Tag Archives: media

A Great Lesson in Controlling Public Opinion

A Most Peculiar Test Drive | Blog | Tesla Motors: “When the facts didn’t suit his opinion, he simply changed the facts. Our request of The New York Times is simple and fair: please investigate this article and determine the truth. You are a news organization where that principle is of paramount importance and what is at stake for sustainable transport is simply too important to the world to ignore.”

(via teslamotors.com.)

This is not the first time I’ve seen Elon Musk refute false claims in the press. Handled wrong, this sort of thing would make you look overly defensive, a conspiracy theorist, a sore loser. Handled right, especially the third or fourth time, it paints a clear picture of certain elements in the media who are biased against the facts and out to get your company for no good reason. 

It’s hard to argue with a computer log. 

Time and again, Tesla’s stance has been to take these false claims head on. Maybe not everyone will read these refutations, but sooner or later, the more news organizations try to distort the story to make these cars look unfavorable, the more people will get the picture that any negative story about Tesla is probably trumped up nonsense. That would be unfortunate for the cause of truth, as I’m sure there are perfectly reasonable and honest negative things you could say about this company. But it’s better than the alternative, which is letting journalists get away with making up stories to paint a pre-defined picture. 

It doesn’t matter if the New York Times investigates, retracts the story, or fires the writer. It may even be better for Tesla if it doesn’t.

Some are suggesting that this is all the doing of Detroit and the Big Oil companies. That the New York Times is in their pocket because of advertising revenue. I think it’s much simpler than that. As Elon suggests, I think some people just don’t like the idea of an electric car. And John Broder is one of them. He had a story in his head before he got into the car, and he wasn’t about to change it. But it’s very smart for Tesla not to simply let these stories slide. You have to react fast, with facts, and destroy the credibility of the offending writer as soon as possible. 

Elon Musk is a billionaire who has dumped a great deal of time and a fair chunk of his personal fortune into a company he desperately wants to succeed. If any more journalists think they are going to pose a threat to that by making up false stories, I think it’s safe to say that would be unwise.

It’s not enough to make a great product; you have to execute in marketing, public relations, and media as well. Whether you are for or against electric cars, you have to admit that Tesla is doing a great job with that.

How to Turn Rumor into Fact in One Easy Step

Day4 – How we screwed (almost) the whole Apple community: “The split between the two camps, was quite unequal. An estimate would be that 90% regarded the screw as a fact and based all the further opinion on that, only 10% were critical to accuracy.”

(Via. Day4.se)

Fascinating look at how easy it is to get a rumor started.

And therein lies the primary issue for information moving forward. No wonder we have a presidential candidate here in the US that gets away with lying about literally everything that comes out his mouth (not just distorting, cherry picking, or misrepresenting, as all politicians do, but all out lying). People have lost all ability to question what they read and hear on the Internet. The laziness bias has finally won. We hear what we want to hear, and nothing will ever change our minds. There’s literally no penalty for being completely full of crap.

Game over. The world’s most advanced tool for disseminating truth to the masses has been turned into the world’s best weapon for disinformation. 

I remember in 7th grade, my teacher one day started a lesson, and he just went on and on for about 20 minutes, and we all just took notes diligently, writing down everything he said word for word. And then he stopped and asked us why we all assumed he was telling us the truth. Turned out he was just rambling nonsense for 20 minutes, and none of us bothered to question it. It was a huge eye opener for me. I still think about that day on a regular basis. 

Question authority. Never assume what you’re hearing is the truth. We’re in desperate need of some healthy skepticism. Even the so-called “fact-finding” sites that try and point out people’s lies are often wrong or biased. It’s just about impossible to know what’s true and what isn’t. 

Our insatiable desire to know everything has turned us into suckers for anyone who will tell us what we want to hear. That does not bode well for humanity. 

Maybe we need more teachers who are willing to have their authority questioned every now and then for the betterment of their students. 

Another Loo Loo of a Lala article

Ars Technica has basically endorsed the Wall Street Journal theory I mentioned earlier today. One of my favorite lines:

“Of course, there are times when we simply aren’t able to connect to a network, so a method of transferring songs for local storage when needed would also need to be addressed.”

In other words, Apple already has a system in place for storing all your music, but they’re going to ditch that in favor of a system that doesn’t store your music, and then you’re going to have to figure out when you’ll be without connection ahead of time and plan accordingly? 

Do I really want to go back to a place where I have to decide BEFORE I get on the plane which music I want to take with me? That was one of the best things about ditching CDs for the iPod. 

Why are people imagining that Apple has a music problem it needs to solve? 

Here’s another gem:

“Still, transforming iTunes into a Web-based service will give Apple several ways to fend off encroaching competition from streaming and subscription services, as well as online distribution from the likes of Amazon MP3.”

Really? Apple had encroaching competition in this space? Last time I looked, Apple’s market share is still trending upwards. Subscription-based services have all failed, one after another. Pandora doesn’t have a sustainable business model. 

Again, you’re solving a problem Apple doesn’t have. And your solution isn’t even a good one. 

These authors are really not thinking this through. Cloud services will play a role, for sure, but completely uprooting the entire iTunes universe in favor of some browser-based method is not only not likely, it’s just a flat-out bad idea. 

A nerd is still a nerd

More evidence that Motorola only expects to sell Droids to D&D playing nerd boys who never get laid.

The latest ad, as described in this article on AppleInsider, mocks the iPhone as a feminine beauty pageant winner, a mirror for women to fix their lipstick, rather than a serious computing tool. 

Without going into the obvious ridiculousness of that statement, or the all-too-easy shortcomings of the Droid that make it far less serious than an iPhone at real-world hard-core computing tasks (Like, say, being able to load more than ten or eleven apps before running out of space, or being able to talk to someone on the phone while using the Internet simultaneously), I can easily dismiss the effectiveness of this commercial as a selling tool with a much simpler statement:

Yeah. So what’s your point? 

Since when is selling a consumer device that has appeal to women a bad thing? One of the reasons Apple has succeeded where many, many other computer companies have failed with the iPod, the iPhone, and now even the Mac, is that its design is curvy, friendly, and yes, feminine enough not to turn off women, while still being cool enough to attract men who don’t spend all their time working out hexadecimal code in their mother’s basement. 

This ad, like all the others before it, seems to be an admission that the Droid has an extremely limited audience. Hello? More than 50 percent of the cell-phone carrying world is female. You just told them all that 1) you’re all Prada-wearing, vapid shopaholics, obsessed with appearances, and 2) the last thing you want to do is buy a Droid. Get an iPhone instead. 

Does Motorola not have 1 woman in its marketing department? 

I think Motorola fails to understand that while the nerd sentiment may have taken over the universe of pop culture in the last ten years, it’s not the true nerds who run the show. Looking and talking like a nerd is cool. Being a nerd is still being a nerd. (Weezer is cool. Bill Gates still gets wedgies every day.) It’s cool to wear glasses, be super-skinny, play fantasy football instead of real football, and even carry around a personal pocket computer with you everywhere you go. 

But Dungeons and Dragons is still lame, guys. And dissing women in your ad isn’t even a good way to inspire men to buy your product. 

Take a lesson from beer commercials. Have your guy with the phone, surrounded by women falling all over him to get to his Droid. THAT’s how you get shallow men to buy your product. 

And, for god sake, if you want to be taken seriously, stop mentioning the iPhone in your ads. You’re helping Apple, not hurting it. 

Apple’s Black Friday sales both beat and fail to beat expectations at the same time

Here we go again. Remember what I said before about watching the money when it comes to Apple news? 

The analysts are pulling numbers out of their butts again. Let’s see where Apple’s stock goes this morning, shall we? Right now, it’s already down $1.53. 

Again, not a single word of any of this is based on anything you could consider scientific evidence. But someone’s going to get rich off it before the day is over. 

At what point are we going to start arresting people for this sort of thing? 

Apple posts tools for building TuneKit iTunes LPs and Extras – via Apple Insider

So it’s now official. Apple has made tools freely available for creating iTunes LPs, and is encouraging groups to create their own. 

All that panic a few months back for nothing, as usual. It never ceases to amaze me how wrong the media is about Apple on a regular basis. 

Read the full article here:


About the recent Apple tablet Rumors

Time for everyone to take a deep breath and use common sense about the latest Apple tablet rumors.

Let’s start with a reality check. There is no Apple tablet. No one at Apple, speaking for Apple, has ever made any mention whatsoever of such a product in any way. Not as a future product, not as an idea for a product. Not even as a denial of the product. Anyone who would have deep inside knowledge of such a project is locked away in a room somewhere in Cupertino. Sure, there may be some outsiders who were brought in on the manufacturing side, or to consult about concurrent software offerings, but none of those people is going to have any clue about release schedules or product details.

So when you read an article that says “reliable sources” have revealed that Apple has delayed the release of the tablet, you have to wonder exactly how that’s possible. How can a company delay the release of a product that doesn’t exist? And even if it does exist, until Apple announces a release date, they can’t miss that release date, delay that release date, etc.

I remember the good old days, when crazy Apple speculation was all coming from the fans, who just wanted to be excited about the next big product, or who wanted to show off their “inside” knowledge. The rumors were nuts, but at least they were made in good fun.
Nowadays few, if any, of the rumors are coming from there. Today, if you want to get to the bottom of the Apple rumor mill, you just need to follow the money.

Watch the stock price rise and fall. And then remember why these rumors exist.



I’m as excited as anyone to find out where Apple will go next. And I have no doubt that at the most basic tenant of the rumor (Apple is almost ready to release some sort of tablet computer) is true. But anyone claiming any sort of details beyond that is either grasping at straws from a fourth-hand source, or simply pulling the whole thing out of their ass. So let Wall Street play its games, and sit back and wait for the real news sometime next year.

And for god’s sake, stop calling it the iTablet. Apple is a lot more creative than that.

Another Tech Crunch article gets it wrong about Google vs Apple

John Biggs on Tech Crunch suggests that Google should make Apple “beg” Google to write a turn-by-turn navigation app for the iPhone.


Where do I begin?

Let’s get one thing completely straight. In the mobile phone space, Google needs Apple right now A LOT more than Apple needs Google. Google makes money by spreading its ads everywhere possible. For Google to suddenly lose its ability to spread those ads via the iPhone would be a drastic loss.

This is why Google is trying to get out ahead of the PR battle by making Apple out to be the bad guy. We’re building a turn-by-turn app for the iPhone; if Apple rejects it, that’s not our fault.

Those are the words of someone who doesn’t currently have the upper hand.

If Google were out to “kill” the iPhone, it would not only NOT build an iPhone navigation app, it would pull other Google services off the iPhone. And then Apple would need to start begging. But Google can’t do that. Because the goal is to get Google services in more places, not fewer. And the last thing Google wants is to not be available on the hippest, hottest phone in existence.

I’m not the first to say it, and this won’t be the last time I say it: Google has no interest in killing the iPhone. Android exists to kill Windows Mobile. And the only reason Google needs to kill Windows Mobile is because Microsoft doesn’t want Google on Windows Mobile. It would much rather push Bing, or whatever Microsoft wants to call its search this week.

The iPhone helps Google kill Windows Mobile. Thus, as long as Google can get some of its services on the iPhone, Google likes the iPhone.

Once Google kills Windows Mobile, and then kills off Symbian, and then tackles RIM, then—MAYBE then—Google will try to compete with the iPhone. Right now, it wouldn’t stand a chance. Not with another wannabe phone marketed to sci-fi nerds like the Droid.

Free turn-by-turn GPS is not going to suddenly make every single iPhone owner drop their iPhone and grab a Droid. I’d venture to say that it won’t make more than ten iPhone owners drop their iPhone and grab a Droid.

But none of that matters for now. Apple doesn’t have a competing product to Google. It has no interest in ad revenue. And it has welcomed Google services on the Mac and the iPhone with open arms, with few exceptions. (More on those exceptions later.) So even in a future where Android and the iPhone were the only two phones in existence, Google would still have no reason to want to kill the iPhone. As long as Apple never tries to get into the ad business.

Tech writers really need to stop thinking like nerds and start thinking like average people. Turn-by-turn navigation is just starting to become a somewhat, kinda-sorta popular thing. Having that feature on your phone is nowhere near hitting critical mass in popularity right now. It’s not even on the radar for most people, let alone a must-have. It’s nerd stuff.

I fully expect a free turn-by-turn service to end up on the iPhone. Whether it be as a free Google app in the App Store, or integrated into Apple’s built-in Google Maps application, or an alternative service offered by Apple itself, sooner or later, this feature will become available. Meanwhile, there really is no rush, because the lack of this service on the iPhone is not going to cost Apple anything in the short term. In the long run, they’ll want to match Android feature for feature wherever possible. But it will be years before that really matters.

If the iPhone prospered for years without cut,copy, and paste, it’ll do fine without this free service for a while. Believe me.

Lowering Expectations

Okay, so now some people are predicting Apple will report revenue below expectations on Monday. Is anyone else confused yet? I mean in addition to the paradox of expecting something to be lower than expected? 

Using the press to manipulate stock prices is no longer in the realms of conspiracy theory. It’s an observable phenomenon. So how come no one ever gets put in jail for it? 

Sidekick data may be recovered. So?

I’m happy for all those Sidekick users out there who may be getting their lost data back. But seriously, would anyone in his right mind ever trust Microsoft with cloud computing again?

So the story today is “Hey, everybody. Microsoft saved the day by getting all your data back, after all.” I can see why Microsoft would want to spin it that way, but why are tech journalists letting them spin it that way?