Anyway, back to Dropbox CEO Drew Houston. A bunch of us are out at dinner. I’m sitting between Kevin Rose and Jay Adelson having their first heart to heart after Jay resigned as CEO of Digg. Kevin ate most of the sushi before it got down to me, and Jay drank all the alcohol before it made its way to me. So I was sitting there hungry and thirsty and listening to some of the best content I’ve heard in a long while…
“content”…I think he meant “industry gossip”…
…and I was thinking if a permanent ban from the conference was worth it if I could just sneakily pull out my video camera and get a clip of Jay telling Kevin what he could go do to himself.
Again…that’s not “content”….
It was so tempting that I walked down to the other end of the table to see what was going on down there. Drew Houston had just gotten up to talk to someone, but he left his iPhone sitting on the table behind him. As a blogger that phone is a goldmine. I could grab it and start reading emails and probably gets ten great stories out of it before he could pry it out of my hands.
Keep this paragraph around as exhibit #1 when Arrington tries to pull the “but I’m a journalist” card. The idea that opening up someone else’s phone is even a thought that crosses his mind tells you a lot.
But overt physical/criminal acts to get information are frowned upon in our industry.
And by the law….just ask Gizmodo.
So instead I just did what anyone would do. I opened his phone (no password!)…
No…you did what any jackass would do…
…calmly set a random password, and put the phone back down and went back to referee the Rose/Adelson “discussion.”
Doesn’t this whole scene remind you of something from a teenage sleepover?
Houston sits down, checks his phone like everyone does. Looks confused because he can’t get past this new password I’ve added. He has that look of panic that says “oh my God I can’t access my own phone, all those emails and voice messages and Twitter replies, etc., until whoever did this undoes it.” He looks straight at me. I look down, not anywhere near him, and he still yells “Arrington you did this! Fix it!”
I have no idea why he just assumed it was me right from the start,….
….because you’re a jackass who actually publishes that fact that you do such things…
…but I was offended.
…well then…fuck you.
So I used the Eddie Murphy It Wasn’t Me defense and denied everything. Luckily someone else jumped in and told him what the password was, leaving Drew in a better mood and me feeling utterly betrayed by my meal mates.
People now know that I do this a lot. Senior execs at AOL are a particularly fun group to add passwords to their phones. And people try to do it back. But one thing I have on my phone is a super awesome passcode, so I’m as safe as can be. Figure out your own trick, suckers.
Serious question. What exactly was the point of this article? Was it just simple name dropping? Did Arrington actually think anyone would think this was an amusing little story?
I just don’t get it.
…and a Dummy.
And finally HP has its day. In July HP couldn’t sell a TouchPad tablet despite having distribution deals with Best Buy and other major retailers. Apple had sucked all the oxygen out of the tablet market. HP offered its inferior product at the same price as the iPad. But consumers weren’t fooled. No one wants a Dodge at a Cadillac price.
But drop that price down to $100 and let people know that they better move quick to get one of the last TouchPads and the perception of scarcity kicks in. The units fly off the shelves. And I argued that HP should keep on making them and fulfilling that demand, even at a small loss per unit.
Which is an incredibly stupid way of running a business.
Today the company made another smart move – they’re going to do another limited run of TouchPads.
No one would describe this move as “smart”, “puzzling” would be a better word for it.
Why? Some people are saying that HP probably has volume commitments and this is cheaper than just not building and selling the units at all. The company certainly may have made volume commitments, but my guess is they could have gotten out of those contracts given how much other business they send the factories. Also, why stoke the PR fire again when the TouchPad embarrassment is almost behind you?
Because HP is the same company that says it’s getting out of the PC business while unveiling a new line of PCs the very same week. This is not a well run company.
The company is already hinting that the TouchPad may live again [editor's note: awesome]. But while they’re figuring that out one way or another, what better way to keep everyone excited than to create just a few more TouchPads (scarcity!) and sell them in “at least a few weeks.” Now everyone is waiting, with breath appropriately bated, for those hard to get new units. The press will try to figure out the date and location when the TouchPads go on sale.
Or start talking about the next iPhone. Guess which will be a bigger story.
Previously unenthusiastic retailers are making anxious calls to try to lock down as many units as they can. I expect Robert Scoble will be waiting out front of Best Buy the day before, along with a few other hard core TouchPad fans.
Well if Scoble wants one then sign me up.
I can sense the giddiness at HP.
“Whee! Look! The bow of the ship is now underwater! Full speed ahead! I’m so giddy! ”
Here’s another interesting data point. TouchPads are going for about $300 on ebay right now. That’s a market clearing price – people who have them need to get rid of them fairly quickly, and they seem to be doing just that at around $300. Which just happens to be about the manufacturing cost of the TouchPad.
Great business model you got there Arrington. I can sit around doing nothing and make as much money as HP will selling TouchPads for the same cost it takes to build them.
So hell yes they’re going to keep making these things. They can dominate the mid market for tablets, the place Android was planning on settling in at after their first prime time push. After Q4 HP will announce another batch of TouchPad’s will be built, just in time for the holidays, to meet more of that pent up consumer demand.
Wanna bet? Or is it more likely they’re simply flushing out existing channels?
Or the PC spinoff of HP will do it. Someone will. Because selling a device at cost and then bringing in the revenue through the app store is a proven and lucrative business model.
The only people making money of selling tablets are Apple. And financial statement after financial statement has shown that Apple basically breaks even on running the App Store. It’s not a money making business.
This is the best marketing money can buy.
And if there’s one thing Arrington knows it’s how to positively market yourself.
HP finally has a hit product and people lining up to buy it.
It’s not a “product”…it’s a liquidation. One more time Mike, they’re not making any profit selling these things.
Honestly….does Arrington think before he publishes this garbage?