Samsung has stopped production of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. Why? The company and customers suffered through a few dozen Note 7’s that exploded and caught fire. Even the replacement units had similar problems so the company stopped production.
What can we learn from another sad Samsung saga? Yes, there’s the obvious karma issue that haunts so many companies and individuals when they do wrong. But I’m reminded more of what the old knight who guarded the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade said to those who seek immortality.
Our lives on planet earth are made of choices. How we fare as human beings is made up of choices combined with circumstances blended with culture, knowledge, and many other factors. I don’t fault smartphone buyers for going after the Galaxy Note 7 based on what they saw on paper– the device was feature competitive with any smartphone anywhere. Best screen ever. Best camera available at the time. Plenty of high level specifications. Iris scanner for improved security. This was a smartphone made for people who care about such details, a product destined to be Samsung’s flagship smartphone.
There are two main problems. The first has to do with quality control. Obviously, there is something wrong with Samsung’s Note 7 batteries, or there’s another problem– hardware or software– that combine under certain conditions to cause overheating, explosions, and fires. It happens. But it happened too frequently to Samsung, hence the recall, and now production has ceased.
The second problem is more subtle but follows along the lines of Donald Trump’s ‘The Snake,’ a lesson we should consider wherever possible. There are a number of versions of this floating around, but let’s go with this one:
A Farmer walked through his field one cold winter morning. On the ground lay a Snake, stiff and frozen with the cold. The Farmer knew how deadly the Snake could be, and yet he picked it up and put it in his bosom to warm it back to life. The Snake soon revived, and when it had enough strength, bit the man who had been so kind to it. The bite was deadly and the Farmer felt that he must die. As he drew his last breath, he said to those standing around: “Learn from my fate not to take pity on a scoundrel.”
I liken Samsung to the titled scoundrel in Aesop’s Fables. Samsung’s reputation precedes itself. The company has a long history of brutish behavior in the marketplace– whether it be stealing intellectual property from competitors, lying about the performance of its products, or its executives spending time in jail for misdeeds– Samsung can be considered something of a technology ‘snake.’
If a customer knew Samsung was a snake when he or she bought the Galaxy Note 7 then should a customer be surprised when the device overheats, explodes, and catches fire?
Yes, we can apply the same story and its moral to a variety of situations in both public and private life, but especially to the current political season. Voters complain about government, demand change; a large percentage even adopt a candidate to spearhead the desired change– in this case, one without public office experience, therefore less known to the electorate. That’s the aforementioned ‘snake.’ But those same voters continue to elect the same politicians election after election. I believe nothing can be improved without change, so working toward an improved government for all would seem to be a lofty goal, but choosing a snake and re-electing the same politicians seems to be counterintuitive and definitely is counterproductive as the current U.S. election nearly shows.
So it is with Samsung. So it is with Google. Snakes are snakes. Products from either can only result in what happens to people when they harbor such creatures.