It happens to the best of us. We plan for the worst, do all of our due diligence, prepare for the unexpected, test and re-test and cross our fingers a lot. But inevitably, there is always something that we didn’t think of. I could be talking about the recent Amazon Web Services outage or the napping by the Air Traffic Controllers, unfortunately, this time, it is regarding Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN) security breach. Over the past few days, PSN has been down (bringing out complaints from my kids who are just DYING to get more community levels for Little Big Planet 2) and the world seems to be up in arms. I hear my little voices at home complaining, but Sony is hearing lots and lots of big voices yelling and screaming now. I explained to my children what was going on, and they understood. I love their innocence and compassion for Sony as they simply feel sad that their gaming experience has been “grounded” for a bit. PSN users at large are a different challenge.
The avalanche of complaints and disgruntled commentary spewing out from concerned PlayStation Network users is upon us. I’ve read quite a lot of random rants on Facebook and am not surprised by any of them. This is the typical groundswell that surrounds anything negative that occurs. Rarely do we hear positive statements come from those same people. It’s much easier to complain and bitch about something than it is to say something positive.
The funny thing is, it takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown.
I wish people could try to smile a bit prior to putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboards. Perhaps we would then have more positivity flowing through the interwebs.
And how is it that the malicious activity of a few bring out the worst in many. Yes, the breach that occurred is severe in nature; we all understand that. And yes, we do entrust a lot to those services we pay for or the products we buy and we have a certain level of expectations in return for these products or services. And these expectations are frequently set very high. Case in point: Apple’s recent issue related to the tracking of iPhone users without their knowledge. Everyone jumped to criticize them for violating our privacy. And, quickly forgotten is the fact that they have literally invented new marketplaces that we didn’t know we had a need for and been incredibly successful at it (e.g.; iTunes, iPod, iPhone, iPad, need I go on). But no, we are focused on the recent negativity – whatever is the current “hot” topic. If by tracking my behavior and location will make the Apple products that I purchase better, then I have no issue, provided they aren’t egregious violations of my privacy. Research (and mistakes) make things better and learn from our missteps (hopefully).
Sony is no different. Sony is a company of innovation and entertainment. Countless hours are spent by kids and adults alike immersing themselves in raw fun. Game playing, for example, is an escape from reality, something this day and age we definitely need. But Sony doesn’t just do gaming. From laptops to games to movies to music to TVs to cameras to…well electronics and entertainment in general, Sony has been and continues to be a leader in the space. Sometimes they beat to a different drum and produce unexpected products that don’t quite fit the standard mold. But typically they also provide technology and entertainment that we use and love on a daily basis.
How quickly we forget that. Remember the CD? That was Sony driving a new vision. How about the Walkman? Definitely a precursor to the iPod (I often mistakenly call our iPod a Walkman, even to this day.) They pioneered the videocassette recorder and introduced the Sony Betamax VCR in 1969 – dare I say the ancestor to the TiVo and DVR. Their visions have helped craft many of the everyday objects that today we take for granted.
So, to those who are quick to criticize Sony for the malicious actions of third parties who do hack or crack for commercial, criminal gains, or just for fun, I ask you to just take a moment and think back about any Sony product that you had or still use. Of the amount of time that you used it, how much of it was enjoyable? Yes, sure, we all have gripes about things – we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. However, I’m guessing that the hours of fun or entertainment or productivity or creativity that you obtained by using your Sony product (or service – think gaming, movies and music) far outweigh those times of frustration or anger.
I have gotten upset about brands or products plenty of times. And I started out as a fan of them but when they falter and refuse to acknowledge their faults, my attitude does change. Take my Honda issues, for example. Or how badly TiVo responded to a customer support issue of mine. Heck, I even disliked the initial Sony Bloggie when it came out, but have been very pleased ever since they went back to the drawing board and came out with the next generation ones that improved or corrected faults that were pointed out to them.
Sony is in a hard place right now, but they do have our interests at heart. They disclosed these issues and are addressing them head on. In the end, they want to create a compelling product or service. They want to make us laugh and have fun. Sure, these products and services will make them money if they do them right…but that is what businesses do, and with the money they earn, they will invest in the creation of new products or services. I’m personally looking forward to see what Sony will bring to market, it will be exciting and innovative and original, I wouldn’t expect anything otherwise.
Hang in there Sony. You may be going through a rough patch right now and you will probably pass through a painful period as you work to regain the confidence of your users and customers, but things will get better, and people will once again, sing your praises. Remember, you have plenty of supporters out there. I, for one, am one of them.
Disclosure Text: I have done work with Sony in the past and have received products from them that I am not expected to return or have returned. However, all my posts are my opinions and are not audited or edited by Sony (or any other people for that matter). I was NOT asked to write this post by Sony, I just did it on my own volition. I have not received any compensation for writing this content. More information can be found in my About page as well as here.
HTD says: Remember, it takes a lot more class to say something nice and help them to their feet when someone is down than it does to simply kick them. And, as I tell me kids repeatedly: “If you aren’t going to say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.”
While Sony has in fact been an innovative company and continue to do so (see their Tablets they just announced?) I feel that they completely messed this one up.
My son came and told me that something was broken with our PS3 the other night so I went to look at it. Couldn’t figure out what was wrong, went to the web only to find that others were having the same problem but no one knew what was up. Days go by and pretty much the same.
Then suddenly after almost a week Sony announces that they’ve been hacked and that everyone’s data is compromised. I go to immediately change my password on their site and that is down as well.
Sony may innovate, but their communications in handling this has been piss poor so far in my professional opinion. Far too little information coming out of them far to slow for my tastes.
KD Paine wrote a great post about this at http://kdpaine.blogs.com/themeasurementstandard/2011/04/can-the-reputation-of-sony-be-saved.html if curious. She really spells it out rather straight forward.
I totally respect that CC. It’s a fine line to walk between under communication and over communication and what exactly to communicate. Sometimes because of an investigation, you simply cannot disclose more nor can you respond to questions. If you disclose and engage too much, your messaging becomes open to interpretation and gets off target.
I wholeheartedly agree that Brands need to be much more engaging with consumers, that is part of the reason why we, as bloggers, are there…to keep them on their toes. Some companies do this incredibly well, others less so. But when it comes to criminal matters, there is a protocol that has to be followed, and followed strictly, and frequently, it errs on being less communicative than we are used to as consumers.
That is a good post by KD Paine.
The funny thing is, my kids as well, were the ones who notified me of issues with PSN, funny how that works!