The Macalope Daily: In the presence of marketing genius

What do you do when your launch flops, as happened to HP’s TouchPad? Just declare it a “soft launch” (presumably the soft part was the sales) and yell “Do over!” Flip the board!

The Macalope, like many Apple followers, actually wants the TouchPad to succeed. webOS is pretty cool, and if someone other than Apple’s going to succeed in the tablet space it might as well be the guy who oversaw the creation of the original iMac and the iPod, Jon Rubinstein.

Except Ruby’s not the one directly in charge of webOS anymore—now it’s this Stephen DeWitt mook.

Well, now, wait, let’s give the guy a chance. Take a look at Engadget’s interview with suit boy.

Are there any specific products that you’ve worked on at your time at HP that you can point to as successes?

It’s not just products. It’s really experiences more than anything. I’ll give you an example—in the last 24 months, we’ve opened nearly 275 HP stores. You don’t see any of them here, because all of them have been opened in places like Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. We have dramatically overhauled our online experience. We’re in the process right now of moving from a transactional model to a relationship model. Our support systems—literally everything around the products—is moving to a model of elite support 7 / 24 / 365.

Look what we’re doing with the Butler system surrounding the TouchPad. We know people are going to get excited when they come home and tear that shrinkwrap off. We want to make sure that experience is flawless. That Butler paradigm is extending across everything we do. Our transformation comes in lot of different sizes and shapes.

Sooo...no. Great. 146 words to say “no.” You could have just said “no,” you know? Players of the buzzword-bingo drinking game should be careful when clicking through, because you’ll be drunk by about the third paragraph. DeWitt comes from “the server appliance space,” where he redefined Sun’s “Edge computing strategy.” At HP he’s helped “transform what has historically been a business defined by the gross margin and transaction… to a relationship-driven model.” He has a “passion for experience and global reach.” He’s an Aquarius who likes long walks in the rain, romantic comedies, and the capital of Nebraska is Lincoln.

Uhnnnnnnnnnnnnn…

It may be completely unrelated, but the day after the announcement of DeWitt’s appointment to the head of webOS, HP announced the next version of the TouchPad, which will have 4G and a faster processor and will be coming “in time for back to school.” That’s right, less than two weeks after the TouchPad’s “soft launch,” they’re already telling customers about the next version.

Brilliant. Good luck with that second “hard” launch, HP! The Macalope’s sure it’ll be gangbusters.

[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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