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Jeff Bezos, Charlie Rose, Streaming Interviews, Stretching Media Types and Transcripts… | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

Jeff Bezos, Charlie Rose, Streaming Interviews, Stretching Media Types and Transcripts…

Originally I wanted to do a post about the interview Charlie Rose did with Jeff Bezos. I had planned to embed the video of the talk and make a couple points about the things that stood out. But to my confusion I when I went to the share button on the page all I could do was email a link to someone. What surprises me is that I used to be able to embed the entire interview and now I can’t. I did notice that there is a six minute clip on YouTube. However what I did find interesting is that there is a tab that displays the entire conversation in text—in theory I could simply copy + paste the entire conversation yet not show the video. Seems a bit strange to me to allow low fi tech but not video. To prove a point I was going to in fact place the entire conversation below but decided in the end that it would be more effective if I just placed the highlighted conversation that made me pause.

These are the themes that that I found stood out
1. Buying something electronically and having the ability to use it on any device by any manufacturer
2. Carrying multiple devices that can do the same thing
3. Looking at the competition and using software, not hardware as a strategic advantage
4. Not having to worry about energy (battery life), explaining who should be creating the experience & having more than one device
5. Focus & compromises

1. Buying something electronically and having the ability to use it on any device

CHARLIE ROSE: But there is an application for a Kindle on an iPad.

JEFF BEZOS: Absolutely, and also on Android, also on the iPhone, also on the Mac, also on the PC, also on your blackberry. So our approach is when you buy a Kindle book, we want you — it’s buy once, read everywhere.

So you buy that Kindle book, and we have a technology called whisper sync, so we’ll synchronize your place and you can read on your blackberry, read a little bit on your iPad. If you’re going to have a two-hour reading session, get the Kindle and get a device that is really optimized for long-form reading.

2. Carrying multiple devices that can do the same thing

CHARLIE ROSE: So you are counting on the fact that people want to have an extra device for reading, and therefore you are opting to make it smaller, easier —

JEFF BEZOS: Exactly.

CHARLIE ROSE: — and thinner.

JEFF BEZOS: You got it. And at $139 — and cheaper. At $139, people are going to have — I think we live in a multi-device world. You’re going to have a tablet computer like an iPad or one of its competitors. You’re going to have a smart phone, you’re going to have a laptop. The tablet computer isn’t going to replace the laptop because there are times when you want to write a long memo or a long email message or an article —

3. Looking at the competition and using software, not hardware to a strategic advantage

CHARLIE ROSE: And are you here to also say that it is not all that certain that iPad will dominate that tablet market, that their competition will be good in the same way that the Droid-X is beginning to make progress because of the Android operating system?

JEFF BEZOS: Absolutely. Before the end of this year there will be many tablet computers. And the Apple with the iPad is going to continue to do extremely well. And I hope they do.

We don’t see the — from where I sit, all the data that I have, the evidence is very clear that Kindle is a companion to tablet computers, laptops. It’s not an either/or division.

CHARLIE ROSE: What is the evidence?

JEFF BEZOS: We have this feature called whisper sync where you can read on one device. And one of the strong usage pattern that is we see is people will read on their Kindles, and they read on their smart phones, tablet computers, and so on.

So we’re seeing that people are moving between these devices, and it’s one of the reasons that we’re so focused on buy once, read everywhere.

4. Not having to worry about energy, explaining who should be creating the experience & having more than one device

CHARLIE ROSE: How many devices do we want to carry with us?

JEFF BEZOS: I think you’re going to have a lot of devices.

CHARLIE ROSE: Do you really?

JEFF BEZOS: I do, at least four or five. Some have yet to be invented.

CHARLIE ROSE: OK, but you’re not —

JEFF BEZOS: We’re not trying to create an experience. We want the author to create the experience.

If you’re going to read Nabokov or Hemingway or — what do you want us creating the experience for? That’s not our job. Our job is to provide the convenience so that you can get books in 60 seconds, so that you can carry your whole library with you, so that you don’t get hand strain, so the device doesn’t get hot in your hand, so that it doesn’t cause eyestrain, so that the battery life lasts a month so that you never get
battery anxiety —

CHARLIE ROSE: Battery life of this is what?

JEFF BEZOS: One month.

CHARLIE ROSE: One month.

5. Focus & compromises

JEFF BEZOS: So all those things are — that’s our job. Our job is to design a perfect device for reading.

People say why don’t you add a touch screen? The reason we don’t have a touch screen is when we were going down that decision path, we say, “OK, a touch screen,” and the current technology for touch screens is called capacitive touch. It’s a layer that goes on top of that display. It adds glare.

The first thing that you do when you add a touch display is you adda little extra layer of glass or plastic and a little bit of glare. So it’s very easy from an engineering point of view to add a touch screen, but
it’s not the right thing when you’re making no compromises. And that’s our point of view on this. We want to build a device that’s uncompromised for reading. And guess what. Our approach is working.

My reading experience this year

At the beginning of the year I had set out the goal of reading one book a week for fifty two weeks. I’m pretty far behind so far so unless I gain a ton of time I don’t think I’m going to reach that goal. The reality is that my time is stretched to the max. With that said, early on in the year I was on a roll with reading paper books. I recall telling someone that I probably wouldn’t read any book digitally for a couple reasons. The first was that I wanted to be able to photograph all 52 books once I completed my goal. I couldn’t do that with a digital file. The second reason was that I had never read an ebook, so why would I bother? Fast forward to August. I have an iPad that has the Kindle app on it. It is so easy to buy books that it is really hard to go to a store that may or may not have what I want to buy. I also started reading on my iPhone which was another thing that I never thought I would do. I think it is amazing my book can sync together on all my devices without me having to do anything. The only thing that is poor is the actually reading experience. The type is set incredibly bad. There is no excuse for publishers to set digital books better.

If I look at the Kindle reading experience and relate it to other media types like sound or video, or even websites, you have to wonder why everything doesn’t work non device specific. Mobile browsers allow for a bit of seamless integration but still are pretty out of date. Typically sites just stripe out all the graphics—not such a great mobile experience.

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