The public microphone is off. The company’s speakers are dead. Apple can’t hear you. And despite your cries and complaints about products, why should Apple bother listening to you, a mere member of the great masses of unwashed customers?
After all, Apple is a great success, a great success story, and everything the company does turns to gold. Apple knows better than you or me. After all, the stock is trading at record levels. The latest financials displayed record revenue, nearly record profits, record sales of iPhone and Mac and Services. Apple can do no wrong. That’s why Apple can’t hear you.
Tin Ear Syndrome
It’s not an axiom, but it seems so. Those in positions of power seem to think they can do no wrong because they have power and riches and you do not, therefore, what can you possibly know that they do not? What insight can you bring to the powers that be that they do not already know?
Therein lies the problem. For most who make such statements or think such thoughts are victims of the Golden Rule. “Those with the most gold, get to rule those without gold.” It’s math. And physics. And law. Yet, somehow, with more engineering talent and experienced executives than any one technology company should have, despite a few hundred billion dollars in the bank, and more than a billion customers on the planet, Apple can’t hear you.
Proverbs 16:18 is one of my mother’s favorite scriptures, and it doesn’t matter much which translation you read or use, the message is clear.
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
Or, put another way…
Pride precedes a disaster, and an arrogant attitude precedes a fall.
Why should Apple’s executives listen to customers when it should be obvious to us that they know their markets and products better than anyone; perhaps more that God himself?
Tin Ear is a malady– defined in multiple ways as an inability to perceive differences in musical sounds, or an insensitivity to subtlety in verbal expression, or a lack of discriminating sensitivity to speech or understanding. Anyone who has worked for an asshole boss knows about tin ear syndrome. They just cannot hear what employees or customers say because forever and ever ‘they know better.’
Apple can’t hear us because the malady has become so pervasive that it has permeated executive ranks; they seem to have grown rich and sluggish by heady profits and stock options while merely extending the company’s status quo built under Steve Jobs’ reign.
Do you want a professional level Mac that can be configured and customized the way you want instead of it becoming a portable appliance? Do you want an upgrade to the iPad so it does more than the original launched in 2010? Would you prefer an iPhone that has best of breed hardware components? Of course. But Apple cannot hear the customer because iPhones and Macs sell in record numbers. Our love of all things Apple has sent the Services group to ever greater revenue and profits. The world loves Apple and we can tell because the stock price, revenue, and profits are all around record levels.
Professional level Macs that haven’t been upgraded in nearly four years may rankle a few customers, and iPad sales that continue to fall year after year should be a sign that something, somewhere is wrong.
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
That time honored saying could be adjust; modified to fit the technology scene, circa 2017.
If a customer cries out about a company’s products and its executives cannot hear him because they have grown deaf, does the customer make a sound?