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It’s been over a month since my Touch inadvertently became a part of my appendages. I mean, it’s hard to imagine life without having instant-on Internet access these days. Staying connected at will is still a big problem for me at times, but I am becoming smarter about ways to get around.

However, having instant-on Internet access has proven to be problematic in a different way. It has greatly enhanced my impulsiveness to act on many things. Many of these are harmless (checking the weather before I leave my abode, reading the breaking news when they break), but a few that aren’t harmless are somewhat deadly. For example, I’ve started to download music en masse via the iTunes module on my Touch. Two nights ago, I saw the new Madonna video — Four Minutes — on TV and thought it was a cool song. So I immediately turned on my Touch and downloaded the song. But when I listened to it again today, the feeling wasn’t quite the same. In fact, although I still think it’s a cool song, I no longer feel I need to own it.

Unfortunately, that was just one example of many songs that I’ve impulsively purchased over the past couple of weeks. From my imprecise calculation, I’ve spent well over $20 to satisfy my impulsive appetite for music. Granted, $20 is nothing in the grand scheme of things, but considering I usually spend about $50 a year purchasing music on iTunes, $20 in a few weeks is quite a big chunk! The worst part is, I only like a handful of songs from the 20+ I downloaded so far. When looked at it that way, it’s a complete waste of money.

One of the reasons I have a very good control over my personal finance is I am able to control my impulsiveness to buy. I usually make careful calculation and consideration before I spend my money. Consequently, my satisfaction of my purchases are usually very high (it’s money well-spent, in other words). Interestingly, Touch has completely turned my discipline upside down in a matter of days!! As somebody who understands marketing (and the tactics often applied in marketing to convince people to buy), I am SHOCKED how easily Apple has worn down my defense against their marketing tactics. It’s as if I’ve voluntarily walked into their trap, and while I was in the trap, I continued to dig myself into a deeper hole.

Brilliant! Steve Jobs is brilliant!! There’s simply no other word to describe his marketing talent!

My 3rd generation iPod finally died a couple of weeks ago, so I decided to upgrade and get an iPod Touch. I wanted to wait for the 3G iPhone before jumping on that bandwagon, but now I kinda regret my decision. But before we get to that, let me start from the beginning:

When it was time to replace my kaput iPod, I was choosing between a regular iPod and a Touch. The reason for getting a regular iPod was, well, I really only used my iPod to carry my entertainment with me. I didn’t need anything fancy. At the same time, I was also fascinated with the Touch. I absolutely loved the design, and I thought the ability to connect to Internet would come in handy. So after going through some extensive internal dialogues with myself (I am a very practical gal and struggled to convince myself the practicality of my purchase), I decided on the Touch.

The purchase came in the mail last week, and as usual, opening the box and the wrapping was a ceremonious event in and of itself. After I got over the initial excitement, however, I proceeded to set everything up. Whoala, my whole world changed overnight. No longer do I have to boot up my computer to access the Internet (and god knows how much I rely on the Internet). This is especially true while at home. I can also check my personal emails with a touch of a button and no time delay. Wow, everything was great…until I became addicted to the convenience of the “instant on” Internet access.

Three days into becoming a Touch owner, I began to want to go online everywhere I go. But alas, the Touch only allows me to get online where accessible wi-fi networks exist. That means no Internet access while I am on the road or at a restaurant or a movie theater, etc. Never has the feeling of regret set in so fast before, especially with bigger purchases like the Touch.

I guess I underestimated the convenience that comes with anytime-anywhere access to the world wide web. So for those of you who are deciding between getting a Touch v. an iPhone, go with the iPhone. Otherwise, you too, may regret your decision.

Steve Jobs, what a brilliant, brilliant man!

Update: Read my new thoughts on my Touch.

The surest way to win anything in life is to be irresistible. In the world of marketing, I can think of two ways to become irresistible. One way is to be something that everybody wants; the other way is to be what everybody needs. To illustrate this point, I will use the classic Apple vs. Microsoft example.

Apple makes products that are irresistible because their products are exactly what people want – simple, intuitive to use, clean, and stylish. Apple is able to do that because they understand their customers to the core. Some people say Steve Jobs has a heavy hand in all of Apple’s product designs. But if you don’t have a Steve Jobs equivalent at your disposal, you can use market research data to understand your customers. Yet so many companies I know don’t fully leverage market research to plan their product design. That’s really a shame.

Microsoft also makes irresistible products, except their irresistibility comes not from designing products that people really want but from what people need. Even as open source operating systems become more prevalent, the majority of the people still rely on Windows to run their PCs today. Need to write articles or build a data model? You need MS Office.

Apple is very much beloved; Microsoft, not so much. Everybody wants to be like Apple, yet most companies don’t want to put in the effort. If you don’t want to put in the effort to create the darling products that people drool over, then you must think outside of the box and create products that people cannot live without. Short of that, all you will manage is mediocrity and become an also-run company.

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August 2020