Ever noticed how absurd product launches have become? I’m sure there are very creative people behind the launch of high tech gadgets. There is the stage, the lights, the music, the video, the pizzazz and the amplification. Those are all put together by genuinely creative people. However, I’m reminded how stupidly overblown all of this has become by archive footage of the launch of the Blackberry 10, now a failing has-been of a product.
There he is. A stupid CEO, self conscious in his geekiness, bestriding the stage like a latter day Mick Jagger. Who does he think he is? Why does he believe the crowd should be whipped up into a frenzy over a stupid phone? What must he think he is? What are we supposed to think he is?
If CEOs want to appear to be rock stars, then I say take your guitar onstage with you. Why not? You want to act like a rock star, so be one. Put your music out there. Don’t stand up on stage, with all the trappings of rock stardom and pretend to be one, taking credit for the efforts of thousands of genuinely creative people that brought “your” product into existence.
Don’t mistake me. Rock stars are largely the figureheads and CEOs of larger creative enterprises that have creative people working behind the scenes to create the show. No doubt about it. However, in most cases, the rock star still has the integrity to participate in a significant way in the creation of what is being presented on stage. It’s why we indulged Steve Jobs. He was known to have been intimately involved in the creation of his products. Almost comically so.
It’s also why we look on the Steve Balmers and Blackberry CEO figures as imposters. There is no authenticity to what they are presenting, yet they want us all to worship them as messianic givers of a bright new future. Bunkum!
In a world where rock stars and CEOs are really just front men for vast teams of genuinely creative makers, isn’t it time we demanded some greater authenticity from the people that stand before us and ask us to pay homage to them?
How about revealing the identities of the makers? Wouldn’t that be better? Why do we need a showman – a salesman – to represent what is often the crowning achievement of months or years of concerted and coordinated effort? That is something worth celebrating, after all.