Category Archives: Conversations

iPhones and Rogers

There’s quite a bit of talk passing around the interwebs of Canada lately regarding the coming release of the iPhone on the good ole’ Rogers network… and little of if it is positive.

What has been, essentially, a great play by Rogers (the iPhone makes a perfect flagship product) is starting to turn ugly; and Rogers has no one to blame but themselves.

Before I continue, I’ll say that I’m not anti-Rogers, in fact, most of my technological life is powered by Rogers currently. Yes they’re expensive, yes their customer service is spotty, yes they lock you into crappy contracts, but I’m happy enough with the service and the competition really isn’t any better.

Rogers has never had a shining history of customer friendliness, but then they didn’t have to. They only had to be a little better than Bell, and that wasn’t hard (as a past Bell customer I’m talking from experience here).

So Rogers kind of sucks, but so does their competition… where does that leave us?

On familiar terrain.

Canadians should be used to being dictated to, and over-paying for things… oh, and for taking it all sitting down. There’s a lot of talk online right now, but I hold no delusions that it will actually change anything. Even worse, Rogers knows the same thing and is so confident in their power to do whatever they feel like that they’ve been brazen enough to throw it back to the Canadian public:

Rogers… has sharpened its pencil. It is watching this very closely. If this starts to truly negatively affect significant opinion — and you have to be careful about 5,000 on a blog versus what’s really meaningful — we will be on top of this thing to ensure that we manage that tension between responsible pricing and not [upsetting] customers.

- Luke Sklar, of Sklar Wilton & Associates – from the Globe and Mail.

In other words, Rogers has decided to gouge the Canadian public in order to try and drive their share prices back over $50 (they’re sitting around $40 right now), and have no intention of changing their behaviour unless it looks like they may come out losing in some way.

Or, in OTHER other words, Rogers really doesn’t care about their paying customers as long as their stock prices aren’t suffering as a result.

Excuse me a moment while I try to shake off my disgust.

I want an iPhone. Really. But I won’t buy one.

Firstly, I’m not big on text messages or mobile data consumption. Not for lack of interest or savvy, but because I’m in front of a computer far more than the average person (12 hours in a day wouldn’t be unusual), so I just don’t need a mobile phone to duplicate what my desktop/laptop can do.

Secondly, and by far more importantly, I believe that in today’s ever more transparent commercial world, companies should be open and honest with their consumers, that they should listen to what their customers have to say and that they should tailor their products to the NEEDS of their market. And I don’t believe that Rogers is doing any of that with the launch of the iPhone.

Despite the fact that I am only one person, I have to make a stand somewhere and I cannot justify forking out any more of my money to support a company like Rogers, in an endeavor like this.

Rogers, if you are listening (no, don’t laugh), and want to win me over, how about offering a package for people like me.

I want to use the iPhone like I use my current phone.

  • I don’t make a lot of calls
  • I don’t send many texts
  • I don’t use much data
  • I want to use the iphone as it was intended, as a gadget (ipod, camera, tv, etc) that happens to also be a phone and mobile internet connection
  • I would be happy to use wi-fi – there are plenty of hotspots around

To sum up the above, my usage would be, over your network, no different than it is now. But, to do exactly what I currently do, you want to more than double my monthly rates!

Why? I really don’t understand!

The Good (if you can call it good)

  • The iPhone is coming to Canada
  • You can switch your pricing plan without penalty
  • You can switch your pricing plan without resetting your 3 year contract
  • You can switch your pricing plan up and down the scale
  • Rogers will notify you when you are approaching, and have reached the data limits for your package

The Bad

  • The iPhone is coming to Rogers
  • Most of ‘The Good’ revolves around switching your pricing plan to another crappy pricing plan
  • You will probably have to switch your pricing plan a few times
  • You will pay through the nose for this fun gadget
  • Rogers considers this ‘Responsible Pricing’
  • You will be supporting another gouging of the Canadian Consumer

On another note…

lineup-scjody_295949049.jpgI read an interesting article on China today that claimed two intriguing things (neither of which I’ve spent the time to try and validate… but they sound good!):

1. If the entire population of China were to walk past you in single file, the line would never end (due to the rate of reproduction).

2. There are more English speaking people in China than in all of North America.

60 days of silence

Wow! it’s actually been 2 months since my last post… (last post on this blog anyway)

What happened? well, 2 days after my last post my wife gave birth to our third child (3 in under 3 years!), work has been crazy, oh, and we had a flood and lost almost everything in our basement… ouch!

Suffice to say we’ve been busy.

But things are finally starting to calm down (yeah right… I hear that won’t really happen till the kids move out to university; about 20 years or so left and counting).

The good news is, I’ve had lots of time to sit (or more often pace) and think, and I have a notebook full of ideas to get all of my sites up and racing.

The game plan is to focus this blog a little more on the social media side of what I do, and how small and medium businesses can take advantage of the free and cheap tools to stand toe to toe with the big guys online… of course there will still continue to be some loosely related topics discussed from time to time…

Until then, have a great read!

What if the internet just stops?

Undersea Cables - http://www.flickr.com/photos/angusf/423828944/

A few weeks ago a conversation floated back and forth around my office about how reliant we all are on our technology and what would the reprecussions be if anything would ever happen to affect our symbiotic relationships.

Then, last week, undersea cables carrying massive amounts of Internet bandwidth (as well as telephone service) started getting severed.

The first cables to go, off the coast of Egypt, caused huge outages from Egypt to India. Then later in the week, another cable was severed off the coast of Dubai. And yet another was damaged between the UAE and Qatar over the weekend.

And no one knows how or why this is happening but apparently there were no ships in the area.

And while there are some great theories spreading this week around why this happened or who could have done it, it really sheds a different colour light on that office meme I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

What would you do if you were suddenly disconnected?

Picture the poor sap on the Rogers commercials who’s always dropping cell connection everywhere he goes. Now picture that being you. Now picture that being you ALL THE TIME.

The thought probably sucks. And if you’re someone like me… the thought REALLY sucks :)

I can’t live in an unconnected world for very long anymore. As much as I don’t want the Internet to morph into a cloud, I’m submitting to the concept more and more all the time. I twitter and upload photos from my phone. I use Google docs so I can easily share, collaborate, and access my work. My address book, years worth of email communications and blog posts are all online. I have ultimate trust in the internet to protect my data for me.

So what happens if it just stops one day?

There are people who claim the Internet is reaching it’s maximum capacity or even an end of life and we shouldn’t rely on it. There are others who claim the Internet is one of the more reliable of modern ammenities. I think (fortunately) this event proves the latter. Despite losing more than half of it’s internet capacity initially, India had managed to rerout its bandwidth and had regained most of its capacity within 3 or 4 days.

But what if the infrastructure is aging… and what if the bad guys fly their planes into a couple of major datacenters next time? What if an act of nature takes it all out?

Earthquake takes out internet - http://www.flickr.com/photos/pshaw/351306634/

I don’t know, but I think I’m going to go export my Google spreadsheets. ;)

Twitter and Social Media

A new friend on Twitter, Christine Taylor, or MouseWords as I know her on Twitter (if you are on Twitter you should friend Christine!), recently asked me a few questions after I live-Twittered the birth of my third kid…

A Baby Girl!

A daughter, born January 11!

I’m going to dig (that’s dig with a single ‘g’) into the whole social media question more in the coming weeks and thought these questions were as good a place as any for me to get started…

Why Twitter our child’s birth:

This was our third child and one of the things that we noticed the first two times through was that there were always people we forgot to phone right away.

Social media provided a great way to remedy the problem.

From my cell phone I uploaded images to my flickr account, and sent regular updates via twitter.

I also setup my twitter account to forward to my facebook profile status.

It turned out to be a great way to include our family and friends (new and old) through the whole process without having to worry about who to call next!

An unexpected side benefit was the fact that it was really exciting for us to read the real-time encouragement and congratulations sent back to us via facebook and twitter (funnelled back to my phone via text messaging).

We were really happy with how it turned out and happy to share with everyone!

What is your opinion of Social Media’s influence on society in general?

For the general public, Social Media provides a variety of great and fun tools to stay connected with friends and family as well as connect with lost friends and acquaintances. I think SM services are getting more savvy all the time and we’re going to see more and more platforms that ‘do it all’, which will be a good thing; preventing us from having to log into 10 different sites to check up on all our friends.

From a business point of view, Social Media is becoming more and more valuable as more of the general public integrates their lives in the social web. SM is quickly changing the way we look at and think about media and its influence on our buyers.

Look at it this way… When most people make a purchase, it’s an emotional decision, and logic generally only enters to justify the transaction. As a company, we need to connect with our customers more powerfully than our competitors have in order to create a brand loyalty that will see people through a transaction. The better the connection we’ve made, the greater the emotional tie people have to our brands; and social media provides incredible ways to communicate and connect directly with the people who are already looking for us.

I like to tell people that in the wild pre-internet days companies would communicate with their customers via ads, in print, TV or radio; a communication style that isn’t unlike standing on top of a soapbox and yelling through a bullhorn, hoping your voice will be heard by the right people. All the advances, and globalization of TV and Radio that occurred by the end of the last century didn’t change any of that… they just provided bigger and bigger bullhorns to yell at audiences through.

But SM HAS changed all that. Social networks and social media and the internet in general allow us to find the people who are already interested in us and our products; talk to our customers one-on-one; and even proactively find disgruntled or dissatisfied customers instantly!

SM will likely never replace the 30 second spot (TV commercial), but any company that doesn’t invest a little time and energy to at least BE where their customers are, are going to find themselves losing out to their more savvy competition who realize Social media is an increasingly integral part of any marketers toolbox.