Big changes are always unpopular

John Gruber relates Apple’s decision to drop headphone jack to bigger issues:

“When we think of controversial decisions, we tend to think of both sides as creating controversy. Choose A and the B proponents will be angry; choose B and the A proponents will be angry. But when it comes to controversial change of the status quo, it’s not like that. Only the people who are opposed to the change get outraged. Leave things as they are and there is no controversy. The people who aren’t outraged by the potential change are generally ambivalent about it, not in a fervor for it. Strong feelings against change on one side, and widespread ambivalence on the other. That’s why the status quo is generally so slow to change, in fields ranging from politics to technology.”

I would not even describe myself as “ambivalent” about Apple’s decision to drop the headphone jack. Really, what it comes down to is I don’t give a darn. I switched to Bluetooth a couple of years ago. The only time I use that 3.5-mm jack is to connect the iPhone to the cassette adapter in my car. And a Bluetooth car adapter only costs $25-$40.

In politics, it takes a crisis to bring about big changes. When things are gradually declining — as they are now in the US — people want to just kick the problem down the road a little longer.

Bob “Happy Little Trees” Ross had  naturally straight hair 

He got his hair permed when he got out of the Air Force, and was unsuccessfully trying to make a living as a painter, says longtime business partner Annette Kowalski.

Danny Hajek, NPR:

“He got this bright idea that he could save money on haircuts. So he let his hair grow, he got a perm, and decided he would never need a haircut again,” Kowalski explains.

Before he could change it back, though, the perm became his company’s logo — Ross hated it. “He could never, ever, ever change his hair, and he was so mad about that,” Kowalski says. “He got tired of that curly hair.”

Ross was a meticulous businessman whose every move on his TV series “The Joy of Painting,” was scripted in advance. He did three copies of every painting he did on the show. His art supply company is still in business today, more than 20 years after his death, and the show is coming to Netflix.

Kowalski discovered Ross “in the aftermath of a family tragedy.” Her oldest son was killed in a traffic accident. All she could do afterward “was lay on the house and watch television.”

She watched a painter named Bill Alexander, who was big on PBS back then. Kowalski’s husband was desperate to get her out of the house, so he signed her up for Alexander’s painting class, 900 miles away in Clearwater, Fla. But then Alexander stopped teaching and passed his classes off to an unknown protege.

“I was very disappointed,” Kowalski says. “I so wanted to paint with Bill Alexander. But my husband said, ‘Get up. Get in the car. We’re going.’ ”

It was a five-day class in a hotel conference room. At the easel upfront was a guy with a perm who went by Bob. His paintings were good, but when he started talking to the class, that’s when Kowalski knew she had met someone special.

Apple’s exploding R&D budget foretells fundamental transformation in the future

Apple is planning its “largest pivot yet,” according to Apple analyst Neil Cybart on Above Avalon. Just as Apple went from a PC/iPod company to a phone company starting in 2007, it’s now on the verge of transforming from a phone company to … something else. Apple is on track to spend more than $10 billion in R&D in 2016, up nearly 30% from 2015 and from a little over $3 billion just four years ago.

Cybart thinks Apple is going to become an electric car company.

Apple R&D Reveals a Pivot is Coming– Neil Cybart, Above Avalon