About the Author:

With a career that has spanned advertising, production, technical services, and project management, Michael is able to articulate the wide range skills and professions that make the Internet work. This eclectic understanding and his desire to shine the light on those hiding behind techno babble has brought success to a wide range of projects.

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Past Postings:

Using Dissent To Enhance Your Social Influence Online

Industry Profile - Author

Industry Profiles Full Time Employees - Professional Writer

Some Thoughts On Freelancing

Building Your Online Brand

Marissa Mayer and the Change in Yahoo's Remote Workforce

LinkedIn for Professional Writers

Fake Republican Twitter Accounts

"Did you mean?" -- Google's chiding nanny of search results

Branded Technology

Sharingspree.com -- Stealing more than GroupOn's Idea

The Internet Isn't Entertaining Enough

It's not your bank... It's Apple's and Amazon's

Violated by Madison Avenue

Google+ Scares Me

"We need to..." Internet Marketing Myths

Facebook's deal with the Devil

My cool new phone is a little too cool.

You are never alone

Promotion vs. Distribution... You'd think they'd know that one...

Publishing Industry Watch

Content for Social Media

Social Media Slot Machine

Anonymous vs Me

News from the Twitter Follow Campaign Trail

The art of Indiscriminate Twitter Following

The Cloudy Meaning of The Cloud

The Demand For The Loss of Creativity

Alien Technology and Government Conspiracies

Time for a New Reality

The Death of Email

Protecting Free Speech... Anonymously (and geekily)

Amazon Shouldn't Have Shut Down WikiLeaks

The Superpowers of the Hive Mind

Time for New Ideas

Comcast, Netflix and the Mystery of the Modem

The Great Technical Disconnect

New for the Sake of New

A Retail Store Built Like the Web

Disposable Personas

When did Google Start Policing the Internet?

Getting back to HTML basics, thanks to Apple

Inspecting my Navel Base

A shoebox vs. an online backup

Is Your "Resume" Website Recruiter-friendly?

iBooks -- Creative Epicenter or Gatekeeper?

The Failure of Success

The Economy is Going to Get Worse, but that's okay

Time lost on Twitter

Client Vendor Relationships

Twitter's back alleys and dark places

Social Media is NOT Advertising

Microsoft Courier

Form (designers) versus Function (geeks)

PDXBOOM -- The power of social media and the portland pipe bomb

China and Apple -- Different organizations, same management

The volume of screens


Google Adds Biking Directions to Maps


That magical little tablet

How your website can be in two places at once

Masterpieces created by sheer volume

Suing over lack of originality

A Primer on Internet Fame -- dancing babies, hamsters, numa numa, and more...

Checking my messages

Rules are made to be broken -- in a reasoned, systematic way

So many accounts, so few passwords

Who really uses Twitter? 60% of Twitter's traffic isn't on Twitter

The Web is a Jerry Rigged Kludge

Twitter: Asleep at the Mouse Wheel

Where regulation is good: Google Voice and Vonage

How Facebook is (unintentionally) forcing programmers to piss off users

The Twit Cleaner

Perfect Secretary's pitch for @Adbroad (and the Youtube API)

The Emotions of Text

The Shorty Awards Scandal -- Manual Spam is still Spam

Google Analytics, the cloud and missing numbers #fail

Helen Klein Ross & Michael Bissell Interview at Adweek's Social Media Strategies Conference

The Internet is the New 60's

Cougars from New Zealand (and I don't mean big cats)

Adding facts together, or why you can't charge your cell phone from wifi

Social Media and the Destruction of the World

Rabid Fans vs Passive Viewers -- The Coco vs Leno saga

How to tell someone to retweet (without using up your 140 characters)

You can't buy social media

A book unopened is but a block of paper

Building the LOST: The Final Season Sweepstakes

Holiday SPAM (or the lack thereof)

Archiving Twitter

Too Many Toolbars

Random Censorship with Google Adwords

Accessibility and Shopping Online

Twisted path to customer service

Flash: Shiny objects blinding your audience

Twollow and other gold rush scripts

GPS in a Laptop computer

Thinking outside the box... There was a box?

Twitter was designed for Text Messaging

It's not the corporations, damnit

Entrepreneur or Dreamer?

Adweek Social Media Twitter for Brands Presentation

Socializing is more than Social Media

Generational Marketing is a Myth (or Who's your Daddy?)

Social Media is Just the Way We Use the Internet

Twitter Followers Don't Matter (ask the porn sites)

The Internet is Gooder than Books

Sometimes you don't want your campaign to go viral

Best Twitter Branding Campaign

Like flies to crap, Spammy Twitter Followers don't really go away

iPhone SMS Security Hole

How Flipmytweet works

Cell Phones as Microscopes

Digg is not the Hijacker -- You Are

Steve Ballmer -- the walking dead?

Twitter as an open mic poetry reading

Automatic Social [un]Awareness

New York, New York

First splash for United Against Malaria

New Media/Old Media and the CLIO Awards

Interview at SXSW: Mad Men Twitter And Tracking

We've got an App for that -- it's called the Web

Understanding Google To Get Your Resume Noticed

Made it to SXSW in Austin

The trouble with Wordpress and other templates

Wayward Words with Baggage

Speaking at SXSW March 17th

The fleeting Memory of the Internet

It's okay to say 'I don't know'

Good Morning America, now Go Fight Traffic

More surreality in Portland

Nike Takes Over Conquent

Facebook owns this title

Excuses, excuses

A little on Social Media

Feeding on Content

Attack of the Bots

Irish Music in Oregon City

Landing on an Aircraft Carrier

Got Curry? And some bizarre art?

Web 1.0

Random Music and Random Life in Portland

To the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump

Flight Simulator

Cold night, hot fire, happy cat

Net Neutrality

Walking to work in the snow

A window into Moreland of the Past

Getting clever with data feeds

Big and Little Beirut

The Other Credit Crisis

The Broadband Inauguration

T-Mobile owns Magenta and Other Patent Stories

The Risk-takers, Doers and Makers of Things

The noise of 20,000+ Twitter Followers

Reflections on my DC Trip

Born Again American

30,000 feet, 500 MPH Suburban Strip Mall

Cellphones, toilets and the Inauguration

The wall of pissing

National Treasure/National Archives

My trip to DC so far

Everyone is insane

Getting ready for DC

The End of Days (of song): Microsoft Songsmith Example

The Very Model of a Modern Major General

Browser Bigotry

The Death of your Soul: Microsoft Songsmith

Creative Development or Developing Creatively?

Race to Witch Mountain

The Myth of Wikipedia (or the Wiki-1400)

Online/Offline Sales -- is it really that bad?

Is PayPal Tacky?

Old School Web Design Still Works

Domain Squatting

Christmas Fire

Green Chri$tma$

QA 101

Portland Snow

Get some return on that web traffic

I think they have a backup...

I'd love to have that problem

The [un]importance of statistics

Don't be a tool of viral marketing

CAT Scan!

Follow up to the shoulder injury

Emails, discussions, blogs, wiki and web content

Ironic Injury

On the Santa Monica Pier

You Designed for Print First

You let someone else register your domain name

You figured .biz, .info, .us would work fine

What's after the Integrated Circuit?

Intelligent life is out there (but it's bugger all down here on earth)

Subject Matter Experts Talking Other Subject Matter

The Totalitarian Regime of Apple

Oversimplifying how people work


Creative Services for the New World

Reverse Anthropomorphism

The End of Time

Oil prices and birdsong

Watching Starship Troopers AGAIN!

Better Living Through Twitter

Lessons Learned From Apple

It's the Brand, Baby

Business Architecture vs. Web Construction

On Truth

You can't build life

Accidentally Drunk in Portland

Al Gore the Winner

Intelligent life is out there (but its bugger all down here on earth)

Aussie Rules Football

Trip to Nostalgia Land

I am such an idiot

Long day of travel

Miami -- as far from Portland as you can go in the US

Inverse Peter Principle

Random Knowledge

I'm fascinated with modern plumbing

Leaving Seattle (or why you should keep your ticket close)

On the Rails

The Hive

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The Demand For The Loss of Creativity
2011-01-25 10:49:06

My brother just wrote a blog about the apple state of mind (My Emotional Response to iAnything). Michael has written several blogs about his frustration with Apple and Apple products, but in this blog he notes its really the smugness of some apple users; their lack of real technical knowledge, coupled with their religious certainty in the superiority of the apple product line. This got me to thinking about what is really going on here.

Apples simplification of the computing platform opens the market up to loads of people who would otherwise not be interested in computing products, it makes computers less of computers and more like terminals. And it makes people not capable of understanding computing devices able to use them, which makes those some of those people feel very smart even superior. IT experts are relegated to the outskirts of the industry they founded, ran and still love. This is frustrating for IT experts, but it is not the first time this has happened to an industry.

The bicycle industry changed in this same way during the 1980s and 90s. I started riding in 1977. Gears (called freewheels then, now called cassettes) were selected gear by gear. This allowed a rider to customize his or her bike based on the type of riding planned (racing touring, hills, flats etc). The calculation of gears was so expected that derailleurs and freewheels came with gear charts in the box to help the customer. Once the rider made his calculations and set the bike up, the rider was mentally invested in the ride. It was part science, but also part art. We knew our bikes, felt out bikes, and thought our bikes into existence.

This process was too complicated for the sport to expand rapidly. During the 1980s Shimano became the dominate bike part supplier, removing Sun Tour from their long standing place in the top spot. Shimano created set gear ratios and one could only buy a complete cog set or cassette. Certain gear patterns were phased out. Gear charts were not supplied, and by the mid 1990s it was almost impossible to find replacement cogs. Now many Shimano cog sets are riveted together preventing the replacement of individual worn gears. Flexibly, creativity and thought were removed, in favor of simplicity and mass marketing.

The gear changes started by Shimano have swept through the rest of the industry. Those slow to accept this new way were out. By 1993 Shimano had 100% of the new bike market. Sun Tour was gone entirely, and Campagnolo (once the premier brand) was an after market brand. Campagnolo came back using the Shimano model and is now doing well. Others have conformed. Meanwhile Shimano commands the same kind of religious loyalty for their sometimes only mediocre products that Apple commands in the computing arena.

It is clear that Apple is a trend setter and that others will follow, just as Shimano set the trend and forced the market to their will. The real question is why did it work? Do we really want to leave creativity and thought behind in favor of simplicity? Do we really want others (big brother, big industry, big religion etc.) telling us what we want, need, feel and believe? Looking at the Apple and Shimano model I would say yes, that is what most want. Those few of us who want to think and feel and believe for ourselves will sit on the outside with the non Apple IT guys and the bike gear heads.

Justin Pedersen: Re: The Demand For The Loss of Creativity
2011-01-25 12:00:34

I'd hate to have that state of mind!

Michael Bissell: Re: The Demand For The Loss of Creativity
2011-01-25 12:04:04

Which state of mind? The one that picks the world apart and says, "Crap..." or the one that accepts things handed from big brother, big industry, big religion etc.?

Justin Pedersen: Re: The Demand For The Loss of Creativity
2011-01-25 12:04:40

I am sorry, Michael, I was referring to the Apple state of mind. I hadn't read those before and that is the one that really bothers me.

Renate Ruby: Re: The Demand For The Loss of Creativity
2011-01-25 12:05:19

John - I appreciate your article, but as an Apple head, I have to say that the simplicity of the product makes it easier for me to use the machines and to increase my own creativity. I just finished redesigning my own website using iWeb (gasp) and because it's so easy to understand and use, I could do it myself. It has some serious limitations - like when my friend Bill the web designer tried to help me add some tags to it he couldn't find how to see the code - but for someone like me, who doesn't care to see the code or even understand the code it's been great.

If I had to build my own gears - I'd never ride a bike either - and I like riding a bike.

Michael Bissell: Re: The Demand For The Loss of Creativity
2011-01-25 12:06:04

Renate - I think the problem that John outlines really well is that the simplification eventually removes the possibility of doing more. Shimano changed the industry to the point that we *can't* build our own cogsets anymore.

My fear is that Apple is leading the way to the point your web friend won't *ever* see the code, and we're all stuck with Apple's vision of what a website, or an app, "should look like."

Renate Ruby: Re: The Demand For The Loss of Creativity
2011-01-25 12:11:05

@Michael - I hear that, but I just don't think it will happen. As my beloved husband revels in pointing out to me, Apple still only has 10% of the market. Computers do allow for a high level of creativity for those who really want to understand them. It doesn't take much until someone interested in doing more with their machine runs up against the constraints of the Apple platform and moves onto something else. I'm just not ever going to be one of those people. Without Apple I'd be stuck staring at a blank screen feeling stupid. I'm a right brain creative and Apple makes it possible for me to use a computer in a way I could never with a PC - but those friends of mine who actually understand how PCs work don't find Apples to be any fun because they can't mess with them, and I think fun usually wins.

Justin Pedersen: Re: The Demand For The Loss of Creativity
2011-01-25 12:28:52

John, one of my friends the other day was so happy that the app store was on her mac. I was absolutely floored. Remember when we use to say "my phone is a mini computer"? Now people are excited that their computer can do mini programs.

John Bissell: Re: The Demand For The Loss of Creativity
2011-01-25 12:38:19

@ Renate: I think there are two points here, and neither one is that the apple platform is bad - because what you say is right: Apple makes things work for some people where they would not otherwise. The 2 points are: 1. The religious zealotry that some people place on a brand or platform is uncomfortable and ugly and is spurred by some of the things I mentioned - and that Michael mentioned, and 2. The simplified interface that limits options also removes choice and creativity. I don't see apple taking over. However, we have seen too many other industries remove our choice. Nothing can be fixed, everything gets thrown away, no gauges on cars, no choice in gears on bikes. We trend that we. It's a repeat them in George Orwell Books. Apple has found a way, and others will follow.

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