Five Pints 090212

Aside

In a transport system which, while being cheap and reasonably convenient, is hardly good value, it’s probably no surprise that investment in enforcement appears to be higher on the agenda than investment in easy access to ways of paying fares. That City Rail Transit Police are glorified ticket inspectors dressed up as paramilitary police and have been known for overplaying their hand more than once doesn’t help my attitude toward them.

I won’t be sorry to see them go, but I hope the dollars which have been wasted on them are used to create a more convenient transport system for people in Sydney. How many integrated ticket systems would $34 million a year build and maintain? Instead I imagine those savings will be recouped by a State government whose promises are a year in the making with no solutions yet on the horizon.

Mind you City Rail are not alone in the idea of building services to cover the exceptions rather than the rule. It’s not a bad idea to aim for great customer experiences for your users. But I’m firmly of the belief you should focus your investments on making services easy to access, use and pay for rather than spending your money on prevention, retention and convention.

Every system will have a small percentage of so-called corner cases. While you want to make the customer experience of those events as pleasant as you can possibly make them, the last thing you want to be doing is spending unecessary amounts of time and money building complex systems to deal with them. Often a good dose of common sense is all that is required, but the fear of losing the customer appears to blind good investment logic and instead funds are diverted to build expensive systems to manage those case. And this has to be to the detriment of the majority of your users from whom you might derive a greater benefit by retaining them with better products and services.

Speaking of good customer experiences, it seems Path finally either understood what they did wrong or were pushed to do the right thing. I suspect the latter reading between the lines of their mealy mouthed apology.

As with other peoples money, other peoples privacy are things you never make mistakes with. One day a Social Network will come along which gets that without first taking advantage of their users. That other apps on the iPhone also access contacts data without advising users is also concerning. But just because the pecan pie is cooling on the windowsill, doesn’t mean you should take it.

Either way, expect Apple to soon issue an update to iOS restricting access to the address book. Is it an error on their behalf they allow such unfettered access now? Possibly. Does it show that some bright young things can’t be trusted with the family car? Absolutely.

One of my friends sites has a ranking for the best smartphones around. It was a surprise to find the worlds most popular smartphone only coming in third. Though it was probably not unexpected considering one of the key decision points was the size of the screen – as opposed to far more valuable metrics like screen quality, usability and battery life.

Anyway, just like with BetaMax, it looks like despite being only third best, the modern day VHS of the iPhone is winning. Not just on sales, but on revenue, and value retention. Why are consumers always wrong, don’t they know this is the future of the Smartphone?

On an upbeat note to finish, today saw the launch of the fabulous new version of my favourite twitter application. As with any great application, Tweetbot kept it’s core functionality and added some little tweaks which make such a big difference to the experience. And it’s on the iPad now too. Such a disgrace though that we have to spend all that extra cash to get the same app on another platform though.