Here let me read it to you. Best to listen straight off Spotify though, the browser version is buggy.
An ancient, cursed presence comes back to haunt me
New laptop time is always nice. Macs are always pretty easy to set up, just plug in the old backup drive and hit “same on this computer”. It’s always worked before, but not this time.
I opened up Apple Music, and my music library wasn’t there. There was only one thing there. You already know what it is: the cursed 2014 U2 album Songs Of Innocence.
I’ve deleted that bastard half a dozen times, but each time it bounces back like my own personal Terminator movie.
I had to spend half an hour on the phone to Apple support to rescue my music. The lone monochrome presence of U2 just added insult to injury.
It was a mistake back then, an over-reach U2’s Bono owned up to in his recent book. But why is it still there now, nearly ten years later? A record by a band that will appeal only to the 50+ white people demographic. It gives the whole product powerful boomer energy, and must leave other customers scratching their heads.
I’m not here to bag U2’s work. It was worthy back in the day. Their Zoo TV tour remains the best stadium spectacular gig I’ve seen in my life. But even if you are a big U2 fan, I can’t imagine this is an album you care deeply about.
Apple seems oblivious that a free album carries no value in 2023. Now that streaming services, including its own, have made album ownership meaningless.
How have they not had an update meeting at some point this decade to discuss putting it out of its misery?
It’s a sad reminder that Apple once built a brand on music. The transformative magic of the iPod, and those ads with the white headphones jumping around to massive banger tunes. It took Apple from desktop publishing product to a global consumer brand. The evolution of iTunes into Apple Music, a hateful UX bin fire of a product, is evidence nobody there gives a fuck about music any more. Or at least music that’s not attached to TikTok.
Damn that whole campaign was pure brand magic.
We all have these relics
It’s also a reminder that we all have these legacy relics. Ugly goblin ideas and two-headed, six-fingered strategies that seemed legit at the time. They’re still lurking somewhere in our system because we forget they’re there.
They become invisible to you, even though they’re staring you in the face, because you’re just used to them. Yet they’re right in the face of people with fresh eyes. That would be your customers.
Websites and apps are such fertile terrain for mouldy items to live on years past their use-by date.
It’s so easy to add pages and content to your website. Easy as typing. The site evolves and sprawls like a coral reef, menus spawning submenus. Old products, press releases you were “pleased to announce” in 2018, staff who left during the Trump administration, a blog that hasn’t had a new story for years.
We just pruned ours hard, back to eight pages, because we don’t sell product online. People come to our site to see if we’re legit, and our goal is to make sure they’re clear on what makes us different in as few words as possible. Then get them off the site to make an enquiry as fast as possible, rather than bogging them down in endless self-focused material.
I’m not saying yours should be eight pages, but question every page. Is it still current and useful, or is it distracting visitors from what will make them buy?
All these things are invisible to you
I’ve started using the biggest of the regional airlines a lot this year. Their service is nice. Yet you can’t book a flight without doing a bloody CAPTCHA test. Not the current-era, invisible V3 one, it’s the vintage “how many traffic lights can you see?”. Twice.
It makes me wonder about their systems. If this is their approach to site maintenance, what are they doing with the planes?
I’m guessing none of their senior management have booked a flight on their own site in years if ever, so they don’t see a problem. Plus the behind-the-scenes staff booking sites for most airlines look like they’re made with Excel, so they’re used to ugly and clunky.
It’s not just digital. It’s work rules that were put there by some long-gone middle manager to solve a problem that might not exist any more. While making extra work for everyone every day.
All these things are mostly invisible if it’s your business. New staff will often point them out. And in many companies their spirit gets crushed by “that’s not how we do it round here”. So the mould keeps growing.
13 signs your business is getting crusty
I just remembered I wrote another story on this topic four years ago. Old’n’Dirty Syndrome: 13 things to banish from your business. I went back to check, and it had a couple of dead embed links in it, as if to illustrate my point. It’s still worth a read, but if you’re in a hurry, here are some classic signs that your business has garage sale vibes your customers can see.
- Fax number on your business cards
- No mobile website
- Filing cabinets of incoming and outgoing invoices
- Signs with your logo and your web address like people can’t work that out
- Designated parking spaces for management
- Cab vouchers
- Like Us On Facebook! signs
- Account managers send clients email ‘humor’
- Fake plants
- Casual Friday
- Jars of sugary treats on the reception desk
- Payments on Diners Club
A few of these, no big deal. Over five, it’s time for a purge.
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