Monthly Archives: June 2010

I am finding the combination of apps and iPad is changing how I work with devices

It is taking a while, but I am exploring the various applications that are available on the iPad, and more importantly starting to put the device to work for me.  I believe the power (and commercial success) of any product is its ability to change the behavior of the user and improve life.  I am finding the iPad does this, but the benefits are the apps, not the technology.  The device features and a really great development environment (developers can make money with modest amounts of work) brings fantastic benefits.


I find the following features make the iPad incredibly useful:


1.       10 hours battery life, essentially allowing it to be an always with you, always on device that last longer than a day

2.       exceptional quality screen that makes using media a joy.  Both video and graphic media look exceptional.

3.       the form factor allows taking this device everywhere WITHOUT ANY ACCESSORIES

4.       the keyboard is extremely useable, even for long form writing

5.       Outlook Exchange integration is outstanding working better than the Outlook client itself

6.       having both Wi-Fi and Cellular service means you can always connect.





The number of information sources with individual applications that present exceptionally well are incredible.  The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Financial Times, ESPN, and the list goes on.  Not only is the information available, but for the first time, these publications are presented in a format that is better than print with graphic presentations exceeding gloss magazine quality, first time introduction of video and multi-media elements, and the ability to annotate, search and navigate quickly to only what you are interested in.





While the form factor is smaller, the experience of watching movies, TV shows, and video or any kind is exceptional.  I have 12 movies on my iPad and can watch my movies on even the longest international flight for the entire flight.  The experience is so compelling, that people will start using this as their main media screen in my opinion.





I have always traveled with a paper reporters book and taken notes, and used it to explore ideas and concepts.  This is the first device that will allow me to replace paper, with a superior experience.  Dan Bricklin (inventor of the spread sheet and fellow HBS classmate) has an exceptional application called “Notetaker for the iPad HD”.



Autodesk (maker of best CAD software) also has a fantastic application called Sketch Book Pro.



This comination which is can now allow files to be emailed, searched and organized electronically make for an uber-notebook.


A great sylus that works with the iPad is about $12.…




Games, GPS, maps, weather presentation, flight information, music keyboard, guitar teacher, and much much more.  With one click, you can be doing something productive and/or fun.



I was in a cab going to an obsure hotel and the cab driver got lost (with a GPS that did not have current info).  I dialed up my iPad, Google Earth, and gave directions plus had a real time read out of where we were.  When he took several wrong turns, I was able to correct him promptly.


Between navigating, I was reading the current news from the Wall Street Journal.  Wow.




By |June 14th, 2010|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Jeff Beck Burns the house down honoring Les Paul at Iridium in New York

Les Paul’s home venue, the Iridium on 51st and Broadway in New York I am certain had Les smiling from on high with incredible musicianship and an audience of music industry aristocracy.

Jeff Beck, managed by world renown Harvey Goldberg, honored Les by standing on Les’s shoulders and taking the guitar to new heights bringing tears to the eyes of many in the room.…

By |June 10th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Backroom Digital Entertainment Group to revolutionize Media World


In 2005 through 2007 I started an initiative I called "Take Anywhere" (registered trademark) and an entirely new approach to allowing consumers broad use of digital content they paid for (all their devices, anywhere they were, any format).  We invested considerable time and money pursuing this vision of the future and developed a technology to accomplish it.

Gibson sponsored meetings with many of the large companies in the space such as Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, Samsun, Broadcom, HP, Sony, as well as engaging industry organizations such as the CEA, RIAA and the MPAA. 


Generally the approach was rejected for various reasons by these powerful interests.

I have attached two white papers I wrote presenting the concept I called Take Anywhere Technology.  I prepared a detailed business case showing how application of this technology would reverse a decline in content sales and actually be extremely well received by consumers based on a focus groups we commissioned using famous pollster and friend, Frank Luntz.

Well I continued to lobby for the approach, but went back to worrying about guitars.


Fast forward to the Wall Street Journal’s D8 conference:  I had just heard Steve Jobs interviewed and was standing in line when my friend Mitch Singer from Sony Studios came over.  We shared a meal while he told me about The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) group that was in the last stages of building a robust solution like what I had envisioned several years ago.  This time, with a great leader like Mitch with Sony’s backing, and a consortium of 40 or so of the largest names in digital technology and entertainment!!!

It will be a radically better world and will make for a richer consumer experience, and finance a renaissance in the creative arts in my opinion.  While the effort has been quiet and behind the scenes, the work is brilliant and supported by the big guys enthusiastically.

—Check out the links—…


If this intrigues you I have attached my original thoughts.  The approach was based on what I strongly believed to be an ethical and moral set of rules that I called the Consumer Bill of Rights.  I am convinced this will be implemented and supported by law and practice at some future date.

Comments are welcome…

By |June 9th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Gibson is striving for a new level of transparency and dialogue with our fans

The world is trying to figure out what "social media" is all about.  Clearly, there is a revolution taking place seeing the amount of activity on web sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube among others.   I believe that internet tools are allowing a company to be able to conduct a real dialogue with our fans either via individual e-conversation or by giving access and participating in communities interested in Gibson.


I and our entire team at Gibson want to know what we can do to make your relationship with Gibson a better more joyful experience.  While it is not possible to fill all wishes, we want to fill as many as possible and make the lives of our fans more joyful and rewarding.

To start the dialogue process we are opening ways for fans to talk to us.  The first steps were taken 15 years ago when we set up a Customer Care hotline available to anyone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including holidays.  (In the US the toll free number is 1-800-4GIBSON).  We receive thousands of direct calls a week where you can get a real person who cares on the line in under a minute.  This was expanded to IM, email support, and forums on our web site as these tools become available.  We track response rates to insure we respond both quickly and with empathy, and we do so most of the time (we continue to improve).

Our Customer Care is now global, with service in Europe, Japan, China, and very shortly in India.  Every day, all of our top management, including myself get a report on concerns, suggestions, and general comments made.  I personally insure this is followed up in an exceptional way.


The tools of today allow us to go way beyond this to achieve much higher levels of dialogue with our fans and fan communities.  We are now on twitter, Facebook, and participating in some related communities quite actively.  We are gradually expanding our contacts with fans and communities with an organized outreach program whereby there are live Gibson events where people can have face to face dialogue with key members of our team.  We are just at the very beginning of these efforts and I know we have a lot of work to do.

There are three principals that drive our efforts and which I am trying to make part of the DNA of Gibson:

1.       Transparency

2.       Responsibility

3.       Accountability

Gibson is about community and dedicated to making all our partners lives better and more joyful.  (It is that sense of joy that I believe is the core of musical experience.)  Gibson want to be and is your community, dedicated to the above three principals.

Talk to us.  Tell us what we can do better, or what you already really love.  What would you like to see from us?  Help us and participate.  Much more to come…

By |June 8th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Heard Steve Jobs speak at D8 Conference it’s about making the greatest product in “spring” of lifecycle.

Some brief observations of a great interview:

Steve Jobs is one of the most brilliant intuitive marketers of our age in my opinion. I gained more insight into his approach to marketing and product development in this interview with Walter Mossberg.  When he walked on stage, he looked very fragile and thin, but there was an exuberant energy as he sat down.  When he started to speak, his passion was overwhelming.

Walt’s questions were mostly aimed at the Apple controversies of the day.  The lost iPhone prototype, the restrictive app store, his emailing people, etc.  Buried in the topical news were gems reflecting how Steve approaches product, marketing and works with his people.

Apple “the biggest startup on the planet”. 

Steve’s goal is to see the company grow but have the passion and aggressive drive of a startup.  He proudly said there were no committees at Apple. The company is organized as a loose collaboration of focused functions led by a bright committed leader who is “trusted to come through”.  He has a 3 hour meeting with these group leaders every month to brainstorm, review progress and synchronize goals and objectives.  His days are spent meeting with ad hoc groups having dialogue and building consensus on direction.  Ultimately they are driven by doing exceptional work, products that are so wonderful for consumers they are magic.

“I can’t let it slide”

Throughout his interview, there was his strong personal belief in values that embrace the consumer’s interests but go counter to industry direction.  These values include the consumers’ right to privacy, the prohibition of pornography and scamsters from the Apple ecosystem and most importantly the pursuit of wondrous products.

When things are not right, Steve feels compelled to act, whether it is to fire off an email, or otherwise confront the issue even when other perceive it as small issue and was not worth pursuing.

the PC is like a truck” We are not on the farm anymore

Steve proclaimed the PC era was over, and the iPad was ushering in a new era.  In the early years of automobiles, large trucks were required for farming and were the bulk of the market.  As society urbanized cars became the top sellers.  The overwhelming feeling at D8 from every industry titan that spoke was a violent agreement on the profound nature of the iPad introduction.  Every large enterprise, from Comcast, to New Corp. , was making major commitments to this technology.

The PC is dead.  Laptops are irrelevant and unnecessary.

Its about the spring season”

Steve product development philosophy is based on understanding product lifecycles.  He looks for a product that is in the early stages of adoption (the Spring season of its life) and where he has the resources to execute in an exceptional manner.  He believe too many product developers rush to market, underestimate what it takes to succeed and ultimately are not able to execute.

Additionally, he believes in penetration pricing.  Design something awesome and get the price very competitive with a goal of achieving immediate high volume on introduction.

Secret: iPad gave birth to iPhone

The stage got quiet for a second, and Steve said, let me share a secret with you.  The iPad was the first product he set about to develop.  I brilliant engineer had come to him with an idea on a new touch interface, which turned into a project to design an early iPad.

When Steve saw the early results, he decided that this amazing technology would best be applied to a phone and shelved the pad device which was revived after several successful iPhone models were in the marketplace.

“Advertising and developers revenue”

Apple has purchased a web ad firm.  Steve explains his rational.  He believes the future of software applications are about low prices, but ultimately largely financed by advertiser support.  To accomplish this goal, he is building an infrastructure that will allow developers to derive advertiser income regardless of scale.  This will give consumers exceptional value, and motivate hundreds of developers to develop great applications.

By |June 3rd, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Inside view on what went wrong with General Motors (where I spent 7 years) – See article in Harvard Business Review

I went to General Motors Institute in Flint, Michigan, the birthplace of General Motors as a co-op student getting my degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Electrical Engineering.  I then spent 2 years as a manufacturing project engineer.  This allowed me an intimate view of what was happening at General Motors when the company was still viewed as a great success.  Ultimately what I saw motivated me to pursue an entrepreneurial career.

I had an interview where I discussed my thoughts on GM and what went wrong.  A short and controversial read:

By |June 3rd, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments