What Charlie Sheen Could Teach Microsoft (Or Why Your Son Doesn’t Wear Parachute Pants)

Back in 1987 I used to tell women I thought I had a chance with that they looked delicious.

It worked for a while.

But these are no longer the days of Neneh Cherry.

It’s 20 years later:

There are people who actually think that Charlie Sheen is famous because of “Two and a Half Men” not despite it.

Things change.

But what’s more important (and sometimes forgotten) is that people change, too.

And if you don’t remember that, you end up missing the proverbial, as well as financial, boat.

We people raised in a world of “greed is good” and parachute pants tend to think that everyone thinks like us.

We are used to putting people into boxes, tagging them with a label and then slapping an ad on that.

Those days, brother, are over.

Unfortunately some of us hasn’t realized it yet.

Look at Microsoft.

They chase after Apple and chase after Google. But they have no clue as to why they are losing.

But the guy on the street does.

Why can’t companies just get out of the way and let me use the product any way I want?

Let me ask you a question.

Fundamentally, what is the difference between Microsoft and Google?

If you want to be even halfway successful today you have to treat consumers like individuals.

If you treat them like niches (i.e. gamers) or a demographic (housewives under 30 with more than one child) you really don’t get it and your company won’t reach it’s maximum potential.

Scoble gets it but missed (imho) the bottomline.

Ebay is not the same for anyone who visits the site.

Google is not the same for anyone who visits it.

Neither is LinkedIn and scores of others.

Those companies are all bottom up instead of top down.

Their customers actually build there own experience.

Here’s a New Rule:

Don’t build your company for people like me. Build your company just for me.

It’s sometimes hard to explain but it’s that philosophy/culture that makes some companies succeed while others falter these days.

Let’s see, Microsoft positions the Zune for cool kids instead of cool people. And these people want to own internet advertising? Oh man…

They sell their operating system and software for home users, pro users and business users. wtf?

Why can’t companies just get out of the way and let me use the product any way I want?

Microsoft continues to build boxes to put customers in.

They really don’t undrestand that folks don’t really want to be put into boxes.

Consumers are as fluid (if not more fluid) as smart businesses try to be these days.

Times change.

And more importantly, so do people.

Ask Charlie Sheen.

In 1987 he was a movie star.

Explore posts in the same categories: Ads, Apple, Charlie Sheen, google, Groups, Individuals, marketing, microsoft, Neneh Cherry, U2, Zune

19 Comments on “What Charlie Sheen Could Teach Microsoft (Or Why Your Son Doesn’t Wear Parachute Pants)”

  1. Caroline B. Says:

    I had that Neneh Cherry Album. It’s called “Raw Like Sushi”

  2. chartreuse Says:

    I think everyone had that album.

  3. tradermike Says:

    Profound bruh. (I think) I’m taking that “build it just for a specific user” approach with a site I’m about to launch in the next week or so. I look forward to your comments on it.


  4. Brilliant – the next wave of innovation will be around “Me”. The web and how we connect have to become contextually aware of who I am.

  5. travis Says:

    another classic post.

  6. António Says:

    So is Apple wining, and will it be on the wining side in the future? (Fred’s image)

    I’d love to read your take on Radiohead.

  7. christina Says:

    “There are people who actually think that Charlie Sheen is famous because of “Two and a Half Men” not despite it.”

    Er, not exactly. I think Two and a Half Men works because of Charlie Sheen (and Jon Cryer), which is different than what you’re stating here. I’m a child of the 80s, I remember his movies. (And Jon Cryer’s movies – not too shabby himself.)

  8. chartreuse Says:

    Christina, I have never watched the show. The reason I used it is because I noticed it’s now in syndication meaning it’s been on the air for a while now. No matter what type of character he plays on the show, it’s obvious that Charlie Sheen has had to change his career track. Going from leading movie star to lead on television isn’t the way it usually works. But times change and so do people. Charlie is now part of the successful movie stars (Sally Field, Keifer Sutherland, etc.) who advanced by going backwards.
    More proof of the upside down universe we live in. One question for you. Is the show good?

    TraderMike, I’m looking forward to checking it out.

    Antonio, I think Umair got that right (though many disagree with him.)

    Travis,Fred and Brian-thanks for dropping in. You guys are doing the real cool stuff.

  9. adam coles Says:

    There are some problems with the syntax but I get it Char. I think your new rule is important and right on.

  10. christina Says:

    The show is actually pretty funny. It’s an updated version of the Odd Couple — with a kid. Jon Cryer plays an uptight divorced dentist and father who moves in with his free-wheeling, rich bachelor brother. With the kid. The supporting actors are great (mom, ex-wife, housekeeper). The show gets a bad rep. But it consistently performs well in the ratings and plugs along.

    The thing about Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer is the started in movies – as teens. A lot of teen actors don’t maintain momentum once they hit their mid-twenties. So I think Jon Cryer and Charlie Sheen are quite lucky to have found a sweet spot on a highly watched (thought critically panned) show. Most former teen actors would kill for this situation. Same with Patrick Dempsey – he made some movies in his late teens/early 20s, then had some years where he was under the radar and is now more popular than ever – in TV.

  11. chartreuse Says:

    Thanks for the review. I’ll Tivo an episode. Thanks for dropping in and giving your perspective. You’re always welcome.
    I visited your blog and saw that you are a screenwriter. Now that sounds delicious. :)

  12. Clyde Smith Says:

    So were you behind the Army of One campaign?

    The recruiter said it would all be about me and I’d get to enjoy the sun and sand!

    I can’t wait to be part of the new personalized military.

    See you when I get back!

  13. chartreuse Says:

    That’s an old but campaign but a good one. Hard to believe YOU fell for it though. :) Be All You Can Be, Clyde. I’ll keep the lights on for ya!

  14. christina Says:

    Chartreuse – I like your blog! I’ll come back.

  15. Puthzel.com Says:

    This is an nice blog… Thanks for sharing your informations…

    http://puthzel.com

    Thanks…


  16. [...] Chartreuse drives the point home further . [...]

  17. range Says:

    7 seconds away rocked.


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