Set-Up to Fail

Kyle Reed // @kylereed

It was said to be the biggest announcement yet from Steve Jobs and everyone at Apple.

“We want to kick off 2010 by introducing a truly magical and revolutionary product today.”

Wow, that is a big deal. Something revolutionary is never a bad thing, magical is a little weird (which btw, what is up with all the magic talk coming from apple?). The tension and hype in the room was undeniable, people were waiting with great anticipation. First, Mr. Jobs wanted to recap where Apple has been before he talked about where they are going. Announcing that Apple is now worth an estimated $50 billion dollars and has sold over 250,000,000 iPods, Steve Jobs seemed to be laying the foundation of a take over. Everything was about to change in the next 2 hours, at least that is what we thought.

“iPad, that sounds like a women’s hygene product” that was the common response heard around the world on twitter. Even to the point of having #itampon trend on twitter. Wow, that doesn’t seem to be what they were going for. Not only was the name a let down, the product as a whole seemed to be a let down. The only redeeming quality of the iPad was the price, starting at $499 (some said it would be anywhere between $800-$1000). On a day that was going to change the history of technology and revolutionize the game of publishing, people walked away very disappointed. It left me to think about hype and how it can be more of a tool to failure then a means of excitement.

From the onset, apple could not win, at least not today. People were hyping this product, this day, this event, as the greatest thing to happen…well since 2007 when the iPhone was announced. The media and tech coverage was enough to make you think that the president was going to be speaking there and he was going to have the solution to happiness. Instead a man in a black turtle neck tried to deliver happiness in a 0.5 inches thin 1.5 lb tablet. It is a recipe for disaster. Hype can turn very dirty and can lead people losing a lot of trust. I have seen this with music, people, events, and products. The hype machine builds you up and then lets it go.

I think hype is overrated.

Maybe we should be more concerned about delivering content, or for that matter, what we promise, then hyping ourselves and products up to the point of failure. I have seen this happen many times, heck I have done this myself. You can get so caught up in “what you are selling” that you realize you are in way over your head. The worst is when we over hype ourselves. Watching #itampon trend on twitter today reminded me that it is more about what God has done with a worthless sinner who is incapable of doing anything good on his own, rather then a guy that likes to make you think you have it all figured out.

Don’t buy the hype…
accept grace.


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Kyle Reed

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I create websites, conversations, and ideas. Advocate for the 20 somethings. Looking to connect everyone to a mentor. Married to my best friend, Ginny. I like my coffee black and my dog Jack. I currently live in Nashville and work at Sony Music/Provident in Nashville
  • Crystal Renaud

    very well said!

  • Crystal Renaud

    very well said!

  • joecavazos

    Great post Kyle, you can never go wrong with under promoting and over delivering.

    • bondChristian

      What he said. :)

  • tyhuze

    There was definitely too much hype surrounding apple's new product, but I'm not exactly sure what people expected. The device was intended to bridge the gap between mobile devices and laptops…you have to admit, as a media focused gadget it's pretty slick. Not the best name…I would've called it the MacSlate (though it's not really a computer).

    Also, it looks like your calvin(ish) friends are getting to you. :)

    • @kylelreed

      Whats wrong with that.

      On another note, I do agree. I really do not know what people were expecting, nor do I feel like it did not deliver on what it promised. Honestly, if I was going to be getting a kidle or something like that to read books on I would spend an extra 100 or 200 dollars to have this guy. It goes way beyond what any of the other ereaders can do and it looks awesome. Can't wait to go to the apple store and check it out.
      Now to figure out how I can get 500 dollars

  • bondChristian

    The key to building trust is to under promise and over deliver. That's what I do. :)

    Seriously, though, the key is to make promises and keep those promises. Otherwise, your next promise is worth nothing.

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

    • @kylelreed

      Good point.
      The problem is, you have to have some excitement and hype to get people to come out or buy the product.
      Like Carlos EP, he had to hype that thing up. It delivered, but it could have failed because people might have been expecting more. There is a line there somewhere.

      • adamrshields

        At some point the hype takes on a life of its own, whether Apple wants it to or not. I think it has happened several times but it did happen this time. What I find ironic is that as a non-apple lover, I am more intrigued by this than anything I have seen from apple in a while. I won't buy it because I already have a kindle/smartphone/netbook. And I am opposed to the “Apple knows better than you what you want” mentality that they have going on with their insular systems, but I am still intrigued.

      • bondChristian

        Yes, under promising still involves promising.

        -Marshall Jones Jr.

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