Lindsey and I were discussing off-brands last month with our good friends, the Andersens — specifically, what generic imitations we refuse to buy as consumers. Personally, I will never substitute the following products with an inexpensive alternative:
If you haven’t noticed, Apple prints “Designed by Apple in California” on the back every iPod and iPhone it sells, sometimes in a ridiculously tiny font size. Joel on Software tells why:
“These five words evoke a flurry of happy memories… Apple in California is, of course, on the literal level, a computer company, and not a very nice one, but put those words together and you think of apple orchards, and the Beatles, and you think of how Forrest Gump got rich off of Apple stock. And ‘designed in California…’ It’s not made. It’s designed. In California. Like a surfboard. Or a Lockheed XP-80.”
In short, California stands out by being the hippiest of all United States. And unlike its competitors, who outsource both product design and manufacturing overseas, Apple keeps its design rightfully in-house — at all times and at all costs. Continue reading…
I was interviewed by GameDaily for my thoughts on video game reviews today and here’s what I told ’em. For context, video game review scores are perhaps the most influencial consumer product reviews I know. For instance, something like 8/10 best selling games last year were in the 90th percentile, so you can see how important (and political) a good review score can be to a game publisher. My comment:
“As much as I criticize review scores, I still use them to gauge lemon games and think scores should stay. Unless a game receives an average of less than 50%, I will still buy or at least give it a renting chance if it has sufficient appeal. That said, I find any system above a 10-point scale (think decimal points) to be superfluous in that it takes the subjective review process way too seriously. Kudos to GameSpot for recently dropping their 100-point scale down to 20. Now they just need to drop it to a clean 10-point system.”
My ideal product review system already exists in the movie industry. They use a 10-point scale by way of a five star system, such as 4/5 stars, 3.5/5 stars. I like this methodology for two reasons. First, five stars (though a perfect score in its own system), doesn’t hold the same meaning as a perfect 10 score. For some reason, a 10 implies more perfection than 5/5 stars while both metrics tell that something is very, very good. I say the less presumption, the better.
Second, the star system on a 10-point scale doesn’t take the subjective nature of reviews too seriously as noted above. Round up the average review scores, go read Meta Critic to catch any outliers, and you’re well on your way to dodging repellent products.