A Better Way to Track Device Sales

To all of my readers and to all makers and seller of products:

You may think that quoting random sales statistics is a great way to share a device’s success with the masses, but in actuality it is a piss poor method. Let me tell you why: “I have sold 100% of all iPad 2s that I have in stock.” Do you get why that is a meaningless statement? Do you get why saying that sales are up 100 fold year over year is stupid? Because if you only had one to sell, or if you sold none the year before, then these relative terms are pretty stupid. Along the same lines saying that ‘we couldn’t make enough’ is a pretty poor statement. What if you were only making 100 iPhones a year — then that changes everything, but if you are making 100 ever half second then that changes the meaning again.

Here is how I gauge if a product is popular and selling well — which in turn means it will survive — I ask myself if I have seen normal people using the device, in the real world. I knew the iPad was a hit the moment I started seeing people that seem like technophobes using the device. The moment grandparents started buying iPads, is the moment I knew that the iPad was a massive hit.

Likewise I know the Tab is a failure because I have yet to see one in public — literally speaking I have never seen one outside of my possession in public. So when I read that 15% of Tab buyers are returning the device — guess what — I am not surprised.

Originally posted for members on: February 2, 2011
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