Tech is the new status indicator.

According to TechCrunch “Tech is the new status indicator. What laptop you carry, what phone you own, what smartwatch you wear is as reliable a signal of your status and position as dirty dungarees and a hobo bindle were during the Great Depression.”

If this isn’t a sign of “nerd” being cool and mainstream, I don’t know what is.

 

How eBay is trying to fuck me

After 14 years as a loyal eBay fan, buyer, and seller, I’m pretty surprised at badly they’re trying to fuck me. So much for company loyalty. And once again, I’m reminded of how little companies understand about Customer Lifetime Value. Or how customer service is really marketing function (especially these days).

Here’s the story.

When I upgraded my phone I sold my iPhone 4S on eBay. People in foreign countries pay a lot for these old phones so they can jailbreak them and re-sell them. I’ve done this with every old phone I’ve ever had, and even sold phones for friends and relatives. Never had a problem.

So I sell the phone. The buyer pays for the cheapest shipping, USPS First Class International. No tracking. No delivery confirmation. Nothing. Apparently she’s a gambler.

Fast forward a month and she files a complaint with eBay saying the phone never arrived. eBay immediately sides with her, saying that since there is no tracking, she must be telling the truth. So they refund her money and send me the bill.

She has a 4 month, 4 purchase track record. I have a 14 year, unblemished track record with multiple dozens of positive comments in feedback. But they side with her.

I have receipts showing I shipped it, showing the customs declaration numbers, date of shipment, payment. But they side with her.

Now after several phone calls, emails, and lots of time spent on hold, they’re still telling me I have to pay them for the money they reimbursed her.

Well, good fucking luck with that.

First it was about the money, but now it’s about a principle. And when it comes to principle, I am a stubborn, stubborn man.

So you can get your $327 dollars eBay. When you pry it from my cold. dead. hands.

heston

Where is the awesomeness?

Later today we will see the newest iPhone. We may see a new iPad Mini (although TechCrunch thinks we won’t). So why am I not more fired up? Following along with the liveblogs on Engadget or Gizmodo used to be one of my favorite ways to procrastinate at work. I used to tweet about everything they would say as it came out.

Maybe it’s because I know I won’t be getting the new phone (not up for an upgrade this round). Or maybe it’s because I know that no matter what they reveal tomorrow, it won’t be that much better than what I have right now. A slightly bigger screen? Cool, but not a game changer. LTE? faster would be nice, but not blowing my hair back. A better camera? A sharper screen? New dock connector? Please.

These are evolutions not revolutions.

A few years ago it felt like everything was getting awesomer every day. New apps were literally changing the way we live, new devices were radically blowing away their predecessor, and new websites were creating new forms of entertainment.

But now? Now everything feels very blah. Read TechCrunch and you see headline after headline about some new mobile CRM platform or yet another app to modify your photos. You see newer, sometimes better, versions of things we already have. Facebook is boring (although maybe that’s a reflection of my and my friends’ life stage).

Where is the awesomeness?

The digital toys and tech that used to get me so fired up has become a part of my everyday life and now I need more. It’s like a drug. I need another Uber. I need another Hulu. I need another first generation iPhone.

And yet, I don’t need “another” anything. I need a NEW. I need something I can’t even imagine.

Has the pace of innovation slowed? Have we mastered everything there is to master? Every so often someone comes out with a stupid prediction like that and quickly proved wrong. In the past, the technology itself was rapidly changing as we moved from analog to digital. But as digital technology evolved the revolutionary-ness of it slowed. Today’s computers aren’t that different from the first Macintosh. They’re faster, more powerful, have WAY more features. But if you brought someone from 1984 to 2012 and showed them a computer they could probably identify it. I doubt the same would hold true from the average person from 1964.

So what do we have to look forward to? What are you looking forward to most?

CES: Day 1

Wow. All I can say is that CES is one of the coolest, most over-stimulating experiences I’ve ever had. Everywhere you look there are flashing screens, blinking lights, 3D displays, glossy, shiny, connected objects. I only made it through about 1.5 of the conference floors yesterday, so I have plenty more to explore today. I spent the first part of the day exploring the North Hall, which was mostly tech accessories, like iPhone cases, iPad screens, docks, speakers, etc. But they also had tons of gadgets like Zeo Sleep Manager and FitBit.

When I get back to Boston I’ll put together a real presentation about my experience here, but for now, I wanted to share a few pics. There will also be a movie, mostly starring me, and directed by the amazingly talented Matt Lindley.

Here’s what I loved yesterday (in no particular order):

smoking

While I don't believe that e-cigarettes are a good or safe alternative to smoking, the design of this device was pretty cool.

The great Zoltar

I wished to be big. I'll let you know if I turn into Tom Hanks tomorrow AM.

Sphero

Sphero is a remote control ball. I'm not kidding. It's going to be bigger than Google.

Solowheel

Solowheel is like a uni-Segway. It's awesome.

Samsung display

The centerpiece of the Samsung area was gorgeous. This picture doesn't do it justice.

Recon Instrument Goggles

Recon Instrument MOD Live Goggles with heads-up display and bluetooth. The coolest thing I saw at CES today.

Ferrari

Not sure which model this is. And pretty sure I don't care. It was GORGEOUS.

Escort Radar/Laser Detector's cloud service offering

The power of community at work. The first car to get hit with the laser reports to the cloud, cars behind get an update that a laser is active ahead. Genius. Assuming enough people have them.

Ian Cohen of Weber Shandwick

Got to see Ian do his thing.

United Healthcare Pedometer day 1

United Healthcare gave out pedometers. I didn't get mine until around 11am, but after that I walked about two miles today. Not too shabby.

More to come tomorrow…

Update: Here are my favorites from CES Day 2 and Day 3 (and if you prefer video format, click here)

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