I took some paternity leave last week as we have a brand new little girl to add to our growing brood and spent much of the time enjoying unseasonably warm weather at the park with my two year old. The Apple iPhone, it is fair to say, has a 100% market share of the parents taking their kids to our local park. Indeed I stuck out like a sore thumb trying to master the Motorola Backflip I had been lent for the week (as a joke because I had asked for something “manly” and “manly” it isn’t).
The combination of such an impressive display of domination and my daughter beetling around got me thinking and ultimately got me pretty excited to return to work.
I have pretty much made all of my living since graduating from university in the early 1990’s selling mobile phones. I haven’t always sold mobile phones, mind, and have flirted with selling other things, but I never made much of a living at it. So my house, my car, my clothes and my bike and those of my family I owe in no small measure to my efforts selling phones.
Because I lived and worked in Europe until June 2007 most of those phones (including the first one sold on January 17th 1993) have been made by Nokia. The rest were made by Sony Ericsson and laterally Samsung, LG and RiM. Back in the early days we sold a lot of Motorola bricks and flips but not much since the late ‘90’s (Pink RAZRs aside). Back in Europe Motorola is considered to be American for “Cr*p”, and I wouldn’t have been seen dead with one. Frankly we felt sorry for all you Americans having to pay for incoming calls, on useless handsets that couldn’t text or surf the web properly.
But then in the week I arrived in the US, Apple brought out the iPhone and changed just about everything, not only about the US market, but the world market as well. A mobile phone salesman moving to America in the first week of July 2007 must rank as the best timed career move since Ringo Starr replaced Pete Best as the drummer for the Beatles.
Everything interesting, everything exciting, everything ground breaking that is happening in the mobile field right now is happening in and for the US market. Every new launch and every new innovation is happening here first and then being exported overseas with a film industry style time lag. Not one of the players which is really shaking up the market was doing much three years ago when I got my opportunity.
The iPhone hadn’t launched, Google only searched and HTC had only just started to sell phones under its own label…and then only Windows Mobile…because there was only Windows Mobile. In the last year the launch of the Palm Pre and Web OS, the explosion of Android devices, and the pitched battle between the carriers for data market share has made the US market the best place to be in the mobile world, and the launches anticipated in the next twelve weeks alone will take the whole game to another level.
I literally cannot wait to get my hands on the Samsung Galaxy S. I haven’t felt this way about a phone since the Nokia N97.
So sitting in the sandpit at my local park watching my daughter master the steps up to the slide and the other parents master their schedules on their iPhones I felt overwhelmingly fortunate in life and in my career, and to my amazement when I looked down at my hands, and checked Noah’s latest tweet, I saw that I was using a Motorola phone and it wasn’t so bad after all. In fact it was actually quite good.
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