Soundview Executive Book Summaries


The App You’ve Known For All These Years

I noticed this piece from PCMag.com that discusses Apple’s attempt to keep up with demand for the iPad and iPhone 4. Apple is blessed with a rare commodity built into its audience; its consumers have patience. While many businesses would love to be in the enviable position of having a backlog of orders, this can occasionally panic successful companies. The traditional theory states that every day a customer waits for an order is an opportunity for a vendor of a similar product to steal him or her away. However, since the iPhone is a much a status symbol as it is a technology tool, people are willing to wait.

But does the innovative company’s modern image as the king of cool equate to being bulletproof? Not necessarily.

I stumbled across a great video yesterday that offers a unique vision of what could happen to Apple. Rex Crum, a technology correspondent for The Wall Street Journal‘s MarketWatch Web site, found a way to tie together two entities that left massive footprints on the cultural landscape: Apple and The Beatles. Crum points out that Apple hasn’t really suffered a setback since it revolutionized music with the introduction of the iPod. He claims The Beatles also enjoyed an uninterrupted string of successes until the late-1967 television film Magical Mystery Tour. Longtime fans of either entity could easily poke holes in this argument, but I prefer to focus on the picture Crum is attempting to paint with his broad, broad brush.

Success, adoration and loyalty, whether in business or music, carry a heavy set of expectations. I think Crum misses a key point about the upside of groundbreaking success. Being a member of the absolute elite also endows those entities with an extra amount of forgiveness on the part of the audience. I don’t necessarily agree with Crum that the initial problems with the iPhone 4 could signal the start of a trend. Apple has a way of making even a bad situation work in its favor.

What’s funny about Crum’s comparison is that he ignores the long-standing feud between his two subjects. You can’t find an original album by The Beatles on iTunes. But guess what you can find? Soundview iPhone apps.Which one is your favorite?



Did You Solve the iPhone Mystery?

This post will certainly require a little audience participation (if you kind folks are up for it). Send me a comment and let me know if you ever noticed this little idiosyncrasy before. In many advertisements for Apple’s iPhone, the time displayed on the phone is 9:42. Sharp-eyed viewers and Apple fanatics have speculated as to the hidden meaning of the clocks always reading 9:42. Is this some sort of code communicated to the masses at the request of Steve Jobs?

According to this article from PC World, the mystery has been solved, and the reason for the repetition of 9:42 in every ad couldn’t be more simple. Marketing, at its core, is the art of making an impression. Sometimes the power of digital suggestion is all that’s required to lend a helping hand to the effort. I’m sure that some people will search for examples where 9:42 isn’t displayed, while others (like the person who responded to the PCW article) will debunk the Apple rep’s explanation.

This isn’t the first instance of consumers speculating over the time displayed in an ad. For example, if I mentioned the time 10:10, would you know where you see it most? For decades consumers have questioned why 10:10 is the time displayed on the face of a watch in any watchmaker’s advertisement. The theories on this are numerous. My personal favorite, which you may have heard before, is that 10:10 is displayed as a tribute to President Abraham Lincoln. People who subscribe to this theory claim that Lincoln died at 10:10 p.m. on April 14, 1865 from the gunshot wound he received from John Wilkes Booth. By various accounts, this is completely inaccurate. Lincoln is believed to have expired at 7:22 the next morning. The most likely reason for 10:10, as far as I’m concerned, is the ability to display the watchmaker’s brand name without obstruction.

One thing about the iPhone that’s certainly not a mystery is the popularity of its applications. Soundview has some great apps for your iPhone, including a FREE “Top Business Summaries” app.



Would You Switch If You Could?

Interesting news for all of you iPhone fans today. I read this article from The Wall Street Journal that reports on AT&T’s preparation to strengthen its network. While not clearly stated, the implication is that the wireless carrier’s efforts are due to a potential revamped iPhone release that would allow the enormously popular device to use rival Verizon’s network. As the article indicates, the new Verizon-friendly iPhone model may not debut by the end of 2010, but the potential shake-up in the wireless carrier community is enough to get AT&T working now.

The companies have been engaged in a clever marketing war for the past several months. Verizon’s “red and blue map” commercials dominate much of prime time television’s ad space. For its part, AT&T has responded with a comparable campaign. The ads feature actor Luke Wilson refuting Verizon’s claims as well as showing the strength of AT&T’s ability to run multiple applications at the same time.The contrasting ads offer a great study for marketing executives looking for positive ways of answering the criticism of a competitor.

Whether or not the release of the new iPhone model will cause thousands of subscribers to switch networks will be an interesting situation to observe. In the meantime, current iPhone users can check out Soundview’s iPhone applications by clicking this link. We’re offering some great collections of “can’t miss” summaries!



Answers About Our Product and the iPhone

We’ve gotten a few e-mails in response to our iPhone apps. The feedback has been very positive to this point, and we’re very pleased that everyone is enjoying the apps. The one question that we receive more than any other, however, is, “When can I get a subscription to Soundview on the iPhone?”

The iPhone and its applications, as you’re aware, are constantly evolving. While we’re not at the point yet where we can offer our subscription product in this way, we’re researching it. It’s always our objective to deliver our summaries in the ways in which our subscribers want to read them. Sticking with one format for presenting one’s product is generally a means to a quick exit from the business world. You have to know when to move ahead and when to leave things in the past. Look at Kodak who announced today that they’re retiring their world-famous Kodachrome film after 74 years.

Fear not, iPhone fans. Keep your eyes on this blog and you’ll be the first to know when Soundview offers a subscription via the iPhone.



The Apple of Our “i”

OK, raise your hand if the highlight of your week will be the release of the next version of the iPhone? I have to admit, for all of my forays into blogging, mp3s and online commerce, I’m a little behind the times when it comes to phones. My kids love nothing more than to poke fun at my heavy-handed attempts at text messaging. Feel free to raise your hand if this has happened to you as well. I’m just looking for a little sympathy.

The point is that Apple is on the verge of vaulting yet again to the front pages of news Web sites everywhere. This will no doubt have ramifications for us at Soundview. How? As you can imagine, to arrive at the 30 best business books each year, we look at thousands of submissions. I do not exaggerate. The post office and various private couriers know our address by heart. From these piles of books, we whittle our way down to the top 30. When it comes to books that deal with marketing , leadership and change management, Apple is frequently the top case study mentioned in these volumes. The company’s ability to reinvent itself from what many considered a secondary computer producer to a cutting-edge purveyor of revolutionary technology is nothing short of astonishing. So, I fully anticipate that Apple launching yet another version of the product that many felt would never fly (“Apple? In the phone business?”) will lead to more books landing on our desks. The more success Apple generates for itself, the more business authors and analysts try to dissect its methods for purposes of reproduction.

Oh, and for those of you who originally raised your hands about the iPhone release, did I mention that Soundview is offering a FREE iPhone app right now? Click on this link and take advantage of this limited-time offer while you can!



A Bowl Full of Trouble

Imagine my surprise when I saw headlines like this one while trying to eat breakfast today. I’ll give you one guess as to what yellow box of cereal was sitting in front of me, as it has nearly every weekday for the past decade or more.

General Mills has its share of explaining to do in the wake of the challenge by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA has taken umbrage with the food company’s claim that Cheerios can lower cholestrol. The regulator says this sort of statement,which appears to suggest that a cereal can prevent heart disease, is reserved for FDA-approved drugs.

Semantics aside, this incident proves that companies are forced to walk an ever-finer line in the promotion of their products. In times of heavy competiton, even corporate giants such as General Mills are willing to take risks to ensure that a smaller company’s product doesn’t overtake their place at the breakfast table. While regional treats remain one of the great parts of American grocery shopping, there is increased awareness of products that previously stayed local. This means that even a small food manufacturer can have a “stretch plan” of one day appearing on supermarket shelves across the country. No wonder General Mills is willing to vaguely claim its product can prevent heart disease. The anxiety caused by the competition is enough to give it a heart attack!

Sounds to me like the good folks at General Mills could do with our Business Survival Skills iPhone app. This app, one of three new apps to debut recently, includes three great summaries that are designed to help you get up and keep fighting while others are down for the count. At only $9.99, it’s a download that’s as affordable as it is informative.



In Search of the Applicable Application

I confess that I occasionally drag my feet when it comes to adopting new technology. Between GPS systems, Web 2.0, and my cell phone, I’m wired and traceable to the point where even I wonder if Big Brother is bored with me. Still, it’s hard to deny the overwhelming appeal of certain devices.

There are a large number of people who would put their iPhones at the top of the list of devices they can’t live without. Hopefully, we’ve just added three more reasons to keep it at the top of your list.

I mentioned earlier this week about our Entrepreneurship application. If one application is good, how does a total of three new apps sound?

In addition to the Entrepreneurship app, Soundview is also debuting Survival Skills Vol. I, as well as Innovation Vol. I. Each app features three crucial titles that will help you with the app’s specific subject.

These three apps are the latest in a growing collection of Soundview iPhone apps. Click here to see the complete list!

The convenience of having these apps at my fingertips is something that I underestimated. It makes me glad that I got on board with this technology more quickly than my usual pace. Now if only I could force myself to upgrade my DVD player to a “ray” of a certain shade (For trademark reasons, I’ll let you figure out the obvious).