Do we really appreciate scale? Two different examples; The Red Cross and Apple

This morning I was confronted by two completely separate things that made me think about the sheer size of their respective worlds. The first example is centered around the logistics of just one of the operations of the aftermath of mother natures wrath in New Orleans. Naturally one has heard the stories of the New Orleans populous being displaced all around the country with many of them in hotels, filling every single room. Have you given any thought on how these people are paying for their rooms? I hadn't. Charity can only go so far and housing tens of thousands of people has a real cost associated with it. Step in the RedCross, who are footing the bills for all the hotel rooms.

MSNBC has an interesting story on the logistics of this operation citing that the RedCross are footing the bills for around 57,000 people. Assuming you can prove that your house was within one of the official zipcodes the RedCross are funding for, they will cover your hotel bill for up to $100 per night. Very little paperwork is required for both parties (hotelier and resident) and the whole system by in large is running on trust (if you do visit the link to the MSNBC site, I find it ironic that the advert in the middle of the story is for mortgages!). Another thing I learnt, which again, I never thought of it, that if your house burns down, then generally speaking it will be the RedCross that will help you with hotels and getting your life back together again. My mother has worked for the RedCross as a volunteer for years now and I really ought to ask her just the range of things they do. I have donated many things to the RedCross over the years and I am even more impressed at the range of activities they get involved in. I have new found respect for the charity organizations.

The other example concerns something completely different. This week the technical and blog world have been a buzz on the latest releases from Apple, their iTunes enabled phone and the new iPod Nano. The big disappointment was surrounding the mobile phone that everyone has been expecting. It disappointed many. The community had set high expectations for this device and were completely let down when it looked just like another mobile phone as oppose to a cool click Apple award-winning-design device.

I read a good report about some of the reasons behind this from John Shinal's piece from MarketWatch. He argues that Apple shouldn't and probably couldn't compete in the vast mobile manufacturing space. For example, only 20million iPODs have been made and at times Apple has struggled even with this production schedule. But in the mobile space this is what the likes of Nokia churn out every month. EVERY MONTH! Do Apple really want to get into the market and risk so much? Probably not. Again, this was another thing the vast majority of armchair Apple experts don't quite get the scale and size of the problem Apple could be facing. After all, they aren't a mobile phone company, they are just coming to terms to being a music company instead of a computer company.

Scale ... its a big thing!


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