Unfortunately, I didn’t get to write the piece that I wanted to this week. Campus has just started and its been possibly the most ridiculous first week back that I’ve had thus far. So this week I’ve settled for a piece I wrote about a month ago shortly after my Bus Strat exam. It was written to parody those verbose business reviews where some journalist fawns over an entrepreneur like he’s God gift to mankind (our case study was on Amazon’s Jeff Bezos). It also parodies my friend who’s not really crazy about technology. Thank God he doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter :P.
Tyron Fowler: Actuarial Innovator by Imran Lorgat
Tyron Fowler studies hard. This should come as no surprise to his many contemporaries and admirers but as this journalist sits in his chair and takes down notes, another side of the CEO of AKSYE Technologies comes into view. Fowler leans back casually in his chair and takes a sip of his Coke before propping it down on his desk. Known as a stern man and a harsh critic by many, Fowler’s lack of tie and popped collar speak of a man who cares as much about style as he does about success and who knows how let his hair down once in a while.
And the young South African CEO has a lot to be happy about. AKSYE recently launched its newest tablet, the Spindle Classic, to much fanfare and critical acclaim, tearing up the South African market with its innovative design and ground-breaking price point.
“I’m not a fan of technology,” Fowler says with a coy smile, leaning back in his chair, “Cell phones, e-mails, electronic microwaves; all of that stuff is rubbish.”
And Fowler’s controversial philosophies really do come through in his products. Unlike more advanced tablets like the Apple iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tablet, the Spindle Classic has no software to speak off. It’s a sleek well designed miniature whiteboard, outfitted with a marker and a cleaning cloth, that’s small enough to fit in one’s pocket.
“People don’t need all these complicated apps,” Fowler tells me nonchalantly as he leans back in his chair, “They’re superficial, confusing and take up too much time. If you spend all day checking your Facebook you’re probably never going to get anything done. That’s why with the Spindle Classic, we took it back to basics. Just a whiteboard, a marker and a cleaning cloth. Nothing complex.”
And while many of his competitors are pointing fingers at him and labelling him as a technological nihilist, consumers couldn’t be bothered. The Spindle Classic launched last week at an unbelievable price point of $5, making it $324 less costly than the cheapest iPad. In the wake of downturned economy, consumers have flocked to the AKSYE’s new tablet. The Spindle Classic sold nearly 5 million units in its opening weekend and beating out the iPad 4 by a considerable distance.
“Technology just causes problems,” Fowler elaborates with a sophisticated wave of his hand, “Our tablet gives no software problems, never breaks, costs nothing to use and even a five year old could figure out how to use it.”
Already the Spindle Classic II is under development and is expected to be on store shelves early next year with different colour markers being rumoured as the next big feature. AKSYE also has plans to release the Spindle Note later in the year, a stack of lined pages stuck together which experts are affectionately calling the ‘Notebook 2.0’.
“It really is a call back to the days when people used to write things down with a pencil and a page,” Fowler informs me while examining his sleekly manicured nails as he leans back in his chair, “We’re just supplying the pencil and the page; it’s the next logical step.”
Fowler, already being called the ‘guru’ of innovation by his South African contemporaries is a breath of fresh air to a country starved of innovation and technological progress. Already he is being touted as the ‘South African Steve Jobs’ by the press. Two unauthorized biographies are set to be released later in the year on Fowler’s rise to fame namely: Fowl Play: the Story of an Actuarial Innovator and Fowler’s Five Forces for a Fantastic Firm. Fowler has refused to comment on these books but the look of disdain on his face (as he leans back in his chair) tells this journalist that he does not approve.