Second Guessing Knock Offs

In the past, I’ve talked about buying knockoff watches and other ‘almost’ things on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. You may decide for yourself whether my purchases have been good or not.

I really didn’t think there was harm in what I was doing. I wasn’t going to buy the high end, name brand, real deal anyway. I find it tough to believe anyone’s buying the Roleckcs and eschewing the Rolex. They certainly never lost a sale from me.

In the past I heard shadow stories about how buying knockoffs support al-Qaeda. Seriously, is there a story with less credence?

Here’s the part of the equation I never thought about. Knockoffs aren’t limited to designer clothes and accessories. There are knockoff drugs and auto parts being made. These knockoffs replace items that provide ‘mission critical’ functions.

My watches come from China (though the case may say otherwise). So did the knockoff Colgate toothpaste, with poisonous additive. Did one beget the other?

If my $30 watch fails, who cares? It’s different if it’s my Lipitor or airplane engine component.

We have become very dependent on the Chinese to make stuff for us. They do, on the cheap. But we’re also buying into their way of doing business, which doesn’t seem to have the same respect for intellectual property as we’re used to. On top of that, there is little regard for the manufacturing employees&#185, much less the consumers at the end of the trail.

Corners are cut. Ingredients aren’t what they seem. The controls we expect aren’t in place. Does anyone police it?

I don’t want to think my purchases encouraged this… but maybe they did

It’s troubling. I’ll admit it.

&#185 – A nameless friend, in China to produce some news stories, visited a plant where workers were plating metal, dipping it, along with their unprotected hands and arms, into a mysterious chemical solution. As toothless as EPA and OSHA are, I can’t imaging that happening here.

Stupid Button

I just left my friend Bob voice mail. I knew what I wanted to say, but added something toward the end and went off on a tangent. Can I get a do-over?

Both voice mail and email call out for the ability to reel in what you’ve just done.

Email, specifically is very bad at conveying nuance – so a clever turn of phrase can be perceived as the equivalent of dropping the f-bomb. I try and avoid it, but I get emails from others that convey more emotion than the sender thinks he’s included, all the time.

So, if you’re the designer of the next generation of voice mail or email, include that do-over button – would you?

Sometimes You Just Get Lucky

I’ve been working with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for well over a decade. I’ve mentioned it here before. I am lucky enough to have the ability to give away my bosses TV station for charity – and I do.

A few months ago, one of the people I work with, Chris Kirby, also decided to get involved with JDRF. I’m not sure why he did it, just as I’m not sure what drew me to them. It happens.

Chris called the local chapter director and made an offer. He wanted to put together a video. Chris is the perfect person to do this. He’s our art director at the TV station.

He once told me he couldn’t draw. Maybe he can’t. Truth is, he’s an unbelievably talented designer totally at home with the digitization of art.

You’ll see. This is leading to an example.

The day of the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes, Chris was there with his home video camera. After the walk, his wife Patty wrote a script, I voiced the track, and Chris created a presentation that will help JDRF get out the word and raise more money.

Virtually everything in the video was created by Chris. It’s an astounding undertaking. It runs 6:30 and you can see it by clicking here.

I am honored he allowed me to voice it.

From the Airplane

I’m writing this while flying just east of the North Carolina coast at 30,998 feet. I know that because I’m on Song, Delta’s airline within an airline.

Song is supposed to be an airline that can compete with the discount independents like Southwest and JetBlue. My round trip fare to Florida, $116.70&#185 is certainly a bargain.

The plane itself is a pretty pedestrian Boeing 757. It is configured as a one class with 3+3 seating. The color scheme is blue and a muted light green. The flight attendants wear designer outfits from Kate Spade (or possibly her husband, I can’t remember).

The pre-flight briefing was done by a recorded voice. She was over the top sultry with an over the top script to read. I presume it’s part of Song’s positioning.

On the back of each seat is an LCD touch screen. Once the plane is in the air, the screen controls individual channels of entertainment (movies, live satellite TV, music, a trivia game or flight tracking).

I like the idea of live TV while flying. It works pretty well, though not perfectly. As we were taking off and the plane made some turns, we lost the signal. Every time an announcement is made or someone hits a call button, the TV audio stops.

People hit the call button more often than you’d think!

I like the idea of a TV, but the flight’s half over and I’m not watching. I’m playing the music trivia game – fighting it out with whoever’s in 15F.

The monitor itself is wider than a normal TV. The broadcasts that are seen are stretched to fit, so everyone looks a little heavier… a little dumpier. As someone who is on TV, this bothers me. It probably won’t bother you as much.

If my two checked bags are out on time, I’ll consider Song a success.

&#185 – the $116.70 fare includes $25.54 in tax leaving $91.16 for the airline.