Seriously, what is it about these media guys that renders them incapable of keeping their mouths shut about anything? Except when the subject is, like, impending layoffs at their own companies, in which case they’re like Fort Knox. Question for us is, how do we show these guys our tablet and get their stupid content onto our platform without having them tell the whole friggin world what we’re doing?
So here’s what happened. Keller is making a speech to his staff and trying to convince them that they’re not totally fucked, which is sort of like telling passengers on the Titanic to just stay calm, because the ship isn’t sinking, it’s just, um, resting. Or “finding a new mode of operation.” So in the middle of his phony-baloney presentation Keller makes a reference to what he calls the “impending Apple slate,” and now the whole blogosphere is in a tizzy because they figure Keller has actually seen the device and they’re foaming at the mouth, like this guy at Mashable who says “the Tablet is most probably real, and Apple is already making hush-hush deals with content creators such as the Times.” And then the Sydney Morning Herald starts creaming in its jeans saying we’ve been briefing Australian publishers about the tablet too.
So then Peter Kafka at AllThingsD sends email to Keller asking if he’s seen the tablet, and Keller sends back a nipple-twister quote saying, “I ain’t sayin.” Which of course people take to mean that in fact he is saying, because if he hadn’t seen it he could just say he hadn’t seen it, so he must have seen it, and Valleywag says it’s one big hot ghetto mess because we need to get in bed with publishers to get their content and that means we have to show them stuff but we’d rather keep everything secret forever because we’re all about the secrecy, which is true, and in fact if we could we would even keep products secret after we started selling them, because as everyone knows the less you say about your product the more people want it, and when they don’t know anything about the product they are free to project all their wildest hopes and dreams onto that product, and if you don’t believe me just ask my good friend Barack Obama because this is exactly the strategy he used when he was running for president and guess what, it totally works. We call this “tabula rasa marketing,” and we were thinking about doing a book about it but guess what, we’re better off having no book and no information about how it works because then it stays all mysterious people can project whatever they want onto it — okay. Sorry.
Anyway, the takeaway is, Operation “Hype the Tablet” is going exactly according to plan.You remember the six months leading up to our announcement of the iPhone? The fake prototypes, the artist renditions, the rumors, the arguments? The way the story began as rumors on blogs, then bubbled its way into the mainstream media? Remember how we drove people crazy, so much so that by the time the thing arrived in stores they were lining up outside and would buy it just so they could see what all the excitement was about? Yeah. Get ready to see the same movie all over again.