Chip Shots: Apple Watch, Trapping Customers, Hurricane Coverage, and More

After a number of weeks without travel, I’m back on the road. First to Chicago and then DC. It’s always nice to spend time at home, but I also get re-energized when I hit the road and meet with colleagues, clients, and prospects.

For fellow road warriors like me, I found a podcast that may be of interest. Business Travel Hacks features conversations with people who frequently hit the road and shares their tips and tricks for making the experience better. I have listened to a few episodes and learned something new from each of them.

THE APPLE WATCH DILEMMA. The Company that Steve Jobs Built announced the latest versions of the iPhone and Apple Watch last week. The phone situation continues to get more complicated, with no fewer than 7 models currently available (not counting storage variations).

But the real news was with the watch. It now steps further down the path of becoming a health device with its ability to detect catastrophic falls and irregular heart rhythms. As someone who has lived with atrial fibrillation 15 years, I was particularly interested in the latter capability.

I regularly wear heart monitors provided by my cardiologist to see how I’m doing, but it would be a great convenience (and likely health benefit) to have my Apple Watch monitoring 24/7.

But that’s where the bad news came in Apple’s announcement. Even though we are on Series 4 of the watch, it still can’t reliably last a full 24 hours on a single charge. Since some of the greatest value from heart monitoring comes when you’re asleep and unable to detect symptoms or check your pulse, this is a major obstacle to getting full value from the new capability.

I lamented the lack of battery life a year ago, and unfortunately it remains a problem.

TRAPPING CUSTOMERS IS NOT A GOOD STRATEGY. I have been making changes to some of the services I use for business lately, and it amazes me how short-sighted so many companies are when it comes to empowering customers.

If you want to buy a new service — or upgrade your existing account — most companies make it super simple. One click and you’re done.

But if you have any interest in downgrading or canceling, they make you jump through needless hoops.

It’s a horrible way to treat customers. And it doesn’t do anything to improve loyalty or score yourself at a second chance at their business.

Businesses should operate on the principle that downgrading or canceling is just as easy as signing up or upgrading.

THE HURRICANE OF STORM COVERAGE. Why oh why do reporters feel the need to stand out in the middle of a hurricane, hold on to a pole, and look like a flag in the wind?

Apart from the fact that it is dangerous and needlessly endangers their well-being, it doesn’t make for great TV. Especially when a show’s anchor is in the middle of the storm.

It ends up sounding like the start of every business conference call with the ridiculous crosstalk and audio checks (“I hope you can hear me even though my microphone is in a fishbowl and the wind is blowing my cheek down my throat!”).

And I don’t know about you, but I have enough of those conference calls that I don’t need to see it recreated on my TV.

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