A Lesson from Taylor Swift resonates with my kids as I say I do the same thing

Connecting with your kids is a challenge.  My daughter is 14 and my son is 12.  This morning driving the kids to their bus stops my daughter was frustrated Taylor Swift's song "New Romance" is not part of the Apple Music subscription.  Sticking to Taylor Swift as a subject, we commented on how smart Taylor Swift is using humor in its Apple ad.

What my kids also understand is how smart Taylor Swift was in her famous letter to Apple pointing out the three month free trial would be a financial burden on many artists.

I’m sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free 3 month trial to anyone who signs up for the service. I’m not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.

The letter was polite and to the point. Swift felt it unfair for Apple to use artists, especially up-and-coming ones, to grow its new service without compensating them for it. The counterargument, meanwhile, holds that the free trial could bring lots of free publicity to those same lesser-heard artists. The flaw there, however, is that Apple was asking those artists to make a leap of faith in the hopes of more followers and money in the future — but many small artists live essentially paycheck to paycheck, and they can’t stomach a quarter of reduced payouts.
— http://time.com/3940500/apple-music-taylor-swift-release/

Apple then made a smart move and made a change, and talked to Taylor Swift.  Taylor Swift is now a part of Apple Music and as my kids see Taylor Swift as one of the leaders in Apple's advertising.

Which then brought up an interesting point. Taylor Swift did a good thing. She was willing to stand up for something and possibly make an enemy.

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.
— – Winston Churchill

Which then reminded me of how many times I've written a blog post to stand up for something and speak my mind.  And, some of my best friends are now people at these companies who choose to reach out and have a dialog.  After many more discussions we are working together on changing the way things are.  Just like Taylor Swift.  I won't point out those specific companies as that would probably get their PR groups stirred up and I want to keep my friends at those companies. 

The story of doing the right thing resonated with my kids.  Which was a nice ending.  Then my daughter said why don't I focus on this blog more and make money that way.  I then told them how hard it is to make money running a blog.  But they were still interested in how it works.  I told them let's talk more and we can go back and add advertising on the site and they can keep the money from the blog if they help work on it. They are both in for giving it a try.

If I could have a conversation like this once a week it would be great.  Driving the kids to the bus is something I do whenever possible.




Why I liked "Becoming Steve Jobs" Book

I just spent the last 21 days slowly reading the book "Becoming Steve Jobs."  The book has glowing reviews from many.  And Apple executives present and past think this is a better story than the other Steve Jobs book.

I worked at Apple from 1985-1992 so I didn't interact with Steve when he was there.  These were the days of John Sculley.  From an outsider I watched the rise of Pixar and even saw the Luxor Jr at Siggraph in 1986.  Ed Catmull's book Creativity Inc gives insight into some things that Steve learned from Ed.  And "Becoming Steve Jobs" tells the story of how Steve went from Apple to Next and Pixar and back to Apple and was transformed.

One of the best descriptions I found of the book is in the Source Notes at the end of the book.  Beyond where most would stop reading.

providing a deeper understanding of Steve Jobs’s ever-evolving arsenal of entrepreneurial skills and capabilities, and the deepening of his almost messianic drive to have an impact on his world. We want to show how it was fueled to an unusual degree by his unique gift for being an autodidact, and by genuine idealism as well as his occasionally scary obsessions, his rigid and austere yet consistently well-thought-out aesthetic standards, his often pompous sense of mission. All along, he held a genuine compassion for the anxieties and needs of ordinary people who want to find new tools to empower and improve themselves in a world that grows more complex, cacophonous, and confounding every day. So for us, this is an entirely new story.

— Schlender, Brent; Tetzeli, Rick (2015-03-24). Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader . The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Building Great Products, explained by Apple's Tim Cook

Building great products is hard.  And it can be hard to explain in a few minutes.  Tim Cook in January 2009 as interim CEO said the following in an earnings call.

We believe that we’re on the face of the Earth to make great products, and that’s not changing.

We’re constantly focusing on innovating.

We believe in the simple, not the complex.

We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.

We believe in saying no to thousands of projects so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us.

We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot.

And frankly, we don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change.

And I think, regardless of who is in what job, those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well.

- Tim Cook, Acting Apple CEO, January 2009 FQ1 2009 Earnings Call

Apple couldn't have planned a better execution of the Watch, years of iPhone use kill legacy watches

So Apple has announced the Apple Watch.

Apple Unveils Apple Watch—Apple’s Most Personal Device Ever

CUPERTINO, California—September 9, 2014—Apple® today unveiled Apple Watch™—its most personal device ever—featuring revolutionary new technologies and a pioneering user interface with a beautiful design that honors the rich tradition of precision watchmaking.


Years of iPhone and other smartphones have created millions of users that no longer wear watches.

With the release of the Apple Watch, Apple is positioned to recreate what a watch does.

“Apple introduced the world to several category-defining products, the Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “And once again Apple is poised to captivate the world with a revolutionary product that can enrich people’s lives. It’s the most personal product we’ve ever made.”

“With Apple Watch, we’ve developed multiple technologies and an entirely new user interface specifically for a device that’s designed to be worn. It blurs the boundary between physical object and user interface,” said Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of Design. “We’ve created an entire range of products that enable unparalleled personalization.”

Apple gives tour of Data Center Solar Farm to journalist

The CilmateDesk posts a Youtube video.


Mother Jones writes up what is shown in the above video.

Inside the Huge Solar Farm That Powers Apple's iCloud

Lisa Jackson on Apple's wide-ranging plan to green its act.

| Mon Jul. 28, 2014 6:00 AM EDT

It looks like the green efforts are part of Apple’s marketing strategy.

After converting all of its data centers to clean energy, the Guardian understands Apple is poised to use solar power to manufacture sapphire screens for the iPhone 6, at a factory in Arizona.

And in a departure for its reputation for secretiveness, Apple is going out of its way to get credit for its green efforts.

"We know that our customers expect us to do the right thing about these issues," Lisa Jackson, the vice-president of environmental initiatives told the Guardian.