We’ve all been there, trying to work with 21st-century technology with some blockhead Silicon Valley company. We’ve been told that all these Silicon Valley companies are filled with young wizkids. But nevertheless, these companies are big, very big. Like any big organization, the left-hand never knows what the right hand is doing. And they’re basically monopolies, so going to a more efficient small company very often is not an option. So I’m going to illustrate a couple of personal gripes with Facebook and Apple. It is often emblematic to the way these companies are run; hubris, slow when it comes to user needs, little support, opaque, and all-around dumbfuckery.
Facebook with 2.41 billion monthly active users as of 2019, I must be the only user with a login problem. So what happened? I had a Facebook account for over 10 years now. I have largely not used it in the last 5 to 7 years, but I thought I would login just to see what I’ve been missing – probably not much. I know my email ID, but I have forgotten my password – a simple request to reset the password should take care of this right? Sure enough, I reset the password and get a code to confirm my identity, and I enter this to go into a pseudo login state.
I’ve created a Facebook security alert – oh no! I have been asked to do further security checks. They know I exist because they present me with five past friends that I have had on Facebook, 5 years ago. I am supposed to contact three of these five to give them to login to do a recovery code process – wow! Of course, I have lost contact with these friends and have no way of contacting them to do this. They say there is an alternative recovery process but when you click the button you go back to this same process. You cannot delete this account and start a new, as this email ID that I have used, is already known by another user, myself. There is online help, even a telephone number (only recorded messages), but it gives you no help – just try the same process that I already have tried. There is no way to contact Facebook directly by the public. Facebook’s dumbfuckery.
Apple’s iPhone technology in its prime was truly remarkable. I have had three different iPhones – my last one was an iPhone 6S, it was the only smartphone that I had owned until recently. Two big features that I like to use on a smartphone are; 1) the on-off button and 2) the telephone feature – you remember, making a simple voice call. It seems that these two features have been overlooked by the engineering wizkids at Apple.
I know perhaps I just did not have it configured correctly, but you would think out of the box that it would not be constantly “butt dialing” various contacts in my contact list – such an annoying event. Is this such a difficult thing to work out on the user interface? But the kicker for me was that the iPhone just simply did not seem to be able to make voice calls correctly. I would always have to stick my head out the window in order to get any good network reception. In addition, at maximum volume, it was always difficult to hear. This happened on all three of my iPhones. I presumed that this was the way smartphones worked, and it was just me.
But I got suspicious. I recently purchased a small prepaid cheap phone just to have a second number. The reception and sound quality was fantastic (same network as my iPhone). How could this be? I was due for a smartphone upgrade, so I took the plunge and went Android with some x-y-z Chinese maker. It was the best decision I’ve ever made (concerning smartphones), I can actually make phone calls, to the “right people” (no butt dialing) now. Is it no wonder that iPhone sales suffered its worst quarterly decline for three years over last year’s holiday period? Apple’s dumbfuckery.
Yes, these are just anecdotal experiences, but for News Forecasters, is this telling us something about the future of Silicon Valley? I suspect it is, but hardly anything new. Many of these Silicon Valley companies, though monopolies today, may suffer the same fate as Digital, Xerox, Kodak, and Polaroid – and to some degree Microsoft already has. Companies overtime just simply lose their innovative edge, and once the political technocrats come in to manage, companies begin their decline. Expect the Silicon Valley landscape to change significantly over the next 10 years.
A video presentation of this subject: