Steve Jobs: The Ghost in the Machine?

By Carl Weiss

Image courtesy of imagesandspaces.com
Even though it's been more than 3 years since the death of Apple Computer co-founder Steve Jobs, his presence is still felt in the industry he helped start. Whether you use a PC, a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone, there is some of Steve Jobs inside these devices. If you buy music online, Jobs was responsible for revolutionizing the way that music is bought and sold online. He even had a hand in bringing digital animation to fruition with his acquisition of Pixar. When it comes to revolutionizing the technological world in which we live, you'd be hard pressed to find an area in which Steve did not have an impact. In this article from  Working the Web to Win we will look at how different the world would be had he not come along, as well as how his legacy is likely to continue for decades to come.

Gone but not Forgotten

At Apple Computer, Steve Jobs is gone but not forgotten.  While it would be hard to forget their iconic co founder, even 3 years after his death, it is as though Steve had just stepped out for lunch.  That’s due in part to the fact that Jobs had his hand in so much of what we consider to be high tech today.  From iTunes to iPhones and from desktop publishing to reading our news and magazines from a tablet instead of paper, his spirit lives on in the products they make, sell and use. Even future products will always be measured by the success of his legacy products.

Of course, there is one other reason why anyone who visits Apple Computer corporate headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, California would have the impression that Steve is due back at any moment. That’s due to the fact that his office has remained virtually untouched since his departure.  His nameplate still graces the door.  When asked why during a March 18, Washington Post interview, Apple CEO Tim Cook responded,

Courtesy of fastcodesign.com

I haven’t decided about what we’ll do there. But I wanted to keep his office exactly like it was. What we’ll do over time, I don’t know. I didn’t want to move in there. I think he’s an irreplaceable person and so it didn’t feel right . . . for anything to go on in that office. So his computer is still in there as it was, his desk is still in there as it was, he’s got a bunch of books in there. His name should still be on the door. That’s just the way it should be. That’s what felt right to me.”
That could change in a year, when Apple’s new flying saucer-shaped headquarters is completed.  But what will not change is the large footprint and lasting legacy of one of the titans of microcomputing.  In their just released book, “Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader," authors Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli document Jobs’ triumphs and travails. While a visionary, Steve had what amounted to blinders on in a number of circumstances that cost him big.

One of the first was a unilateral decision he made in 1984 to air an Orwellian 60-second spot during the Super Bowl without consulting the board until the day before it was scheduled to air.  According to the book, the board was so horrified that they sold one of their spots so that the ad only appeared once during the game.


Shortly after that, Steve decided it was time to reinvent the personal computer, the market for which was becoming glutted since the introduction of the IBM PC and its many clones. Taking $50 million of the company’s money, Steve assembled a team of the best and brightest at Apple and created what he thought would be the next leap forward in personal computing technology.  Called Lisa, the computer was released in January of 1984 priced between $3,495 and $5,495. Even though the system was well ahead of its time, commercially its launch was hailed as a failure, one that would ultimately cost Jobs his job.   

Failure Never Stopped Steve Jobs

Courtesy of en.wikipedia.org
This failure did not deter Jobs, who along with several other ousted Apple employees went onto start NeXT Computer, Inc. in 1995.  While NeXT only sold around 50,000 units and was ultimately absorbed by Apple for $429 million, several of the concepts developed at NeXT were incorporated into later Apple systems, including parts of the OS X and IOS operating systems.  During his hiatus from Apple, Steve Jobs also dabbled with another company called Pixar, in which even George Lucas had lost faith.  Pixar would later go onto produce a number of animated features some of which would receive Academy awards.  Jobs also clearly had a bead on the NeXT big trend of the 1990’s which he referred to as interpersonal computing that would soon appear with an eerily similar moniker: The Internet. 

Steve’s Return to Apple

While Steve Jobs returned to Apple, after running another computer company he started called NeXT, a man named Gil Amelio was the CEO of Apple. The company was a disaster at this point, and Jobs didn't think very highly of him — in fact, he thought he was a bozo.  
To signal his displeasure, Jobs dumped all but one of the shares he had gotten for selling NeXT to Apple without telling anyone. He had one share, so he was still able to attend Apple's annual meeting, "but the sale was a high-decibel vote of no confidence," write the authors. "Amelio felt stabbed in the back, as he was."    Read more at businessinsiders.com 
Courtesy of extremetech.com
How Steve Brought Apple Back

More importantly, immediately upon his return as CEO, Steve’s first job was to replace nearly everyone on Apple’s board.  You have to remember that Steve was absent from Apple for eleven years, during which time the company had floundered.  Within two years Jobs had brought Apple back from the brink of near bankruptcy.  In 1998, Steve started debuting a number of revolutionary new products, including the   iMac,  iPod, iPhone, and iPadHe also initiated the service side of the business by opening a chain of Apple Retail Stores and two new etailers,  iTunes Store and the Apple Store.  As a result, by 2011 Apple became the world’s most valuable publicly traded companies. Unfortunately, that was also the last year of Steve Jobs life.  That doesn’t mean he waited until the last minute to make sure that his legacy was preserved. 
Steve's Why
"Steve cared deeply about the why," current Apple CEO Tim Cook told authors Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzelii. "The why of the decision. In the younger days I would see him just do something. But as the days went on he would spend more time with me and with other people explaining why he thought or did something, or why he looked at something in a certain way. This was why he came up with Apple U., so we could train and educate the next generation of leaders by teaching them all we had been through, and how we had made the terrible decisions we made and also how we made the really good ones.
Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue, noted that Jobs was "working his ass off till the end, in pain," using morphine to remain functional. In his final years Jobs began accelerating preparations to leave the company in a good shape, including founding Apple University, but also talking with Cook about what would happen after his death.

"He didn't want us asking, 'What would Steve do?' He abhorred the way the Disney culture stagnated after Walt Disney's death, and he was determined for that not to happen at Apple," according to Cook."
Summoning Tim Cook to his home on August 11, 2011, Steve passed him the torch by naming Tim
Image courtesy of Forbes.com
as his successor.  But even that meeting demonstrated Jobs unwillingness to give up the ghost.
“Cook remarked to the biography's authors.  "I thought then that he thought he was going to live a lot longer when he said this, because we got into a whole level of discussion about what would it mean for me to be CEO with him as a chairman. I asked him, 'What do you really not want to do that you're doing?'" 


Apple's Stock is better than Ever

While his passing did have a short term negative impact on Apple’s stock price that briefly fell 5%, the company Steve founded is today stronger than ever. In March 2011, Fortune Magazine named Steve Jobs the “greatest entrepreneur of our time.”  Other posthumous honors included the Grammy Trustees Award, inducted as a Disney Legend, along with a bronze statue in Budapest commissioned by the Graphisoft company and a memorial that was erected in 2013 in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Suffice it to say while the corporeal form of Steve Jobs will only be with us via YouTube and previously televised interviews, his undying spirit and lifelong list of  technological accomplishments will continue to haunt the industry that he helped spawn. 

In this article, I explained how the innovating spirit of Steve Jobs permeates many of the  high tech products we love and use today. I cover the many facets of  our world that were touched by Jobs innovation. I show how, even though he is gone, Apple corporation will continue  to build products based on the ideas and the way of thinking that Steve Jobs imbued his company.

If you like this article, you can find more by typing “innovation” in the search box at the top left of this blog. If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below. 




Carl Weiss is president of Working the Web to Win, an award-winning digital marketing agency based in Jacksonville, Florida.  You can listen to Carl live every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern on BlogTalkRadio 

The Write Stuff – How to Blog & Make a Profit


Most people who work the web realize that blogs and social posts are two of the best ways to promote themselves and their business. The problem is that even the best prose can easily get lost in the vastness of the Internet. In this article, we're going to explore a number of ways that anyone can create, grow and engage an audience. Even better, I'll introduce you to a number of resources that you can use to enhance and even monetize your online content. If you think you have the "write stuff," then keep reading and get ready to absorb the knowledge from this week’s, Working the Web to Win.

When it comes to generating results online, most people still act as though a website is the be-all, end-all of Internet marketing.  That kind of thinking is so 20th century.  Sure, before the year 2000, there were only two things you needed to succeed online: a website and a search engine.  Fifteen years later, not only is this clearly not the case, in some cases you don’t even need a website to generate results.

English: a chart to describe the search engine...
English: a chart to describe the search engine
 market (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When you consider that it takes from four to six months on average for a website to work its way up the food change onto the first page of the major search engines, this isn’t always the best route to success for many businesses.  Sad to say it, but 99% of websites never make it onto Page One.  In the first place, a website only represents 25% of the criteria that search engines use to determine ranking.  The other 75% consists of off-page media, including blogs, social networks, and videos.  Unless you have the time or money to post relevant content to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blogger and YouTube on a regular basis, then your chances of making it to the top of the search engines is slim to none.

However, that doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel.  Especially if your resources are limited, it's sometimes a better course of action to choose your battles and start growing your web presence on the installment basis.   One of the quickest ways you can create a growing audience that you can sell to is by blogging.

Blogger Ain’t Your Daddy’s Blog

Courtesy of gallople.com
Started on August 23, Blogger was originally created in San Francisco by three contract programmers during the dot-com boom.  When dot-com became dot-bomb, Blogger barely survived the shake out.  Then Google came calling in 2003 and bought Blogger.  Since that time, Blogger has seen quite a few changes.  Today’s platform allows users to do much more than merely post blogs. Fully fledged, a writer can do everything with Blogger that they can do with a website, including:

  • Post text
  • Embed videos
  • Include banner ads
  • Host forms
  • Create subsidiary pages
  • Add backlinks
  • Automatically resize to any platform
  • Generate a loyal following

Even more importantly, as soon as you click on the "publish" button, the Google bots will index your blog.  This means that a properly optimized blog post could wind up on Page One of Google in as little as a few hours.  Try doing that with a website.

Face it, the reason anyone builds a website is to get found on the web.  The problem with that idea is that the current search engines have a monopoly and they tightly exerted their control as to what get exposed. There are only approximately 15 to 20 listing positions (per search engine) on the three biggest search engines, Google, Yahoo and Bing. That makes trying to get a page one listing very hard to accomplish. 

But what if there was a way to generate the same or even better exposure for your business without having to rely on search engines at all?  In fact, what if I could show you a way to generate a bigger audience and increased conversion without the use of a website.  Would that interest you?

Stats for a Strong Website

Courtesy of www.torsionmobile.com
Before I do that, let’s take a look at the best case search engine scenario.  Let’s say for the sake of argument that you woke up one morning to find your website in position 1, page 1 on Google.  Let’s also assume that it was for a highly coveted keyword or phrase that produces 10,000 relevant searches per month.  Sounds good doesn’t it?  Well, it should, because on average the top organic listing on Google generates nearly two thirds of the clicks that go to that page.  So your website would receive around 6,500 clicks that month. 

That’s the good news.  The bad news is this,  just because your site generated a few thousand clicks doesn’t necessarily mean that it will generate a lead, a registration or a sale.  Far from it.  That’s because on average, a visitor to your site from a search engine is going to spend less than two minutes on your site before they either take action or click back to search.  After all, there are upwards of 20 listings on Page One of Google search from which to choose.

Unless your website fulfills a need, or contains an irresistible offer that compels the visitor to act, they're going to peruse several sites other than yours.  That’s the main reason people “google it” in the first place, to comparison shop.

We Don’t Need No Stinking Website!

Blog readers are a different breed of cat.  In the first place, blog readers spend, on average, twice the time on a blog as a visitor does when they a website.  They are interested in reading what you have to say.  Secondly, a well-written blog can not only make an impact on the reader, but it can also elevate the writer to the level of expert. That’s right, it raises your credibility!  Since it is important that a visitor know, like and trust you before they make a buying decision, you can convey much more authority with a timely blog than you can with even a highly targeted website.  Best of all, once immersed in your blog, the only subsidiary clicks available are not to competing bloggers, but to the other content contained on your site.  Just like your website, Blogger comes complete with analytics that can help you adjust your message, your subsidiary content and your offers. (Take a look at a snapshot of our readership below.)

 
Our Blog Stats as Of mid-March 2015

Currently, our blog is being read by almost 50,000 people per month.  This figure far exceeds the 6,500 clicks per month that our mythical website above achieved during the same period.  These blogs are well-read and our offers and ads produce results nearly every day.  Our readership was generated by writing an average of one blog every week for the past three years.  So this is something that anybody can do as long as they follow the ABCs of successful blog writing.

The A B Cs of Successful Blogging

A - Always intrigue the reader.  The last thing anyone wants to read is about your last board meeting or ad copy.  To create a following you need to answer a question, fulfill a need, or provide real value. A catchy title and lead paragraph are also a plus.  The objective is to inform and entertain at the same time.   (We refer to this as Infotainment.)
B – Bring your readers a great read.  We have found that the minimum copy for a great blog is 1,200 words or more.  Don’t short sheet your readers by penning only a few paragraphs.  Think magazine article, long copy or in-depth info as opposed to a fat tweet or short copy.  Your readers will thank you.
C – Create a sharing atmosphere.  Provide your audience with information that they can’t find anywhere else and they will treat you like an authority figure. Also make it easy to share your blog with others. Post it to your social nets daily so that your current following can stay current.

A few other must haves:
Courtesy of wordconstructions.com.au

1.      Keywords embedded in the title and text
2.      Backlinks to your website (if you have one)
3.      Brief bio of the writer at the end of the blog
4.      Appropriate images and/or videos embedded in the copy
5.      A clear offer or call to action

Then there is just one more task and that is to generate distribution.  The problem is if you write the world’s best blogs and no one reads them what you have created is a billboard in the desert.  Content marketing (a.k.a., business blogging) requires real dedication. While there are a number of ways to create an audience. There is pay per click and promoting your post.

Don’t forget the Social Nets

However, the two best ways to get the word out are by posting to your social nets and by working with other successful bloggers.  If you already have a substantial amount of followers on Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest and/or Google+, pushing your blog posts couldn’t be simpler.  That’s because at the bottom of your blog is the F, T, P and G that are created for you to do just that.  Simply point, click and add a comment on each of these icons to push your blog to your followers.

Team Teach is the Bomb

Courtesy of churchtecharts.squarespace.com
An even better way to generate a following is to pool your resources with fellow bloggers.  One of our award-winning services that we offer to clients is called Team Tech.  This is a peer-to-peer blogging club where members are matched with five bloggers from non-competing businesses.  Every week, these blog buddies are tasked with reading each other’s blog, adding an appropriate comment and then pushing member blogs to their social nets.  This creates instant readership, since their blogs are seen every week by thousands of readers who would otherwise have no way of seeing their blog. 

On top of that, we coach each team to make sure they are optimizing their blogs and acting in each other’s best interest. The last way we help them is by also getting in on the team spirit by sharing their blog post to our 65,000+ followers and the groups we belong to. This gives each of the team tech members an additional bump each week and really kick start their viewer growth.

The important thing is that with a little imagination, you can create an audience without having to duke it out on the search engines.  If you do have a website, adding a blog is a great source of Google Juice, since the world’s most popular search engine puts a premium on blogs that generate a substantial following.  You can also use these blogs to bolster your social networks as well, in essence killing two birds with one stone. All you have to do is apply the write stuff. 

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

If you would like to learn more about Team Tech or any of our 25 other marketing  services, call Carl or Hector at 904-410-2091.

In this article,I explained how you can use blog marketing in a more effective way than website search engine marketing. I have shown how even if a website is doing really well, a well setup quality blog can do even better because of the greater time people spend on the blog, the credibility it builds and the lack of competition on the blog itself. I have also provided the A, B, C's for effective blogging so that any newbie can learn how to produce great results.

If you like this article, you can find more by typing “blogging” in the search box at the top left of this blog. If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below. 





When he isn’t cooking up tasty stories online, Carl Weiss is CEO of Working the Web to Win, a digital marketing agency based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also the co-host of the online radio show of the same name on Blog Talk Radio. You can reach him at 904-410-2091 or email him at CarlW@workingthewebtowin.com.

Related articles

Eight Great LinkedIn Secrets Every Professional Needs to Know

Courtesy of www.huffingtonpost.com
By Hector Cisneros

LinkedIn was one of the very first social networks I joined.  Even in the beginning I felt LinkedIn was modeled after real business networks. Business professionals, small business owners and even CEO’s of large corporation’s find LinkedIn to be the go to resource for business today. Yet having said all that, most LinkedIn users never even try to take advantage of its many features. I have heard people say “it’s a lot to learn” or they feel overwhelmed by LinkedIn’s features. I call these features the “Eight Great LinkedIn Secrets”, not because someone would have to kill you if you learned about them – I say it because they are hidden in plain sight. Business professionals jump right over these features as if they weren’t there. Well, in today’s blog, I will spell out the features you need to understand and use. These must “know” features will get you in touch with the connections you seek and make your LinkedIn experience worthwhile every time you use it.

Dawn of the Drones

By Carl Weiss
Courtesy of www.internetlawcommentary.com

The military loves them, Amazon covets them and millions of civilians own them.  I’m talking about drones, otherwise known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).  Not since the dawn of manned flight more than 100 years ago, has a topic so enthralled the public and worried the federal government.  The FAA currently has its hands full trying to manage the booming airline industry where 21st century jumbo jets are still being vectored to all the cardinal points of the compass by 1970’s technology.  The last thing they want to have to wrestle with are potentially tens of thousands of UAVs crisscrossing the friendly skies.  It’s one of the things that give bureaucrats indigestion.

This Ain’t Your Granddaddy’s flying box kite. 


Ryan Firebee was a series of target drones/unm...
Ryan Firebee was a series of target drones/unmanned
aerial vehicles. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What most people don’t realize is that it was a bureaucrat by the name of William P. McCracken, Jr. that received the country’s first pilot’s license on April 6, 1927.  That was only a month and two weeks before Charles Lindbergh made the first solo crossing of the Atlantic on May 21.  As assistant Secretary of Commerce for Aeronautics, he had offered the honor of the first pilot’s license to none other than Orville Wright, who declined being that he no longer flew.  McCracken, who had earned his wings flying in the Army Air Corps during the First World War, followed by a stint flying mail, had helped enact the Air Commerce Act of 1926.  This legislation not only regulated the training and licensing of pilots, but it helped establish and manage airports, navigation aids, issue airworthiness certificates for aircraft and investigate accidents.  In short, it established the framework for the agency that would start off as the CAA and eventually evolve into the FAA we know to this day.

Fast Forward Nearly Ninety Years


Fast forward nearly ninety years and we have come to the dawn of a new age of aviation, brought about by the same military that introduced aviation to the masses way back when.  While relatively a recent innovation in the eyes of the public, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have been around for nearly as long as there have been aircraft.  The first pilotless aircraft were constructed from surplus military biplanes fitted with radio controls and packed with high explosives.  Kind of a poor man’s cruise missile, these aircraft were designed to be piloted to altitude, where the pilot would engage the radio-controlled autopilot before bailing out.  Then the plane would be flown by a pilot in another aircraft whose job it was to guide the plane to the target.  While initial tests were carried out during WWI, it wasn’t until WWII that the technology was deemed flight worthy.  Even then there were a number of accidents, such as the one that claimed the life of Joe Kennedy Jr. when his B-17 loaded with Torpex explosives detonated prematurely, killing Kennedy and his copilot, Lieutenant Wilford John Willy.

Courtesy of www.israeli-weapons.com
After the Second World War, UAVs saw use as everything from aerial targets to the first fledgling reconnaissance drones.  These spies in the sky were used extensively during the Vietnam War, with the USAF 100th Strategic Reconnaissance wing launching 3,435 Ryan Lightning Bugs that were used as aerial scouts.  (554 of these were lost during the war in Southeast Asia.)  But it wasn’t until the 1980’s that the military had an epiphany that gave them a whole new mindset when it came to embracing the true capabilities that UAVs represented.

It was the Israeli Air Force that took the next quantum leap, by using a fleet of Ryan Firebee drones they had purchased from the US to trick Egypt into firing off all their surface-to-air missiles at these UAVs at the outset of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.  This made routing the defenseless Egyptian’s seem like child’s play.  In 1982, the Israeli's soundly defeated the Syrian Air Force by once again using UAVs in a number of tactical roles, including being deployed as decoys, aerial jammers and surveillance birds.  Their Scout UAV was the first to transmit live video with a 360-degree view of the terrain below.    

During the first Gulf War, the US used Pioneer UAVs developed by Israel to observe Iraqi troop deployment.  In one famous incident, a Pioneer launched from the deck of the battleship USS Wisconsin, observed Iraqi troops surrendering following the bombardment of their trenches by the ship.  This led the US to develop a new class of military UAV starting with the Predator.  At first used exclusively as an observation platform, it didn’t take the military long to figure out that the Predator was a platform big enough to hand ordinance.  The armed version of the Predator, which can carry two Hellfire Missiles, was designated the Reaper.

Take me to your leader


Courtesy of www.popularmechanics.com
Suddenly all kinds of military contractors were creating all manner of UAVs from vertical takeoff quadcopters, to drones that could be carried onto the battlefield in a backpack by troops, to miniature bugbots that could stealthily infiltrate buildings, to world traveling autonomous UAVs that can stay airborne for days or even weeks at a time.  A number of these odd looking aircraft were mistaken for UFO's when spotted at low altitude by the public.

Ever since the 1950’s, UFOs have become common fodder in newspapers, on TV and in the movies.  In more than one motion picture, alien lifeforms descended from their spaceship only to demand, “Take me to your leader.”  While this has never happened in real life, it was only last month when our current Commander in Chief got a taste of what an alien invasion could be like when a UFO landed on the White House lawn.  That’s because on February 2, a DJI Phantom quadcopter crash landed in front of the White House.  The UAV in question, which was owned and operated by a US intelligence agency employee, purportedly malfunctioned.  The President, not to mention the Secret Service was not amused. 

Better Late Than Never?


With everyone from businesspeople to kids having access to an ever growing armada of consumer UAVs, you would think that the federal government would be rushing to legislate the training, operation and regulation of drones.  And you would be wrong.  The FAA’s rules for the operation and certification of drones are to date some four years late.  Originally the aviation authority had set a date of March 10, 2011 as the inception date for the establishment of regulations that among other things, would designate where, when and how high drones could fly.  But as of the date of this publication, the FAA is still asleep at the controls. 
Courtesy of defensetech.org

Sad to say it, but as drones of all shapes and sizes continue to proliferate, there is no way for a US citizen to obtain either a private or commercial drone pilot’s license.  Meanwhile the skies are quite literally abuzz with consumer drones.  Aside from rankling the President, there are clear safety issues associated with fleets of unregulated UAVs.  While military UAVs such as the predator are responsible for an increasing number of deaths, it is only a matter of time before a consumer drone causes, either intentionally or unintentionally, a fatality.

Unregulated Drones Being Flown by Untrained Pilots? 


Unregulated drones being flown by untrained pilots can easily come into conflict with civilian and commercial aircraft.  A number of consumer drones have the ability to fly hundreds or even more several thousand feet high.  Everything from helicopters to aircraft taking off and landing could be damaged or even brought down should a drone inadvertently stray into their flightpath.   (Everyone remembers how US Airways Flight 1549 was forced to ditch in the Hudson River in January 2009 when it crossed paths with a flock of geese.)

A blog from qz.com sums up public opinion best: “As the delays have mounted, drone enthusiasts have grown increasingly frustrated with the FAA. In a press conference this morning, transportation secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA administrator Michael Huerta both refused to say when they thought the new proposed rules might actually be implemented–probably because it could take years. Foxx and Huerta also dodged questions about how the FAA would even be able to know if rules are being violated. Huerta said the FAA’s first focus is on ensuring people know what the rules are.” 

Courtesy of www.slate.com
In the meantime, commercial drone operators have been flying on the edge of lawlessness.  To fly a UAV legally in this country currently requires a commercial operator to apply for and receive an exemption.  Since September 2014 the FAA has issued a grand total of two dozen exemptions to commercial operators.  This is a fraction of the 342 applications received.  Even more bizarre is the government’s current requirement that every applicant have a private pilot’s license.  Since there is a huge difference between flying a light plane and a drone, this is just another clear cut case of bureaucracy run amok. 

Far from being stymied by the Herculean task of studying the myriad of ways that commercial operators could employ UAVs, an internal FAA cost-benefit study recently leaked to the press only considered four uses for civilian aerial drones: aerial photography, search/rescue, bridge inspection and precision agriculture.  Clearly anything that saves lives or helps feed the world is a good thing. However, this particular study only covers the tip of the UAV iceberg. It just goes to show how ill-equipped the federal government is when it comes to dealing with the biggest innovation in civilian aviation since the Wright Brothers first flight.

Courtesy of www.suasnews.com
While civilian drones continue to literally fly off the shelves, the FAA effort seems to be all but grounded.  Two weeks ago, the agency proposed that commercial operators pass a written test every two years.  They also proposed restricting that commercial operators always maintain eye contact with their aircraft and that drones be restricted to an altitude of no more than 500 feet and a speed of no more than 100 mph.  They also wish to restrict drones to daylight hours and they want to keep them from flying over anyone not involved in their use.  This means that commercial operators would literally be precluded from flying over any place where crowds gather, which would mean that you can forget about using drones as delivery vehicles.  (Sorry Amazon.)

When it comes to enforcing the rules, that is another matter.  A recent article from the NY Times stated that, “Regardless of what the final rule says, the F.A.A. could find it difficult to enforce the regulation. It will have to rely on complaints from the public and local law enforcement. Also, the agency, which is in the middle of a major upgrade to the nation’s air traffic system to reduce congestion, may not have enough resources to monitor the thousands of drones that could take to the sky once this rule is finalized in the coming months. The agency has about 7,200 employees in its aviation safety division, a number that has not increased much in recent years.”

That there needs to be rules and regulations for the safe operation of civilian UAVs is obvious.  Civilian drones are here to stay.  As their prices continue to fall and their flight characteristics continue to climb it is clear that doing an ostrich impersonation is hardly going to make the problems inherent in the growing fleet of civilian drones go away.  All it makes you want to do is shake your head wonder what Orville and Wilbur would have made of it.


In this article I have described the revolution that is taking place with drones. I have explained how the military, the public and business fascination have turned these semi-automated flying instruments into everything from delivery boys, to spy’s to flying weapons. I father discuss how the regulations to control both and civilian, commercial devices is several years away. Let’s hope that the FAA adopts some of the more sensible rules that are mentioned in this article.

If you like this article, you can find more by typing “Drones or robots” in the search box at the top left of this blog. If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.




When he isn’t cooking up tasty stories online, Carl Weiss is CEO of Working the Web to Win, a digital marketing agency based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also the co-host of the online radio show of the same name on Blog Talk Radio. You can reach him at 904-410-2091 or email him at CarlW@workingthewebtowin.com.

Related articles