The Seven Deadly Sins

August Man SG|Issue 152

The Seven Deadly Sins
Everyone in the tech space is guilty of missteps at some point. Here are the seven cardinal ones that we can’t wait to be rid of... forever
Jamie Tan

SLOTH

Sometimes, sloth takes over and a product isn’t adequately tested before it’s released into the wild with crippling flaws. Every tech firm is guilty of this at some point(s). Just think back to the iPhone 4 and its two exposed antennas, which would lose their signal and drop calls should a user bridge them by touching the lower left edge of the phone with their fingers.

Apple initially passed this off as a nonissue, even going as far as to suggest that people should hold their phones a different way, but capitulated some time later and offered a free bumper case with every iPhone 4 to insulate the phone from its owner. The fix is trivial – a little piece of masking tape would provide the same insulating effect – but the underlying flaw isn’t. Such an Achilles’ heel could surely have been uncovered during tests?

Apple is far from alone (and far from the worst) though. From Samsung’s first Galaxy Fold to Microsoft’s Windows ME, the tech space is littered with numerous products that have failed before they hit the market. It’s a shame, because these firms generally hold themselves to higher standards, and because consumers deserve better. Surely we can afford to wait for a mature product?

GLUTTONY

Gluttony concerns overindulgence, and nowhere is this more apparent that the myriad payment platforms that are plaguing us now. GrabPay. Alipay. Google Pay. Apple Pay. Samsung Pay. KrisPay. Razer Pay. These payment gateways don’t even constitute 20 per cent of the ones available in Singapore, and more are set to arrive.

For a firm with the critical mass and expertise necessary to create a proprietary e-wallet – essentially an exclusive closed loop payment system like your EZ-Link card – there are numerous advantages to doing so. For a start, it generates cash flow. Just think of how much you top up your GrabPay wallet each time, and what Grab does with the balance that’s unspent. Insight is another advantage; a closed loop gives its firm primary data on metrics such as customer demographics and spending habits. Finally, there’s customer loyalty, created (or enforced) by this deepened relationship.

Consumers, however, are saddled with various e-wallets that must be managed separately. This flips the promised advantage of greater convenience on its head to leave the consumer in a worse position. Just consider the alternative: would you be any worse off in terms of convenience, safety, or privacy, should all these payment platforms be replaced by a single Visa credit card?

GREED

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Issue 152