Thursday, September 14, 2017

Apple’s Fail | Lefsetz Letter

David Pogue – “What really happened with Apple’s Face ID ‘fail’ onstage”

Irving told me the monitor mix was off. As a result, the vocal wasn’t perfect.

I thought the act was nitpicking, I didn’t think the audience could tell, although I’d noticed it.

And Irving said it was the little things that made all the difference. The 1%.

This resonated with me, because my shrink says the same thing. That you change 1% and sometimes the whole picture changes.

I’ve found this to be true.

Yesterday, the facial recognition at the Apple presentation failed. It was quite noticeable. Craig Federighi picked up an iPhone X, tried twice, and then had to shift to backup.

This happened occasionally with Steve Jobs. VERY occasionally. And when it did, all hell broke loose. He excoriated the team, the show had to be PERFECT!

Just like that act that was complaining to Irving.

We live in a country where good is good enough. Where everybody gets a pass. And if you’re striving for excellence, you’re a pariah.

Hell, I’ve invested six figures in psychotherapy trying to overcome this. I don’t know whether it’s OCD or my personality, but I want to get it right, and when it’s wrong I don’t get over it, but I end up having to work for myself, because no one else cares that much, at least not about my stuff.

So the vibe after yesterday’s presentation is facial recognition does not work.

I know someone spending double digit millions based on it functioning seamlessly, his whole business is built upon it.

And one thing about Touch ID, it doesn’t work well when the temperature drops. I have five prints stored, three with the same finger, but when I was in Alaska, damned if I could get the phone to open. Same deal on the ski slope. And Samsung’s fingerprint recognition is even worse. So I figured facial recognition was doomed.

Like MySpace, which allowed you to customize your page to the point it crashed others’ computers.

Now yesterday’s presentation had no zing because it held no surprise. Every major element was leaked to the press beforehand. That never would have happened under Jobs, remember the iPhone 4 fiasco? It’s only a reveal if no one’s seen it before. And Jobs proved you can withhold information, have secrecy.

Now getting it perfect does not mean it must be belabored. Sometimes perfection emanates from your fingertips and if you mess with it you screw it up. That’s why so many sixties hits were so magical, they’re riddled with errors, but they’re just so right.

And one of the problems with today’s music is it’s often too perfect, it doesn’t breathe, it’s got no humanity.

But if you’ve got a goal in mind, if you want to dominate, if you want to make an impression, you’d better get it right, the little things count.

How much traction will David Pogue’s story get vis a vis the original Apple broadcast?

Not much.

In a world where there’s endless information you’re lucky if you can get the public’s attention at all, and if you do…

You’d better get it right.


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