Welcome to the iCult

Mark Graham, SVP, Technology, iVilliage with his new iPhone

So, we’re having a birthday party for Maryam today and I was at the store getting some ice and last minute things when Mark Graham, senior vice president at iVillage (a Website aimed at women) came up to me with this big grin showing off his iPhone.

He showed some other people entering the store what the iPhone does. This is going to be the real key to success. Whether the phone remains a conversation piece and whether those conversations lead to real customers.

Today at the party we’ll have a bunch of non cult members over (ie, those who think it’s idiotic to wait in line for two days to buy a device). That’ll give us a chance to see how it plays with them and give us an idea of how fast the iCult will grow.

Come back later for some video looks on my Kyte channel.

Mark is also the general manager of astrology.com, one of the world’s most popular astrology sites, owned by NBC Universal. Seems sort of fitting that he’d be the first “iCult” member I’d run into.

Oh, one other iCult member, Dave Winer, has been texting a lot with Patrick. Turns out the texting app is very addictive. I wish Apple would offer free texting to and from any iPhone. The iCult is already very expensive and I can tell it’ll get even more expensive if I have to increase the text messaging plan on our family plan.

Comments

  1. you mean AT&T would allow free texting?

    And I wish AT&T would allow free WIFI access when I travel across the country so I am not just dependent on its 2.5G network.

    And overseas it would not hit me for $ 2.99 a voice minute in India or $ 25 for a data transfer of 1135KB in Austria (from my Cingular/AT&T bills over last few months)

    One of the best things Apple can do for the industry (not just iPhone fans) is to highlight and squeeze all the extras the telecomm industry tacks on.

    Over 2 years, most iPhone customers will find their device was a tiny part of the TCO…

  2. you mean AT&T would allow free texting?

    And I wish AT&T would allow free WIFI access when I travel across the country so I am not just dependent on its 2.5G network.

    And overseas it would not hit me for $ 2.99 a voice minute in India or $ 25 for a data transfer of 1135KB in Austria (from my Cingular/AT&T bills over last few months)

    One of the best things Apple can do for the industry (not just iPhone fans) is to highlight and squeeze all the extras the telecomm industry tacks on.

    Over 2 years, most iPhone customers will find their device was a tiny part of the TCO…

  3. I meant to also say it is 99c a minute call from most of Europe back to US. Contrast this with Skype from most eveywhere in world at 2c a minute. But to be able to get decent VoIP calls you need to be on WIFI, not its 2.5G network …which means you pay your hotel hotspot charges – Marriott in Romania wanted $ 35 a day, Hilton in London $ 22 a day…

  4. I meant to also say it is 99c a minute call from most of Europe back to US. Contrast this with Skype from most eveywhere in world at 2c a minute. But to be able to get decent VoIP calls you need to be on WIFI, not its 2.5G network …which means you pay your hotel hotspot charges – Marriott in Romania wanted $ 35 a day, Hilton in London $ 22 a day…

  5. Robert,

    I can remember when, as a Microsoft employee, you were quite proud of the fact that people were willing to wait in line for days to get Windows 95. Now you consider it idiotic and cultish?

    BTW: I agree! Welcome to the real world.

    The iPhone will probably kill more people than the 911 attacks within the first year of it’s existence, as motorists fiddle with the two-handed, visual-feedback interface while driving.

  6. Robert,

    I can remember when, as a Microsoft employee, you were quite proud of the fact that people were willing to wait in line for days to get Windows 95. Now you consider it idiotic and cultish?

    BTW: I agree! Welcome to the real world.

    The iPhone will probably kill more people than the 911 attacks within the first year of it’s existence, as motorists fiddle with the two-handed, visual-feedback interface while driving.

  7. “which means you pay your hotel hotspot charges – Marriott in Romania wanted $ 35 a day, Hilton in London $ 22 a day…”

    I have never seen any hotel in Europe *not* use SwissCom Internet. From the UK to France to where ever they all seem to use this for hotel room ethernet.
    http://www.swisscom.com/hospitality/solutions/highspeed_internet_access.php
    I’m sure when I go online in Germany it will show the familiar SwissCom screen on my Linux browser when I plug the ethernet cable in.

    As for calling from Europe back to the US or Canada with a Rogers plan phone, I am too afraid. Rogers charges $25 per call when you roam outside the province into Ontario. I can only imagine the horrors if you tried to phone home from Europe on the Rogers roaming network. I barely do US to Canada and only on the tarmac upon landing to tell people I’m there.

  8. “which means you pay your hotel hotspot charges – Marriott in Romania wanted $ 35 a day, Hilton in London $ 22 a day…”

    I have never seen any hotel in Europe *not* use SwissCom Internet. From the UK to France to where ever they all seem to use this for hotel room ethernet.
    http://www.swisscom.com/hospitality/solutions/highspeed_internet_access.php
    I’m sure when I go online in Germany it will show the familiar SwissCom screen on my Linux browser when I plug the ethernet cable in.

    As for calling from Europe back to the US or Canada with a Rogers plan phone, I am too afraid. Rogers charges $25 per call when you roam outside the province into Ontario. I can only imagine the horrors if you tried to phone home from Europe on the Rogers roaming network. I barely do US to Canada and only on the tarmac upon landing to tell people I’m there.

  9. @4…I would like to get a list of hotels you stay at, because most of mine default to BT, T-Mobile. I would love to get a hotspot plan which will work across Europe. Boingo and T-Mobile come close – and Boingo recently introduced an all you can eat plan for $ 40 a month, but it only works in half the hotels I have stayed at and T-Mobile on its US plan wants 18c a minute for roaming in Europe.

    Like you, the month end mobile bill is a reason for a lot of stress.

    But my basic point was whether you want a basic text message plan like Patrick, a US only WI-FI access hot spot plan or a global plan like we do, the telecom extras just add up quickly…

    I hope Steve Jobs uses his clout with At&T to rationalize much of this…making your customers nervous each month is a bad way to do business…

  10. @4…I would like to get a list of hotels you stay at, because most of mine default to BT, T-Mobile. I would love to get a hotspot plan which will work across Europe. Boingo and T-Mobile come close – and Boingo recently introduced an all you can eat plan for $ 40 a month, but it only works in half the hotels I have stayed at and T-Mobile on its US plan wants 18c a minute for roaming in Europe.

    Like you, the month end mobile bill is a reason for a lot of stress.

    But my basic point was whether you want a basic text message plan like Patrick, a US only WI-FI access hot spot plan or a global plan like we do, the telecom extras just add up quickly…

    I hope Steve Jobs uses his clout with At&T to rationalize much of this…making your customers nervous each month is a bad way to do business…

  11. Texting? Why don’t they use an IM client and suck up some of the unlimited data plan instead? BTW, your flickr stream says “Taken with a Nokia N95″… let’s see what the iPhone camera is like, instead. Is there a flickr upload client yet?

  12. Texting? Why don’t they use an IM client and suck up some of the unlimited data plan instead? BTW, your flickr stream says “Taken with a Nokia N95″… let’s see what the iPhone camera is like, instead. Is there a flickr upload client yet?

  13. I am waiting for your review, Robert on the iPhone. I am still under the hood of deciding if I want to replace my newly bought MotoQ/Verizon with iPhone/AT&T. It is an expensive affair, but reading a few reviews before I make the decision.

    The problem is most reviews about iphones are at the two extremes, apple fanboy reviews “It is a drop from heaven, world changer, Jesus of mobile phones etc” and apple hater reviews “It is the biggest flop” etc.

    Where are the good old, simple, merits vs defects, cost vs worth analyses?

    Where are the good old product reviews like

  14. I am waiting for your review, Robert on the iPhone. I am still under the hood of deciding if I want to replace my newly bought MotoQ/Verizon with iPhone/AT&T. It is an expensive affair, but reading a few reviews before I make the decision.

    The problem is most reviews about iphones are at the two extremes, apple fanboy reviews “It is a drop from heaven, world changer, Jesus of mobile phones etc” and apple hater reviews “It is the biggest flop” etc.

    Where are the good old, simple, merits vs defects, cost vs worth analyses?

    Where are the good old product reviews like

  15. Kiram, the big four wrote balanced reviews of the iPhone. See David Pogue at the NYT, Ed Baig at USA Today, Walt Mossberg at the WSJ and Steven Levy at Newsweek. They gave it a thumbs up, but do not ignore shortcomings.

    Here’s Uncle Walt’s review to start you off:

    http://solution.allthingsd.com/

    Why do some people think Robert should have been able to take pictures with the iPhone before he even bought and authorized it?

  16. Kiram, the big four wrote balanced reviews of the iPhone. See David Pogue at the NYT, Ed Baig at USA Today, Walt Mossberg at the WSJ and Steven Levy at Newsweek. They gave it a thumbs up, but do not ignore shortcomings.

    Here’s Uncle Walt’s review to start you off:

    http://solution.allthingsd.com/

    Why do some people think Robert should have been able to take pictures with the iPhone before he even bought and authorized it?

  17. “The iPhone will probably kill more people than the 911 attacks within the first year of it’s existence” is a classic line… so true, so true…

  18. “The iPhone will probably kill more people than the 911 attacks within the first year of it’s existence” is a classic line… so true, so true…