PR is no substitute for bad products

Two very interesting articles in today’s Wall Street Journal. The first one discusses the recent poor financial performance of McDonald’s. Interestingly, the company’s response is to encourage franchisees to provide better service with a smile. It identified the top customer complaint as “rude or unprofessional employees.” Customers apparently have found service chaotic and it described the average drive-thru order wait time of 188.83 seconds. I suppose a three minute wait time for your order must feel like forever in an idling vehicle, but that still sounds awfully fast to me. The company is even remodeling and sprucing up restaurants to appear more appealing, but one major area of emphasis seems to be missing: the food. It’s awful. Nutritionally lacking, poor tasting, lukewarm products are the problem. And, have you actually tried a milkshake? It tastes more like flavored foam than actual ice cream. The burgers are disgusting no matter how many condiments are used to either drown the ugliness or spice up the bland mystery meat. Clearly I’m no fan of McDonald’s food, but I don’t think it’s just me. What do you think is the problem at McDonalds?

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The next article does not bode well for the future of traditional computer sales. Apparently the rapid growth of iPads and tablet PCs have sharply decreased the demand for personal computers, including laptops and desktops. In separate reports from IDC and Gartner, both respected industry research firms, estimated a decline of 14 percent and 11 percent respectively in world-wide shipments. Adding to the problem is the latest operating system from Microsoft, Windows 8, that has failed to take off. In fact, it has been shunned by so many I.T. professionals as an inferior product to its predecessor, Windows 7, that many companies are choosing not to upgrade. The problem: Windows 8 has at best, missed the window of sales opportunity or is simply a bad product. It has certainly failed to deliver on the long-promised user experience with features many hoped would make the transition from desktops and tablets an easy, uncomplicated and glitch-free experience. Ask any IT professional what they think about Windows 8 and if this is the case of a bad product.

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Google Glass for a Tweet

Product promotions have risen to a new level with the pending launch of the new video streaming and Internet enabled glasses from Google. According to the company, a limited number of customers will be selected to later purchase the $2500 glasses (for a discounted price of $1,500) when they Tweet about how they would use them or make a post to their Google+ account. A NY Times blog piece describes it here.

Google Glasses
Google Glasses

The “select” few who are chosen to receive glasses before the public launch will certainly have bragging rights. I suppose if you’re one of those people who constantly shares every aspect of your life on Facebook, you can do it now with video and stay connected with a pair of glasses that documents what you see! Hurry, the deadline is February 27th and in your Tweet you should use the hashtag: #ifihadglass

More ideas are found on the Google video here: http://www.google.com/glass/start/how-it-feels/