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Business Society Technology

Enemy at the gates: content marketing vs natural language (vs litigation)

I couldn’t help it. The English in the post was so bad I had to state the case. Sure, it only had one “like” and probably almost nobody had seen it, but all the same, it cried out “auto-translate”. The sentence structure was not blatantly incorrect, just…off. Sure, there were several actual mistakes, but they were the sort of thing that you would find in a Google search.

But in a different context.

This particular post was promoting a content marketing seminar or something like that. Some self-professed expert selling expertise. It was full of hashtags and the actual words were possibly spurted out by some paid service of other experts. The Facebook page had several thousand “likes” but the actual post just one which is fairly typical of this level of wannabees. But it is indicative of a larger problem.

While we discuss politics and how, when, if and what the platforms should censor or not in public dialogue, this is what is happening in the background. If they make their algorithms so they favor tags, well, tags is what users will give them. Even Apple has started using tags on their YouTube channel. They won’t get high in search ranking without them. Plain and simple.

So the post with terrible English attracted the attention of the owner of the page. He initially said it was correct, then said it might have been a typo. He then set his lawyer on me with threats to delete it. In a way this behaviour is entirely consistent with all the other things he has copied and pasted in order to present himself as an expert. That is how it works. A pecking order of ignorance. In the fast-changing world of social media, you can be an expert as long as you find customers with less knowledge or desire to keep up with the latest trends. Threatening to sue is standard operating procedure and we are all the poorer for it.

For what is the value of social media if I can’t freely post on my wall and discuss with my friends without fear of litigation? Should we all end up using it simply as content marketing, ever promoting something and seeing it simply as yet another channel? Social networks should actively protect our right to write freely and without fear or the content will simply become pointless. Even public figures should have the right to discuss freely on social media with their friends.

As well as all other problems, the actual language will end up being computer code compatible with whatever indexing mechanisms they use. Humans like to communicate. Stop policing it and enjoy.

Oh well, at least he corrected his post the next day. ; )

FOR THE RECORD: Ι flagged the comment where I was threatened with litigation to Linkedin but have not received an answer.

Categories
Business POLITICS

The ring , the next President and the finest manager you have ever seen

It was just a Facebook ad for a ring. Contrary to doom and gloom tech naysayers, their algorithm is pretty bad. I very rarely even pay attention to Facebook ads. But this fitness monitoring ring had the endorsement of the NBA. That little familiar logo in combination with the indicator that it had hundreds of comments caught my eye. It was mainly Republicans expressing their hatred of the athletes that took a position against racism. I made the mistake of commenting and instantly received a lot of hate and ridicule. As a seasoned social media professional, for the good of my mental health, I just left it there and forgot about it.

This morning I woke at 4am. I had gone to bed early, I don’t need much sleep anymore. And…LeBron James. Normally I would roll over and sleep some more but I started to watch the game. A lot of people find the first half of a basketball match boring since any result can be overturned at the end. They don’t know LBJ. He was probing the court like Curiosity, the Mars rover from NASA. The man is the Marco Polo of exploration, he tries every opponent, every combination of moves with his team mates. He has a mind map of every individual’s playing styles, strengths, weaknesses, mental states and a plan about how to help them develop in the direction he needs them to. At half time I didn’t even care about the score. Almost everyone had played well. And they didn’t even know that LeBron was the one pulling the strings.

Most people are focused on short term results. Multinational behemoths suffer from this, quarter to quarter, keeping investors happy can ruin a company. It is pretty similar with elite athletes, millions of haters ready to demolish you at every turn. This is a sport which pioneered detailed data gathering, it was way ahead of the curve in terms of using all available information to improve. And LeBron is the Google of it all. He processes it and he uses it for good. Google may have dropped the slogan “do no evil” but LBJ lives by it. The Nuggets started increasing the pressure, chipping at the Lakers’ lead. LBJ continued to trust his teammates even though they were – as always – wasting many of his great assist passes, or not understanding how they need to move.

And then comes the dreaded finale. Jamal Murray is possibly the all time greatest if you look at his stats during the playoff fourth quarters. The man turns into a monster scoring machine with a phenomenal percentage of his shots going in from anywhere he chooses. He kicked into gear and for those in the know it was obvious that the Nuggets would win.

Except that LBJ was on the court.

It was the gentle, almost loving way that he did it. If only political rivalries were so sweet and tender. He made a slight hand signal to Rajon Rondo to indicate that he would defend against Murray. And that was the end of that. The next 3-4 times the rising star attempted to score he was met with the defensive genius of LBJ. He missed them all. All those basketball experts who had previously understood that the Nuggets would win, instantly knew that they would now lose. One man turned the match around yet most people wouldn’t even notice. Because in an equally gentle way, he then stepped away.

Especially in politics or business we are always asking our leaders to be forceful. We don’t like it when they are uncertain even when – as with the COVID pandemic – the simple fact is that nobody had conclusive evidence on which to act. In basketball it is easy to see how LeBron could just keep making a fool of Jamal Murray. That is what Michael Jordan would do. He would keep at it to make an impressive story for people to tell. About him. To become a legend simply by the fact that he personally did something extreme and impressive.

Not LBJ. He left Caruzo to defend even if it cost them a couple of buckets. He continued to pass to others even though they missed a lot. He quietly sneaked off court before the end even to not make a big fuss about the win, to not make it about him, to go and talk to Anthony Davis who had struggled on many fronts. They started to walk towards the locker room completely and obviously exhausted but a journalist chased them. It is the rule that the top scorer of the winning team has to speak on camera right after the game. Davis couldn’t handle it, LeBron dragged himself out and put his after match towel around his neck.

It is usually four questions. The last one is sometimes not about the game. Tonight it was about Breonna. That question is something that LeBron has earnt. He is the unofficial spokesperson for millions of Americans because he has matched athletic skill with political bravery. Michael Jordan may or may not have said that “Republicans buy sneakers too” to justify his lack of political action, but LeBron forcefully accepts the opposite role. If all those haters in the fitness ring cost him not getting as many championship rings as Jordan so be it. More so even than the great Mohamed Ali he is a symbol of an athlete using his position to change the world.

And I cried.

It was past 6am in Greece, I only had a short nap to take before waking the kids and all that, but here I was crying for what a tall black bearded and slightly balding man said about Breonna Taylor. In a highly polarized country getting ready to vote, what could he possibly say to millions of people like me around the world? After all hundreds of communication specialists are dissecting the same topics for presidential candidates and covering every possible angle, every slogan, every way to look at the problem and influence people, he had me, the interviewer and people around the world feeling his pain.

It is not the championship ring that LeBron James is lacking. He is President material. If you are in any way involved in leading teams you would do well to study him on and off the court. While everyone talks the talk about uniting the country, leading their companies, or teaching this and that, he shows us how.

Categories
Business Marketing TRAVEL

The best thing on my holiday you can do at home

Instagram dictates modern tourism, learn how to use it

It was our last day in Reykjavik and we headed past the scenic old port.  To a simulator.  That’s right.  After two weeks in Iceland and a whole lot of very impressive experiences, we went to a helicopter fly-over machine.  We had been on glaciers, inside volcanos, seen more waterfalls than you can imagine exist but here we were strapping ourselves in to a typical such ride.  It moves, it sprinkles you, blows air on you and you get a completely unique new view on the sights you have already seen as well as many you will never be able to.  It also features good weather which helps explain why it took so long to film it.  At the end they offer the typical cheesy fake photos of you in front of the Northern Lights or other options for anyone with too much cash.

If you only have fifteen minutes to experience Iceland I can think of no better way.  And you could have the same film anywhere in the world.  But the cheesy photos kill it.

One of the reasons Iceland is so popular lately is because it is Instagramable.  You just point at any of their attractions, take a photo and can be sure of a stream of likes and comments.  That simple.  You will look good.  It is unusual.  You seem interesting and adventurous.  It stands out in their social media.  I first experienced this effect last year in Norway.

It is much safer than it looks. To the left of my friend Shorty in this pic I took is a ledge from which you can climb onto the rock.

This is just a rock. I can think of a thousand equally impressive views in Greece where we could add a rock like this for Instagram.  And even though thousands of people probably post the exact same photo, mine still got hundreds of likes and comments.  So why don’t we go about putting rocks for photos in more places?  Make it as safe as you want, just make sure it looks impressive.  And make it easy for the photographer to get to the right angle.  It is more important these days than the actual experience.  People don’t care how you got there, if you cheated or took a ride, nobody will check.  “Pics or it didn’t happen” only refers to the finish line, the final result.  No matter if you posed for ten minutes or waited two hours for the clouds to lift, the sun to be at the right place or whatever else you needed to do.

I think someone has actually died falling off this rock, but it still rare considering how many thousands of people go there and pull silly stunts like me there

In fact if I had one criticism of Iceland and the way they have set up their national parks it is that they don’t have enough photo opportunities.  Too many of those great waterfalls have fenced off the ideal semi-dangerous-looking spot or the ideal photo angle position.  Nobody has (yet) fallen off that rock in the picture.  This other one (with me jumping) I think one person did; too many think it is cool to dangle their feet off the ledge.  Why? Because someone posted it on Instagram! In a way it may actually be the Norwegian Tourist Board’s fault that person fell off.  If only they had set up the angle for photography better.  He wouldn’t have to go so close to the ledge for an impressive photo.

Me in front of a waterfall. Not even a famous waterfall, no filters, just a good angle.

The currency is “likes”.  No point complaining, that is how it goes.Work with it.  It is the most natural viral promotion there is.  People take the photo, others are envious and want to go get their own ultra likeable photo.  No need to chase so called “influencers”.  Instagrammable locations work like a pyramid, sucking in more and more people.  Even the ones that didn’t like or comment are opening a Google search about travelling to that destination in another tab.  Come on, admit it, you probably started back at half way through this article when you saw my picture of my friend on that rock…

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(If anyone in tourism needs my help making their location more Instagrammable, feel free to contact me.)

Categories
Business POLITICS

Greece using Covid19 to leapfrog ahead!

This is no conspiracy theory. The Greek government has done an admirable job handling the pandemic. To be honest, it was much easier than others. We have no economy. Sending everyone home when half the population isn’t working anyway is no big decision. Taking an aggressive approach when your economy depends largely on tourism is also an easy choice. If we manage to salvage July and August on the Greek islands it will be a major victory. Leaders of countries with actual working economies that produce something had a much harder job. Sure Trump and Boris Johnson are inept, but we should not disregard how much harder it is to make any decision when there are billions riding on it.

Here in Greece it was easy to stop schools. We have a terrible educational system run by civil servants who do their best not to work or be evaluated. Not much difference if they close. In England it could cripple many companies when parents have to stay at home. Here it is easy for most people. Same with our enormous civil sector. Nobody misses the paper pushers when they are gone.

Some years ago, when my kids still thought I knew the answer to everything, they asked me what I would do if I became prime minister. (Because it was so obvious that I was the wisest man in the world!) I didn’t have to think much, the answer was obvious: “I would force everyone to get on a single IT system for everything.” This would solve most of our woes, from the black economy, to corruption.

And voila!

We now have most of the population at home. Online most of the time. How will they return to work when this is all over? They won’t! Our Prime minister used to be minister of Interior. He had a thing about organizing the civil service better. Here is how he will do it: What we will do is ask them, under the pretense of health and safety, to work online. Civil servants in Greece have managed to avoid using computers. About two decades ago some minister tried to make it compulsory for them to use email. He failed. They still don’t. But they could now!

These civil servants are all being paid full salaries and bonuses even though they are at home. So you could easily ask them to start signing in on a computerized system. Next step would be to get them to monitor some simple procedure, much as they would stamp approval on paper in their offices. Then more procedures on the same electronic platform. “Hey, we are paying you, it is dangerous to go back to the office, this is the only way!” It is not hard to imagine the entire civil service being restructured in less than a year like this. And the best part is that whoever can’t or won’t join the digital revolution will be self exiling themselves.

I am optimistic I know. My kids tell me that too now that they are older.

Categories
Business

The end of Apple has begun (Forbes deleted this article)

Just take whatever the article says and add “oh, and somebody thought it would be a good idea to delete this article”. I wrote about how Google got revenge on Apple for their privacy initiative through the Pixel 3a some time ago. Here is what the original article said:

The End of Apple Has Begun

Stephen McBride

Stephen McBrideContributor MarketsThe editor of RiskHedge Report

The End of Apple
The End of Apple© 2019 BLOOMBERG FINANCE LP

When Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage this September, nobody expected the shocking news he was about to deliver…

He unveiled the new iPhone 11—the most advanced phone Apple has ever made.

But it was not the triple-lens camera and lustrous finishes that stole the show. It was the phone’s price tag.

For the first time ever, Apple cut its iPhone price.

As I’ll explain, Apple made this move out of desperation… and it may well spell the beginning of the end of Apple’s run as a dominant company.

Apple Is a Phone Company

Let’s get one thing straight…

Apple is not a computer company anymore.

Apple is a phone company.

Since it introduced the iPhone in 2007, Apple has sold 2.2 billion phones raking in over a trillion dollars in sales—more than any other phone maker in history. Meanwhile, Apple stock shot up over 2,037%… and became the world’s largest publicly traded company.

RiskHedge
RISKHEDGE

iPhone Is Apple’s Golden Goose

Apple has earned a whopping $1.99 trillion since 2007. The thing is, more than half of it came from iPhone sales.

iPhone is not only Apple’s best-selling product by far. It’s also the company’s most profitable product.

For every dollar an iPhone brings into the company, Apple earns $0.60–0.74, according to PhoneArena. Compare that to the MacBook Air… Apple’s most profitable notebook…which earns a mere $0.29 on the dollar.

If it weren’t for the iPhone, Apple wouldn’t be where it is today. Without the iPhone, Apple would be a mediocre computer company like Dell at best.

iPhone Sales Stalled Out

For years, iPhone revenues have sprinted higher at an exponential pace.

But in 2015, Apple reached an inflection point. The growth of its iPhone sales has died out, as you can see below…

RiskHedge
RISKHEDGE

Last year, Apple sold 14 million fewer phones than it did three years ago.

That’s not unusual, though.

When Apple unveiled the first iPhone, the smartphone was groundbreaking technology. The typical lifecycle of a groundbreaking technology looks like this:

Sales skyrocket out of the gate… then flatten out as the market matures… and finally take an inevitable downturn.

Twelve years ago, only 120 million people had a cell phone. Today, over five billion people own a smartphone, according to IDC.

Apple Found a Way to Extend the iPhone Lifecycle

As I wrote earlier, Apple has found a masterful way to extend iPhone’s prime time. The company raised iPhone prices to offset slowing sales and keep its revenue figures growing.

Think about it… In 2010, you could buy a brand-new iPhone 4 for $599.

In 2017, you would have had to fork over $849 for the iPhone 8 and $1,149 for the iPhone X… Apple’s most expensive phone.

The price hikes kept Apple’s growth engine alive… and for this reason, its revenues have gone on marching higher since 2011.

But there was also another reason Apple was forced to hike its phone prices…

iPhones Are More Expensive for Apple, Too

Take a close look at the chart below. It shows how much it costs for Apple to make an iPhone…

RiskHedge
RISKHEDGE

With the exception of a few years, the cost of making an iPhone has been climbing higher since 2007.

The first iPhone cost Apple just above $200 to make. Meanwhile, iPhone XS (the latest iPhone Apple reported on) costs double that.

Apple has always set records with its phone prices. But as you can see, it did it for a reason. It had to offset the ever-growing costs.

But as I warned my readers before, it was just a matter of time before Apple had to pull back with its pricing.

It didn’t take long….

iPhone Has a New Feature: Lower Prices

Last September, Apple unveiled iPhone XR, a less advanced and more affordable version of the iPhone X.

It cost $749, a 35% drop from the iPhone X’s $1,145 price tag.

But in truth, it was almost the same iPhone X, only disguised as a budget phone. It was basically an excuse for Apple to release a cheaper phone to get its sales figures back on track.

This year, Apple went a step further. It slashed the price of its full-fledged iPhone. The newly released iPhone 11 started at $699, a price point not seen since 2017.

Apple did it as a last resort to spur lackluster demand. But in doing so, it has signaled the beginning of the end of its lucrative iPhone business.

The End of Apple

See what’s happening?

Not only is Apple selling fewer iPhones, it’s now earning much less on each one.

Recent financial reports show that iPhone revenues… which have been Apple’s lifeblood… are starting to sink.

Last quarter, Apple earned 10% less from iPhones than it did during the same period last year. That’s a loss of about $20 billion!

Apple has never earned so little from iPhones… and all this will start showing up in Apple’s financial reports very soon.

Let me make it clear: half of Apple’s business is going off the rails, and there’s no turning back.

While Apple admits the demise of iPhone and is looking into new business directions, these things don’t happen overnight. Meanwhile, Apple’s money-making machine is grinding to a halt.

As I warned you earlier this year, Apple is a ticking time bomb… and for this reason, I’d recommend staying away from this stock.

Written with the assistance of Dainius Runkevičius.

As it appears in Google search cache

Pretty straightforward stuff. Forbes’ analysts have made similar predictions in the past, that is what analysts do after all. Last August Forbes published one entitled “Dark days are closing in on Apple” for example. But getting an article deleted like this now is either Apple with its usual heavy-handed journalist blackmailing techniques or a very clever and sneaky Forbes self-promotion.

Categories
Business Technology

Huawei ban is a joke and so is the cheap Pixel

You just don’t get it, do you?

The tech world also has cliches. And if you have been around long enough they stand out. Apple as an opponent is a big one. When Microsoft ruled the world, they made it look as if a company with less than 7% market share was the opponent. That way they could pretend not to be a monopoly.

Google is copying that strategy. Inundating us with ads comparing the new, affordable Pixel to an iPhone. Yeah, right, sure, anything you say. Android is running billions of phones all over the world while iPhones are relevant only in a few countries or even cities. Or maybe just the posh neighborhoods within those cities. Google owns the AI, the data and the tech. Apple is buying up 2 companies a month trying to catch up as always.
Google does not even want to sell many Pixel phones, they never did. Pixel phones are just a way of kicking the rest of the Android ecosystem in the butt. The cheap Pixel is also a shot across the bow at Tim Cook for him talking crap about privacy.

There is of course absolutely no justification for what Donald Trump did to Huawei. Not that the Chinese are not terrible at stealing intellectual property and ripping off stuff. They are also likely to be trying to spy on us through their tech. But hitting Huawei is no solution. Why not Xiaomi too? Or any number of other Chinese manufacturers for that matter. And why just tech? They copy, steal and might be up to nasty spying with all sorts of other things they produce. Maybe even toys. Apple and Google met with Trump. He made them both promise to spend gazillions on new offices so that he could talk about new jobs in America. That is how it works.

Donald Trump does not understand what the late great master of propaganda Steve Jobs and his teacher Bill Gates knew well. His heavy-handed approach and erratic moves to please either his corporate friends or Russian blackmailers are ruining the facade so carefully built over many years.

Running a monopoly is not the hard part. Pretending it is not a monopoly is the real game.

Categories
Business Technology

Google and the Golden State Warriors: similar approach

As I watched the champions get annihilated by the Raptors this morning over breakfast I had yesterday’s Senate hearings in mind.  Steph Curry only got 3 out of 12 but didn’t look worried.  Much like Sundar Pichai yesterday.

Here’s what happened NBA-side in summary:  The Warriors gathered not one, not two but five All Stars.  These people are basically statistical outliers, freaks that make a difference when it matters.  There have been maybe a hundred such homo sapiens since basketball started and the Warriors have five.  So they dominate.  They dominated so badly last year that a lot of us were put off the game.  So what did the NBA do about it?  For starters they tweaked the schedule to help the Lakers just to keep up the LeBron narrative.  A bit like the stock market pumps up Apple every so often even though Apple has hardly no technological advantage.  Just so it looks like Google has a competitor.  Then they tweaked the rules to help teams that play in the paint.  Then they gave refs instructions on how to execute the rules so as to give the Warriors a harder time.  Not to get too technical, but the NBA did everything it could to make this years championship more fun.  They even asked the Warriors to tone it down.

It is pretty similar to the Google situation.  The company has created not just 5 but an almost infinite number of All Star technologies.  Worse still, they have tools that ensure they stay ahead of the pack.  They just need to choose when they will uncover what.  Not to look too good, that will increase calls for regulation and intervention.  The Golden State Warriors are following this example.  All year they bench key players with phony excuses to rest them, or simply play as if it is practice.  They don’t even use their best game plays all year unless they need them.  Maybe one or twice here and there, like…well, like a Google experiment.

Is this bad?  I have written about the Google monopoly since Google started and my position is the same.  It is the kindest dictator we could ask for.  I would much rather Google decides on major issues than Donald Trump or most other politicians.  Is it fair?  Business was never fair.  Should we change it?  I don’t see how and to be honest I don’t see why.  Much like the NBA, maybe tweak the rules a bit so that it is more fun to watch at least…

Categories
Business Communication Technology

Apple is not about tech so stop judging it as if it was

“So, seriously Alex, do you think Apple has a problem?”

Financial analysts call me up some times for “insights”.  It is usually when their job is on the line and/or they have to handle a really really big investor.  The guy was worried and wanted me to give him something new to say in the big meeting, something none of the others in the office had thought about.  And he came to the right place.  I hate Apple, I have hated Apple since 1981 when I realized how little the company cares about technology.  So the analyst got some dirt and we chatted away.

“OK, so I will tell them to buy Apple then” he concluded.  I didn’t disagree.  Because this is not about technology.  Apple had the smallest research and development budget for many years.  Apple has fallen way behind in artificial intelligence and the smart home.  Apple’s new computers are a joke that took years coming and isn’t even funny if you are a professional that relies on them.  No, this is not about technology.  It is about the stock market.  Apple is to stock what the dollar is to global currency markets.  And all it needs to do every so often is produce a fairy tale.

Take the recent iPad launch.  This is a a truly insignificant dying sector.  About 4% of devices sold globally are tablets.  Apple has a third of a market nobody wants.  Apple is losing ground in education, medical and pretty much any vertical you want to pick.  But what are the analysts saying?  Every so often someone flashes that graph about revenue being too dependent on the iPhone but then they forget it like the Apple fan boys and girls they rely on in the media for information.

So don’t call me about Apple anymore.  You don’t need my decades of experience in tech to guess what Apple will do next and how successful it will be. Tim Cook could present a half eaten moldy apple and sell it for a thousand dollars tomorrow.   Nobody would care if he only sold five of them at a loss.  Nobody cares about it working or actually helping somebody in the real world work.  Antennagates, Batterygates and even Bill Gates knew what he was doing when he saved Apple.  It was never about tech.

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(That’s not an apple in the photo by the way.  But who cares?)

Categories
Business Communication

Advanced marketing:A tobacco company sponsoring a smoke free future

It appeared in my Facebook timeline and took me by surprise.  A Greek island is aiming to be smoke free.  Nice initiative.  Nice touchy feely video and all.  Oh, wait a minute.  It is sponsored by Philip Morris.  How does that work?

I mean seriously.  How do we allow that to work?

The first set of problems are the legal issues.  In Greece nobody enforces smoking laws.  People smoke everywhere.  I was in court recently sitting under a sign that read “smoking is prohibited by XYZ law.  Smokers will be arrested and prosecute immediately.”  Two people were smoking right under the sign and next to a policeman.  I asked him to do something.  He asked them politely.  They declined.  End of story.  So is Philip Morris going to pay for better policing?  Of course not.

Which brings us to the second set of problems.  When they say “smoke free” they don’t mean that they will help everyone quit.  They mean they will help you switch from regular cigarettes to their new smoke free products.  Which even Philip Morris admits have not been proven in any way to be better.  In their words: “Studies on our most advanced smoke-free product, IQOS, are progressing rapidly and the results are encouraging.”  So they are pushing people from one of their products which we know for sure is bad for you, to another one of their products which we don’t know yet.

The third, very glaring problem, is the selectivity of it all.  Funnily enough in Greece they recently passed a strange law against vaping products without nicotine.  It is almost as if someone bribed law makers to bend laws in their direction.  No, wait, that is the sort of thing that happens in films.  For example films depicting what the tobacco companies did in the past in fact.

And of course there is a fundamental, logical problem.  Philip Morris is in the business of selling products for smoking.  “We’re dedicated to doing something very dramatic – replacing cigarettes with the smoke-free products that we’re developing and selling.”  That  is the closest you get to a mission statement.  So they are not are not actually going to help the inhabitants of any Greek island reduce smoking.  They just want to get visitors and locals to switch to their products.  This would be acceptable maybe as a step in the right direction if:

a) we were sure it is better for your health and

b)if they did it all around the world. 

 

But of course in other countries where they can still sell traditional cigarettes, that is what they sell.  They are lying in your face and not even holding crossed fingers behind their back.

The history of American Tobacco, their lies and deceits and illegal monstrosities has been relatively well documented.  This new chapter in their history emulates Donald Trump’s sheer audacity in lying straight to your face but makes it worse but applying a veneer of do-goodery.  A tobacco company paying a municipality to pretend it is doing something about a public health problem when in fact it is just giving free reign to Philip Morris to sell and promote their products like crazy all over the island.

 

It would be great if there was someone that could do something about it.

Categories
Business Society

Apple is gay.  But not as gay as the world needs it to be.

When Tim Cook came out to the media as gay I was not surprised.  We all knew that Apple products were disproportionately favored by gays.  The statistics occasionally cropped up and then disappeared in a very…Apple sort of way.  A very “gay” sort of way in fact if you wanted to use a crude and unfair generalisation in terms of stereotyping 5-7% of the world population and the richest corporation in the history of homo sapiens.  Interestingly enough that is about the market share of Apple products globally. (If you add smartphone and computers it may be a bit less but both kind of statistics are really hard to nail with any precision.)  Apple is the perfect demonstration of how hypocritical a gay CEO can be when he is the one in a position of power.

 

We don’t know exactly how many people on the planet are homosexual.  And to be honest, we shouldn’t really care. I have walked Gay Pride marches enough to know that all my gay friends, and the friends of their friends are a fantastically varied collection of human beings.  In fact I don’t even think classifications help. There is no “gay meter”, human sexuality is a wonderfully complex thing, nobody is completely “straight” and what people fantasize about or do in terms of their sex life is nobody else’s business.  It shouldn’t even be mentioned in business.

 

Oh wait.  Actually it is.

 

One of the biggest, most consistent and absolutely fair demands of all of us who believe in equal opportunities, is the push for fair pay.  I want my daughter to get paid as much as a man when she works doing a similar job. Hey Siri, is this true in Apple regarding gay employees?  Hmmm…no response, eh? I want my kids to grow up in a world where we don’t need quotas in upper management. Hey Siri, are there disproportionately more gays in Apple?  Siri won’t tell you.  Apple won’t tell you. It is their right after all not to tell you.  But why is nobody asking? We ask about all sort of other groups of people.  We do our politically correct best to help minorities of every kind.  We read and write about how a corporation needs a coherent mission and values.  If Apple is more camp than others why is not openly projecting it?

 

It seems rather impressive that we can #meToo ourselves until we are blue in the face and turn a blind eye to this opportunity.  If Tim Cook was a Yankees fan, when he met the President of the USA, we would read “and they joked about the game”. If the CEO of the richest corporation in the history of humanity was married to a woman we would probably see her at his side there too.  Through a combination of good timing and the all powerful Apple PR machine, since he bravely came out openly as gay however we have heard almost nothing.  A few carefully planned and executed, possibly paid for, high profile, profiles about it then. And since? Is Tim Cook in some way obligated to bring up LGBT issues since he has the ear of the world?  Should he be doing more?

 

Of course it is a personal choice.  And he should have the right to a private life.  Other CEO keep their families away from the media.  But the case of Apple and Tim Cook is a remarkable demonstration of the limits of selective political correctness, the limits of #metoo type of approaches and our extremely hypocritical approach to demands for transparency and “the truth” about our world.