Recently Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. took to the floor to discuss one of the major causes of unemployment, the iPad. He made claims that the device almost single-handedly caused the demise of newspaper industry, college textbook manufacturing and the Borders bookstore chain. You can see the video of his remarks here. His remarks were so off base I figured that he must not received the primer document from his staff on talking points before he took the floor that day. So I decided to write one for him so that we can be sure his statements are consistent next time.
1. The iPad is one of the biggest reasons for unemployment: Actually the previous presidential administration is the biggest reason for the unemployment rates we have now. The technology and telecommunications sector is one of the few areas where jobs are in still in high demand. Also the digital age has lowered the barrier to entrepreneurship and allowed people to create million dollar businesses from their home that can be distributed on devices like the iPad.
2. The iPad is ruining the textbook publishing industry because now colleges are planning to deliver textbook s digitally instead of on paper: Actually Paper textbooks have a few issues. They are outdated as soon as they are printed, they are expensive and we kill trees to produce them. A digital textbook can be a living document because it can link out to current supplemental information. It can be setup to update as the information needs to be changed and allows student’s almost instant access to them via downloads. They will reshape learning for the better.
3. The iPad is the reason the print industry is failing: The print industry has been on the decline as the world becomes more in tune with the real time nature of the Internet. The companies that have been hit the worst are the ones who refuse to evolve to adapt to this medium. There are great examples of companies who have altered this business model to adapt such as the New York Times and the Rupert Murdoch’s the Daily. Small minority newspapers have the biggest opportunity because they can quickly move to a digital platform and be on par with the mainstream publishers. These wireless devices are equalizers.
4. The iPad is the reason the Borders stores are closing: Actually no one went to the borders stores even before the iPad came out. They have struggled to compete with Barnes and Noble for years now. Also the world has evolved, they have not. B&N saw the digital age coming and created the Nook. Which is now a top seller while Borders started selling readers no one heard of or wanted.
5. I have to practice what I preach: I can’t disparage a device that I user regularly and see the benefit for myself. More importantly I can’t go on record about how great the device is a show short time before I know I’m going to criticize them. That would see hypocritical and send the wrong message to the people who I could I actually help see the benefit of wireless access to the Internet. I also can’t carry an iPad and Kindle around and expect people to take me seriously when I bad mouth them.