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But they aren't geniuses, are they?

© June 2008 Anthony Lawrence

I suppose the folks who work at Apple's so called Genius Bars are nice people, reasonably familiar with tech stuff related to Apple products. I suppose a few of them really might qualify for genius status, either overall or just in regard to Apple knowledge. I would hope that most of them are embarrassed by this marketing nonsense.

Apple's not the only one to engage in this silliness. I was talking to a Kerio customer who was having a problem with mail being rejected by a well known national financial firm. I had him test from the command line and they rejected him before he could even type a "HELO", so obviously he's on some blacklist they are using. Could they tell him which blacklist? Why no, but he did tell me that their "on hold" announcement was interesting: "All our geniuses are currently busy.."

I call BS.

Again, they may have some legitimate geniuses but it's insulting to your customers and to the few really sharp people you may employ to pretend that all your tech people are wizards. What happens when the "geniuses" can't help? Do they call the "gods"?

What's wrong with "tech people", "support staff", "help desk"?

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Thu Jun 5 16:10:43 2008: 4306   RichardChapman

I have a theory about intelligence. We are all equal in our net intelligence. If someone is very smart in one area, his intelligence is depreciated in others. This may explain why the otherwise and presumably intelligent people at Apple could act in the manner of a social savant.

There is another possibility though. Steve Jobs has managed to create gadgets that are must-have items for consumers. He has done this time after time. Apple's products have been described as chic, hip and well made. But the hip and chic attributes imply exclusivity. Apple's products are not intended for schmoes. That translates into a level of disdain for the masses.

If the Kerio customer's experience ever blazes a path across the Internet, we can expect excuses from Apple. We will, however, never hear what they really think of their potential customers.

Thu Jun 5 17:22:26 2008: 4307   BigDumbDinosaur

We are all equal in our net intelligence. If someone is very smart in one area, his intelligence is depreciated in others.

I'd have to disagree on that point. Innate (net) intelligence has been shown to significantly vary from individual to individual, often within the same immediate family (my own family is a good example: it's not for nothing that I'm known as the BigDumbDinosaur). I believe you may be making the error of confusing intelligence with knowledge. Possession of the former is necessary in order to acquire, retain and use the latter. However, being intelligent in itself doesn't assure that an individual will actually become knowledgeable in any subject, let alone achieve expert level. If that were true, our public school system would be turning out an endless stream of well-educated graduates capable of doing something useful other than punching keys on their cell phones. <Grin>

There is no scientific evidence of which I'm aware that would suggest that a high degree of expertise in a particular subject automatically limits an individual's ability to develop expertise in another, unrelated matter. In fact, it is generally accepted that the brain's ability to store and process information is extensible, and that persistent use of one's intellect will tend to increase the capacity for retention and use of knowledge. Our minds are not like hard drives, where a fixed capacity is built in and cannot be expanded.

A case in point is (was) Dr. Albert Schweitzer, who exhibited an astonishing range of knowledge in many areas. He was a medical doctor, theologian, philosopher, virtuoso organist (his recordings at All Hallows, Barking-by-the-Tower church in the UK stand as some of the greatest ever made) and learned musicologist (his J. S. Bach: Le Musicien-Počte essay on the great composer, written in 1905 when Schweitzer was 30, was seminal, and widely read and discussed in the musical community of the day). Clearly, Schweitzer's ability to exploit his intelligence wasn't limited in one area because of his extensive knowledge of another.

Apple's products are not intended for schmoes. That translates into a level of disdain for the masses.

This attitude is hardly new. When the Commodore 64 came on the scene in December 1982, Jobs, Wozniak and company looked down their collective noses at the "breadbox," apparently failing to notice its advanced (for the time) capabilities. This prompted Jack Tramiel, then CEO of Commodore, to opine that Apple made computers for the classes but Commodore made them for the masses. The rest, of course, is history. The ][e, ][c and early Macs went on to achieve modest success by being sold to the techno-snobs of the day. In contrast, the C-64 went on to become the best-selling computer model of all time.

Thu Jun 5 17:56:06 2008: 4310   TonyLawrence

Actually, we're even starting to know what genes help intelligence and are pretty sure about how early experiences train synapses (or not).

We aren't all equal. Health, adequate diet and good parenting DO help equal things out, but there will always be "smarter" people.

As to Apple looking down its nose.. well, there's a reason for that :-)

Thu Jun 5 18:00:41 2008: 4311   BigDumbDinosaur

As to Apple looking down its nose.. well, there's a reason for that :-)

I've often said if technical excellence was the sole criterion for purchasing computer products, we'd all be running Linux on Macs (the Macs with RISC MPUs, that is, not the Intel junk).

Thu Jun 5 18:06:17 2008: 4313   TonyLawrence

Hey, my Intel Junk MBP resembles your remark!

Fri Jun 6 15:34:30 2008: 4318   JonR

Apart from making companies look silly, the misuse of words like "genius" is an affront to customers who may just happen to care about language. Trivialization of terms with loaded meanings is a common and lamentable practice. The instance that really makes me grit my teeth is the use, particularly in news stories, of the word "tragedy" for anything from a minor house fire to a celebrity divorce. Even if you're willing to forsake the classical meaning of tragedy for the more common historical usage, I'd estimate that fully 90% of the "tragedies" reported in the news are nothing of the sort. They are misfortunes, accidents, sometimes calamities -- but not tragedies.

When Apple runs out of geniuses and has to employ gods, they'll no doubt be sweating. When they run out of gods -- well, I guess it will be a tragedy.

Sat Jun 7 22:38:57 2008: 4324   BigDumbDinosaur

Did I mention how I went to the gas station the other day? That was a real tragedy. <Grin>


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