Is a business model outside of the apple eco-system (or similar) simply wishful thinking or is there something to the reality distortion field becoming the norm?
My oldest son lost a tooth yesterday and called me with all the eagerness that a seven year old could muster about the event. Rooster, my name for him - no not his given name, was excited as this is a milestone, to him, toward teenage hood that others in his class were experiencing with more regularity. He was revved up like a rockabilly front-man in new town about getting a golden dollar from the tooth fairy. Gonzo, my youngest at five, expressed concern about the fact that an unknown and nocturnal creature would be in their shared room while he was asleep and unaware.
“How does the tooth fairy get into the house and put the money under the pillow” - Gonzo asked.
“Magic silly” answered Rooster.
“But magic isn’t real” retorted Gonzo
“If magic is not real then the tooth fairy can’t be real, mommy?... is the Easter bunny magical?” asked Gonzo.
Photo Credit David Sifry via EveryStockPhoto
Now here is the quandary. While some would simply gloss over the question with a ‘yes dear’ they use good magic’; I have never been fond of what I call magical thinking, of retelling the tales and lying to my kids about what I know is a fallacy that will either lend them to believe anything can be true or reject everything. To be honest, my sons would not allow such a glib off putting. Once my oldest came into an understanding of Christmas I wanted to de-stress telling him that Santa Claus was the deliverer of gifts, as you can expect I lost this ‘discussion’ with my wife as soon as she stated “don’t you dare”. If you are married you understand. I realize that this makes me sound like the kind of person who reads Charles Bukowski while Joy Division plays in the background but the reality is quite kinder than that. Still I do refer to ‘the Santa Character’ when I speak of him, but I do not overtly correct my kids. So it came as no surprise that my youngest would try to rationalize his fear by deconstructing what was causing him concern and that my oldest would try to accept it, despite himself, because there was the immediacy of money to be had if it were true.
This episode started me thinking. Is the AV industry facing a challenge to its fundamental way of creating installations and some of us are ignoring the fact that the bubble has burst because we still see money in the myth? We know the playing field is changing but by how much and are we truly on the cusp of the great change? Apple has taken the ecosystem model and made it both box store consumer friendly and powerful enough to satisfy all but the most finicky media-philes. Are we currently only mopping up the last of the ‘legacy’ installs while deluding ourselves that the tooth fairy will provide?
It has been suggested that we are currently in a hybrid moment which will shake out the industry into a more streamlined and unified methodology - just look at how every manufacturer MUST have an iPad app or be relegated to the out-lands. If we are indeed seeing this happen I feel that historians will note it as the Brundlefly period. Change is afoot but a hardwired and dedicated (and yes , proprietary) system has a place in the market, a shrinking market to be sure but one whose rock bottom is not zero. There is value in the model, with some modifications. Installations who need guaranteed reliability, durability and consistent operation require the standard model to insure it will not be filled with service calls and un-billable revisions.
Joseph Campbell - the great writer on myth and meaning- made a strong argument that myth may have been elbowed out of our day to day conscience by science but its value is strongest when we are facing the ultimate mysteries to stir a sense of awe, humility and respect for what we do not yet know.
The morning after the great tooth fairy debate, I had the following conversation with my boys while driving to school:
Gonzo - “Dadu,is magic real? “
Me- “ No,not the way you are asking”
Rooster-” Does that mean the tooth fairy is not real?”
Me - “What do you think?”
Gonzo - “Will I get a dollar when I lose a tooth”
Me - “Yes”
Rooster- “I’m not sure I want to know the answer today”
Update: November 28th.
Mark Coxon has a great retort to my post on his fantastic blog AV Phenom- Read it here