After Murph and I were somewhat unkind in last week's TidBITS about the UG-TV presentation, I think it is only fair to print Rye Livingston's (a User Group Connection honcho of sorts) reply to all the comments that he'd received. This fits in with our TidBITS policy of "subjective, but fair." If I don't like something, I'll say so without hesitation, but I'd better back up what I say and allow reasonable rebuttal or I'm being unfair. For those of you who saw the UG-TV presentation (or have idea on it), please do send Rye mail telling him what you think. If Apple is going to provide a user Group Connection at all, the least we can do is support their efforts to help us.
Rye Livingston writes,
Thanks for your input and keep it coming...really! Your comments will decide if we do another broadcast, and if we do what the content and format will include.
We have been getting mixed reviews on the different segments of the UG-TV broadcast, and have learned a lot. Everyone agrees that the tour bus could have gone off a cliff in the beginning of the show and we all would have been better off. We were concerned about that bit too and you just confirmed our suspicions. Why was it in there in the first place you might ask? We were listening to the people who make these kinds of shows for a living, but they don't know User Groups.
Now of course that would have only taken care of the "tour group", and we did receive all kinds of comments on every other aspect of the show. Some liked the roughness of not having professionals host the show and others wanted it more polished with hired actors. Some really liked the demos, some said they were flat. However, for every negative comment we have received at least four have been positive. Of course we did get 100% confirmation on how bad the tour group was...RIP.
There have been a number of comments concerning new product announcements. This broadcast was never positioned as a product introduction event. Magazines may have articles on upcoming Apple products, but we are not allowed to talk about them. If you look back at all the UG-TV announcements that we published and articles in MacWEEK and Computer Reseller News, there was no mention of introducing new products. If that was your expectation, then it is not surprising you were disappointed.
To set the record straight on the Q&A, it was scheduled to be 30 minutes long. It worked in rehearsal too, but when we were approaching the end of the show there was only 12 minutes for Q&A. This was very disappointing for everyone because we knew it was a cornerstone to the success of the show.
We were also trying to use America Online as a means to communicate during the Q&A but it didn't work. Someone pointed out that I was sending signs to the director during the end of the show and he was right. I was writing "??? from AOL", trying to get that aspect going.
We attempted this TV broadcast for you, the User Group member. We could take the safe conservative route and continue with our monthly mailings thank you, but that isn't really the Apple way. We tried something that has never been done before, and what makes it even more difficult is the different cross section of people who were watching the show; Community groups, Education, Corporate and Government groups. Unfortunately you can't make everyone happy.
Apple has the most aggressive and comprehensive User Group program in the computer industry. A TV broadcast to the User Group community had never been tried before and thankfully most of you are seeing the big picture of what we tried to do; communicate with User Groups through new and innovative mediums. We gave it a shot and most of you are telling us that for our first try it was good. We have learned a lot! With your constructive input, we hope to try it again next year and make it better, a lot better!
Rye Livingston, User Group Connection