1497: New Products
This comic points out an apparent paradox in product performance: Many products that are criticized by techies when first announced go on to great success, and many that are heavily hyped are total flops. The product in question may be a reference to the Apple Watch, which was announced around the time of this comic's release.
|If they say...||It means...||Explanation||Example|
|"It doesn't do anything new"||The product will be a gigantic success.||A product that "doesn't do anything new" may still be successful for a variety of reasons. It may in fact do something new that the engineers and programmers are overlooking, or it may simply be a better presentation of an older idea that so far hasn't caught on among the general public. This latter category is the completion of the life-cycle mentioned later in the comic, those products whose "ideas will show up in something successful."||iPod, iPad|
|"Why would anyone want that?"||If engineers and programmers can't figure out why anyone would want a product, it may be because the applications are highly avant-garde or niche (though that could make it hard for the product to be a mass success). Alternatively, engineers and programmers themselves often don't share the tastes and priorities of non-technical people, and are therefore unable to understand and accurately assess the appeal that a product will have to the masses.||Twitter, MacBook Air|
|"Really exciting"||The product will be a flop. Years later, its ideas will show up in something successful.||Products that are "really exciting" to engineers and programmers, so much so that they have already pre-ordered them, may fail to succeed for various reasons, such as:
When a later product is based on the same ideas, but without the mistakes, it will be worth billions. Then the techies will say "it doesn't do anything new".
|"I've already preordered one"||myIDkey|
|"Wait, are you talking about <unfamiliar person's name>'s new project?"||The product could be a scam and may result in arrests or lawsuits.||If a product's developer's name is well-known among engineers and programmers, but not among the general public, that's usually not a good sign. Quite likely, the developer is someone who goes a step further than those in the previous category, not just announcing something cool and exciting they can't follow through on, but doing so knowing that they can't follow through yet still taking people's money. The state may press criminal charges against them (for fraud or such), or the angry investors may sue to get their money back.||Shawn Fanning|
|"I would never put <company> in charge of managing my <whatever>"||Within five years, they will.||If engineers' and programmers' only objection is that they don't like the company behind the product, that's basically a tacit admission that there's nothing else wrong with it. For the average consumer, the perks of a groundbreaking new product outweigh whatever problems they may have with the company behind it. This category also relates to the numerous privacy concerns raised about the devices and software of certain companies, and the way people tend to get riled up about these issues and then forget about them once it becomes too inconvenient. For instance, a few months ago, in the aftermath of Facebook releasing its Messenger app, it would not be uncommon to hear people say "I would never put Facebook in charge of managing my network connectivity/phone calls/camera". However, 6 months later and barely anyone is complaining anymore, and within another year or so even the most hardline of privacy advocates will probably give in.||take your pick|
The title text imagines a product that fits into the second, third and fourth categories:
- "Wait, is that Kim Dotcom's new project?" — third category
- "I'm really excited about it and already signed up." — both options from the second category
- "Although I'm a little nervous about whether everyone should hand over control of their medical..." — fourth category
Kim Dotcom is a controversial entrepreneur and convicted fraud. He changed his surname to "Dotcom" because of the dot-com stock market bubble that made him a millionaire. He fits perfectly into the mold of someone well-known to programmers and engineers (as well as New Zealanders), but perhaps not so much to your average Joe.
Taken together, these imply that an untrustworthy and potentially malicious company has an exciting new idea that may eventually come out in successful form, gains control of a large amount of medical information, but ultimately result in lawsuits not just from investors but from misled consumers (category 3). Because the initial release will be a flop (category 2), there is some time to prepare before the successful use of this idea becomes a reality (also category 2), at which point that or some other company will gain control of a large amount of people's medical something (category 4). Once this happens you could expect dramatic repercussions; this is why the title text suggests to dig a bunker while there is still time.
- Predicting the success or failure of a new product
- based on what engineers and programmers are saying about it
- [A two-column table illustrating this. The headings are actually standing above the table.]
If they say... It means... "It doesn't do anything new" The product will be
a gigantic success.
"Why would anyone want that?" "Really exciting" The product will be a flop.
Years later, its ideas will
show up in something successful.
"I've already preorded one" "Wait, are you talking about
<unfamiliar person's name>'s
The product could be
a scam and may result
in arrests or lawsuits.
"I would never put
<company> in charge of
managing my <whatever>."
Within five years, they will.
- There is a typo in the comic: "preorded" should have been "preordered".
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