Viral ideas and inside baseball

I’m getting a ton of mail about the iPod Nano "controversy". Mostly crowing about how powerful the blogosphere is and how the bloggers "won"  (Elizabeth sends us to On Demand Business : Blogs : Todd Watson.)

Well, the reason the idea spread so fast is that Apple is eminently viral, especially re: negative stories about new stuff. Report: Apple to replace iPod nanos with broken screens – Sep. 28, 2005

The thing is, I think we’re noticing this a whole lot more than the general public. (the line to buy Nanos at my local Apple store was huge). And I think there’s a danger here, because alert marketers are also online a lot, and if you drink your own koolaid, it can backfire (by the way, there wasn’t Kool Aid at Jonestown, it was Flavor Ade… another example of how ideas spread and leave a history).

Yes, Apple discovered that 1% of the Nanos were defective, and yes, within a week, they agreed to take them back. Good for them. But no, this isn’t the sort of groundswell public conversation that all the online pundits (like me) keep telling you about.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Noted. But you also never get a chance to tell a great story with a boring product. The real story here is how gaga the world went over the Nano. Don’t hesitate to build something like this just because someone might build a blog complaining about a broken screen. Nope. Build something this cool as fast as you can so you can be in the center of our conversations.