- The software layer that Amazon built on top of Android is smart and efficient. Not only does the interface hide the icon laden desktop that default Android features, but it serves the higher function goal of nicely integrating Amazon services and the various stores (e.g. apps, books, video).
- Battery life isn’t as good as I expected but my expectations were pretty high based on my previous Kindle experience. In retrospect, getting 7-8 hours with the screen lit and wifi on isn’t anything to shrug about, turning wifi off and backlighting down, which is ideal for book reading and game playing, drives battery life back up to Kindle expectations.
- Apps are aplenty. The limited device capabilities, e.g. no GPS, means some applications are handicapped but all things considered the fact that they launched with a rich market of applications is a big positive.
- The form factor is surprisingly comfortable. The rubberized back coating gives you a firm handhold and the device is pretty solid in terms of heft. I was also pleased to discover how comfortable this device is to type on, in portrait and landscape mode.
- Display is good enough for a range of activities from reading to watching videos. Bright and crisp.
- Performance is speedy and it’s worth pointing out that this is increasingly one of the attributes that you only pay attention to when it is deficient.
- The Silk web browser got a lot of attention when this device was announced. I really don’t get what the distinction between this and Chrome is. It works fine, I just don’t understand, based on my usage, why I am supposed to care about this as a unique feature.
- Wifi only is a plus for me, I use this mostly at home but when I am truly mobile I can use the tethering capability through my mobile phone. I explicitly don’t want a tablet that has integrated 3/4G with the additional monthly pricing plan attached to it.
- No camera… don’t care. Maybe some day I’ll do video VoIP but at this point in my life I can honestly say this has not been something that excites me. Take pictures? Why would I do that with a tablet?
- Complaints… yes, the power button is on the bottom and I have repeatedly hit it accidentally. The power button should be on the top of the device, like the iPad.
I have been using this tablet for just a couple of days but based on what I have seen thus far Amazon has a winner just in time for Christmas.
I was pondering the situation at Penn State this morning on my drive in to the office. Putting aside the physical crimes that are alleged, not because these are not important – indeed they are ultimately the most critical aspect – but because what I am interested in this morning is the notion of integrity on an organization as a result of individual actions.
Like Penn State, Lehman Brothers and Enron were some of the most recognizable names on a resume that any person in the respective industry could feature. Today, these names are the punchline of a joke and individuals who carry them are likely to face additional scrutiny as a result of the organizational failures that captured the public’s attention.
Organizational failures are ultimately a series of individual failures and if you search Google you will find an endless stream of articles about how failure is a consequence of flawed learning and inability to adapt to changing conditions.
However, in these cases that simply doesn’t ring true, the epic organizational failures I have highlighted are a consequence of organizational success; definitely in the case of Lehman and Enron, and when the book is written on Penn State it will probably highlight how a very successful athletic program (college athletics is a business, not an endeavor) resulted in the individuals achieving a level of status that insulated them from scrutiny.
Is success so seductive that it causes otherwise reasonable people to put aside moral questions that may endanger continued success? Sadly, it appears that for too many people this is the case so the question I will leave you with is how, in your company, do you institutionalize integrity in decision making and subject the most successful among your team to a level of scrutiny that assures the entire organization is not imperiled by their actions?
Get Satisfaction wins the inaugural CRM Idol competition
Bank of America made it official today by shelving plans to charge a $5 debit card fee to their customers (which I am, gladly, not one of).
Their statement is a great example of how business “jargon” replacing honest and authentic speech only serves to alienate customers who have developed a sophisticated internal bullshit meter. Here’s what BofA said:
“In response to customer feedback and the changing competitive marketplace, Bank of America no longer intends to implement a debit usage fee.
“We have listened to our customers very closely over the last few weeks and recognize their concern with our proposed debit usage fee,” said David Darnell, co-chief operating officer. “Our customers’ voices are most important to us. As a result, we are not currently charging the fee and will not be moving forward with any additional plans to do so.”"
Let’s break it down and rewrite the statement in a more honest voice.
They Said: “In response to customer feedback”
What They Mean: “In response to our increasingly angry customers”
They Said: “and the changing competitive marketplace,”
What They Mean: “We were isolated when other banks didn’t announce the same fee structure, and worse, started competing with us on the basis of not having a debit card fee.”
They Said: “Bank of America no longer intends to implement a debit usage fee.”
What They Mean: “It was a dumb idea, in retrospect.”
They Said: “We have listened to our customers very closely over the last few weeks and recognize their concern with our proposed debit usage fee,”
What They Mean: “Our customers were very angry and it was only getting worse.”
They Said: “Our customers’ voices are most important to us.”
What They Mean: “When we can’t get the rest of the industry to pile on and risk our competitive position, we have to react.”
They Said: “As a result, we are not currently charging the fee and will not be moving forward with any additional plans to do so.”
What They Mean: “It was a dumb idea and someone should be fired for getting us into this mess but we’re not going to hold our executive accountable for the debacle”
Here’s the problem with BofA’s handling of this mess, an adult in the room should have stepped in when CEO Moynihan firmly planted his foot in his mouth about the “right to make a profit”. First of all, he doesn’t have a right to make a profit, he has to earn that by serving his customers and achieving a competitive position on that basis rather than being too big to fail. I’m always amazed when really smart executives says things that only make them sound like complete idiots.
The banking industry likes to think their customers are stupid, that we don’t realize they make money off the transaction fees that merchants pay when we use a credit or debit card. Acknowledging that you think your customers are stupid is never a good strategy and the debit card fee plan ranks right up there with New Coke and Qwikster in the pantheon of dumb business ideas.
Here’s how they should have written the statement they put out today, which would not only make them sound more authentic but also would be more honest.
Our customers have overwhelmingly let us know how angry they are at us for our proposed debit card fee, and our competitors have responded not by adopting a similar fee structure making us uncompetitive as a result.
We have listened and recognize that this plan was not putting our customers first so we’re going to abandon the idea before we make the bigger mistake of actually implementing it. We apologize to our customers for our statements in recent weeks and hope that we can earn goodwill back by focusing on providing competitive services that are fairly priced in the weeks, months, and years ahead.