Thursday, November 09, 2006

So elegantly stated and so true.

Violating the Rules of Cool

" Remember the three rules of cool, as documented by Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker almost a decade ago. First: The act of discovering cool causes cool to move on. If you accept that the iPod is still cool, as many still do, then the Zune can't help but seem an arriviste, an interloper, poseur product encroaching on well-defined "cool" territory. When the uncool discover a cool place, the cool take their business elsewhere. Microsoft's a little light on the cool bona fides, despite the Xbox 360.

The Zune will seem a not-pod, proving the second rule of cool: It cannot be manufactured, only observed, and then by those who are themselves cool. An iPod is a requisite accoutrement of cool. This is the result of a carefully constructed mar
keting effort on Apple's part. Any attempt that Microsoft makes to market the Zune will fall short of the high bar set by Apple, which has an almost natural sense for turning its ads into entertainment. Describe for me three Apple TV ads you remember from the last two years. Now, try to describe for me three Microsoft ads. Bet you can't. That's the Apple marketing machine at work.

Finally, there's the third rule of cool: You have to be cool to know cool. And since when is Microsoft cool? The iPod was cool from birth. The Zune will be seen for what it is: a me-too product that is expressing Microsoft's envy at not being cool. It will carve out its own niche of the market, but by this time next year, it will be considered a dismal failure. "