First published in September 2014.
At University, my house mate Byfe was the master at any game you could play with a cigarette in one hand and a pint in the other. At Darts he was a one hundred and eighty sort of guy. At Pool he would leave you in a false sense of security before clearing all the balls in one visit to the table and his Snooker skills were similar. Byfe wasn’t that coordinated when it came to sport, a little ungainly in his movement and rhythm and he viewed swinging a golf club too difficult to do without spilling his beer.
So when the first computer based games emerged in the pubs and clubs across the land, Byfe was in his element and quickly became master of any new one that appeared. People would watch in awe as Byfe would destroy the alien spaceships in Space Invaders with ease and a 10p investment would keep him at the machine longer than it took him to smoke his cigarette or drink his beer. At some point he would become distracted either trying to light another fag or reach for a refill and Alien revenge would finally bring him to his knees.
‘Breakout’, however, was for Byfe the ultimate opportunity for him to display his gaming skills to those huddled around the Atari machine. It would not be unusual for us to enter the pub at around eight, buy the first round and three hours later Byfe would still be blasting his way through brick walls combating the ever increasing speed of the ball with an ever decreasing size of his bat.
Breakout was created for Atari by the collaboration of an American college 'drop-out' named Steve Jobs and a 'geek' called Steve Wozniak. The ‘odd couple’ would soon go on to form a start-up tech company in what would become Silicon Valley near San Francisco which they chose to name ‘Apple’. The rest is history.
It was interesting this week to witness the hype about the first big product launch in the post-Steve Jobs era from Tim Cook, the Apple CEO. Yes everyone already new that he would be announcing the next evolution of the iPhone – the 6 – but what everyone wanted to see was the much speculated and long awaited iWatch make its debut.
Whilst the event had some technical issues, the Apple Watch as it is officially known was launched and, surprisingly, the markets reacted with a fall in the Apple share price. Personally I think the product looks cool. I like the choice of straps, the circular analogue display on a square face and the fact that the screen is sapphire crystal – all good quality watches have sapphire crystal glass. But let’s not kid ourselves this is a wearable device, a piece of cool looking technology that syncs with the required iPhone (providing it’s close enough) such that you can wear it on your wrist. It has all the fitness and health apps you could possibly need, a neat electronic payment solution that will certainly take off in the States and is a platform for all the app developers, including those who design golf apps, to create new and exciting applications and communication solutions. Yes if you already have an iPhone, are comfortable with Smart devices and, providing the battery lasts long enough, it certainly will be a breakthrough product in 2015 when other similar existing products have failed to live up to expectations. It’s an Apple product and ergo it will sell to Apple loyalists by the truckload.
As a former Engineering Graduate and Exec in the IT and Communications industry I’ve always had an interest in technology - the story of Steve Jobs and Apple written by Walter Isaacson and published in 2011 was my favourite Christmas gift that year. I took away some key learning points from it. The three guiding principles in building the Apple business were Focus, Empathy and the wonderful word: ‘Impute’. At ETIQUS we are solely focused on creating distinctive timepieces exclusively for golfers. We try to empathise with the golfer, the golfing communities and most importantly the spirit of the game. And as the founder of the business, it’s my desire to define the character of ETIQUS timepieces as a beautiful, quality golf wristwatch but at an affordable price. That, I ‘impute’ into the team and my business partners each and every day.
When Steve Jobs made the first iMac he had his name written on the inside of every one. As you know from a previous blog (What’s in a name?) I originally chose BUTLER as the name to go on the dial but was unable to do so because of Trademark laws. So in Steve Jobs fashion I simply chose to follow his idea and have my name on the inside of each and every one of my timepieces.
So will the Apple Watch make an appearance in the Butler household? We all have iPhones and iPads and both my daughters have recently crossed the line from PC to Mac so I guess the inevitable answer will be yes. But I do worry that it will kick off another investment journey from the Apple Watch to Apple Watch 2, 3, 3S, 4 …. each with a lifespan of no more than two years. Proper Timepieces have an enduring appeal and the lifespan of some extend beyond that of the owner.
Personally I think I’ll stick to an iPhone and my ETIQUS but then I would, wouldn’t I?
Enjoy your golf - I hope that any wearable devices in the vicinity don’t tweet or beep on your backswing ☺