Archive for July, 2009

One More Thing

John Gruber wrote Microsoft’s Long, Slow Decline yesterday, and you better believe he got plenty of replies. He’s linked to some of them and I don’t doubt there are many more.

I didn’t see one point raised among the replies. Perhaps a small nitpick, perhaps I missed someone saying it. But in case others missed it too, he argues that nerds are leading indicators when it comes to trends. He says that [p]eople who love computers overwhelmingly prefer to use a Mac today. (Or would prefer, if they had enough disposable income, assumingly.) After a brief detour via General Motors (did you know all car enthusiasts disliked GM’s trucks and SUVs?), he brings up another example:

Or consider cameras. Companies like Canon and Nikon make most of their money from consumer-level point-and-shoot cameras. But they are intensely competitive at the high end of the market, too. Enthusiasts are valuable customers not just because they themselves buy expensive products, but because they, as enthusiasts, tend to recommend products in their area of expertise to others. The photo nerd who’s delighted with their $2,500 Canon SLR is likely to recommend a lot of $250 Canon point-and-shoots to friends and family.

Key point: Canon has $250 point-and-shoots.

When a photo nerd is asked for his opinion (or should that be if?), he might say “I’ve had great experiences with Canon cameras.” The friend-or-family will then look at Canon cameras, see a point-and-shoot priced competitively with similar cameras, and perhaps buy it.

When a computer nerd is asked for his opinion, he might say “I’ve had great experiences with Apple computers.” Or perhaps, to stay more on topic, “I’ve had bad experiences with computers that run Microsoft Windows.” The friend-or-family will then look at Apple computers, or computers that don’t run Windows, and find the cheapest Apple desktop computer is $600, sans screen, the cheapest Apple laptop is $1000, and the few computers that don’t run Windows and aren’t Apple run a strange and non-TV-advertised operating system.

That doesn’t seem like the material for a slam-dunk conversion.

The non-Windows yet Windows-priced viable alternatives are very rare, and it doesn’t look like this will change anytime soon. Remember netbooks, the Microsoft killer? Microsoft isn’t dead yet.

Wishful Thinking: The Story of UW Rebrandings

This should perhaps be subtitled “Problem Solving 101.”

With the new University of Waterloo logo saga far from over, Monday’s Daily Bulletin announced a new rebranding effort and a new logo for UW Food Services, which operates several food outlets on campus.

Explaining the rationale for rebranding, Heather Kelly, Food Services coordinator, commented:

Many people on campus were not aware of the department, and sometimes our 17 different outlets were not recognized as all being part of food services. We needed to unify our look.


The Emperor Has No Clothes: A Brief History of the UW Logogate

The University of Waterloo unveiled a new logo today, with what might seem like surprisingly little fanfare. The unveiling consisted of a mention in the Daily Bulletin and a front-page article in Imprint, the student newspaper. There was no press release, although the Daily Bulletin is linked off the front page of the university. I do not remember if I ever had faith in the university telling the whole story themselves, but these days I no longer do, so I thought some back story on the issue might come in handy.