July 11, 2014

I Am the Cheat

According to a recent Business Insider survey, 86% of iPhone owners use a case, with almost 60% of them citing damage protection. Of those who don’t, 50% say cases are too bulky”. Nick Heer explains why he’s among the minority in a short post titled I Am the 14%:

Avoiding bulkiness isn’t an aesthetic decision, it’s a practical one. I don’t wear super skinny jeans by any means, but adding thickness and weight is unwelcome.

Here’s a true story about technology, and idiocy: Sometime in 2012, my childhood friend Ed” started working as a marketing agent for a company1 that claimed to sell the world’s strongest, easiest and fastest-to-apply drop and scratch protection system for the iPhone.

Back then I had a cheap silicon case laying in my car that I’d only use rarely. Like Nick, I thought the premium for the insurance that cases provided was too high — aesthetic, comfort, and weight-wise. I refused to trade these off.

Ed had a very effective marketing technique: With the almost unnoticeable sticker-set applied to his iPhone, he’d approach pretty much anyone with the same device, and ask them what they think would happen if he dropped — or worse, threw — his own iPhone intentionally. Regardless of the answer, he’d then proceed to do just that, from about a head’s height, with a haughty smile on his face.

By the time he’d pick the iPhone back up — totally unharmed — little to no marketing would be needed, and the awed spectator was ready to shell an amount equivalent to 60 American dollars. I’d also be in awe.

I mean, I’d also be in awe hadn’t I watched Ed do this dozens and dozens of times already. On every. Possible. Occasion.

I guess it got to me that night at a wedding party we both attended. After I heard his phone drop for what seemed like the 57th time, I went up to Ed and thought I’d play a joke between two good friends:

You know it has got nothing to do with those silly stickers right? I’m gonna prove it to you now. Here.”

When I picked up my caseless iPhone, the screen was shattered to pieces. Little and small.

I’ve purchased and (unintentionally!) dropped a few iPhones since then. The first thing I do upon receiving one is go to Ed to get a new sticker-set. It adds little to no weight, is almost invisible to the naked eye, and provides better protection than many bulkier solutions. It almost feels like cheating.

But isn’t that what good technology always does?

  1. I don’t feel overly comfortabe sharing the company’s name in the body text. If you’re curious, get in touch. There’s a clear disclosure policy on the about page, but just to be sure: I have no affiliation with this company. In fact, after publishing this piece Ed” has told me they no longer operate here in Israel. ↩︎
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