes Space and Communications (this goes back to 1993-94).  I quickly learned about the culture of MAC users.  As often happens to me – and many of you, I suspect – once that item was on my resume, the MAC element became a regular part of many of my future projects.

Stevie and I had a convo and we agreed on several points: 1) There's a hardware issue (not that we'll admit it), 2) the problem affects a relatively small number of customers, 3) a plurality of dedicated customers will back us, no matter what we do, 4) if we're forced to issue a recall, it could cost billions, 5) we know that a bumper/case/duct tape will solve the problem (not that we'll admit there is one) for most customers, so 6) let's go that route and offer a free bumper/case/duct tape (sorry, couldn't resist that last one).

The cool thing about #6?  We know that a lot of customers who do have the problem won't act.  On the other hand, we also know that others who don't have the problem will; in the end, probably a wash.

If you've perused articles on the issue – and read the accompanying comments – you'll probably note that the scenario has played out the way Stevie and I thought it would.  Overall, reaction has been favorable, and every time someone posts an article or comment critical of the solution, they're usually swamped with 'the faithful' calling them whiners and defending Apple, usually making the effort to express how much they love their iPhones.

So, was it a good decision from a management standpoint?  And where's the eDiscovery tie-in?  I'll bring it all home for you in "Part II: Steve Jobs is Wrong"…