Published on: April 12, 2007To hear Kevin Coupe’s weekly radio commentary, click on the “MNB Radio” icon on the left hand side of the home page, or just go to:
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Hi, I’m Kevin Coupe and this is MorningNewsBeat Radio, brought to you by Webstop, your first stop for retail website design services.
Last week on MorningNewsBeat Radio, I was talking about various kinds of technological breakthroughs – such as Wi-Fi and cell phone service on airplanes – and noting the upside and downside of these sorts of advances. And, I commented that, hard as it is to believe, not everyone lives and dies based on Wi-Fi and constant and state-of-the-art contact with the outside world. Proof of this, I said, is one of my neighbors, who doesn’t have cable television and still uses dial-up AOL for her Internet. I believe I said something glib like, I didn’t know any of my neighbors was Amish.
To which MorningNewsBeat user Dave Tuchler responded:
“You seem to infer that your neighbors are less technologically capable because they don't have cable TV. My household also doesn't have cable -- we get our TV the old-fashioned way - thru an aerial antenna. But it's not because we're afraid of technology -- it's a conscious decision to limit unwelcome content coming thru the tube, as well as avoiding the 'attractive nuisance' of 50 additional channels to distract us from doing something productive. This has probably not helped our popularity with our daughters, but they've gotten used to it and seem to be surviving.
“In this case, if cable companies were really interested in getting my business, they would offer more flexibility to customize programming and manage pricing accordingly.”
This point about the cable companies actually is a good one. In the scheme of things, it seems to me that the circle of hell reserved for, say, tobacco company executives also should have a special section for cable company executives and the people who make up the rules for cellular phone contracts. There are probably a few other folks that I’d group in there, but I can’t think of them right now.
That said, I have to admit that while Bruce Springsteen was actually understating the issue when he sang about “57 Channels & Nothing On,” I also am glad they’re there and I don’t want to live without any of them. I don’t want to live without SportsCenter or Baseball Tonight or even the women’s beach volleyball you can find on ESPN in the middle of the night. I don’t want to live without “Hardball” on MSNBC or C-Span or “The Daily Show” or “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central. And I definitely don’t want to live without “The Sopranos,” though I guess I’ll have to get used to that pretty soon. I like knowing that the whole world is there for the viewing, even if I don’t want to watch it.
Now, I’m aware that this makes me sound a little shallow. Actually, Mrs. Content Guy is sitting across from me, and she says it makes me sound incredibly shallow and like a spoiled Yuppie. I disagree with her on this, mostly because I’m too old to be a Yuppie. (What do you call an aging Yuppie anyway? Is there a new catch phrase or acronym that I’m not aware of? Write in and let me know – and if someone comes up with something unique and preferably funny, they’ll win a special limited edition MorningNewsBeat t-shirt.)
Maybe it is a sad commentary on my life, but this is the world I live in. This is not to denigrate people who don’t have cable or high-speed Internet, though from where I’m sitting, they might as well be living in a cabin in the woods, typing on a manual typewriter, using a fireplace for heat and, when they talk about the horsepower of their vehicle, they’re really talking about the power of their horse.
I’m not denigrating them. I just don’t understand them. I can’t help it. I’m just a 52-year-old, possibly incredibly shallow man who is in love with his iPod, his Wi-Fi, his cable television and his laptop - because they give me access to so much that I might not have access to otherwise.
If I’m addicted to anything, I’m addicted to access.
But here’s the lesson. When it comes to being addicted to access, I’m strictly minor leagues. This younger generation is generally far more savvy than I am about how and where and when to gain access to all that the world has to offer. Remember the younger generation that will be your core customer in just a few years. Research shows that they operate according to the three second rule – they give a web page three seconds to load. If it doesn’t do it in those three seconds – one, two, three – they move on.
In the future, that’s the center of the marketing bullseye.
Aim well, aim carefully, and above all, aim frequently.
For MorningNewsBeat Radio, I’m Kevin Coupe.
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