How the game-changing game has changed for game-changers

It comes to my notice that Google has launched a phone. But not just any old phone: Google has launched a game-changing phone. I’m not sure that anyone has explained to me the specific game that mobile phone companies are playing (though if my recent experience with Orange Mobile Broadband is any guide, one version of the rules is called Shaft The Customer), but 147 articles in the telecommunications press recently have decribed Google as changing some game or other.

This is, lest we forget, after Apple has already changed the same game. The 249 articles which describe Apple in the same way peaked in 2007, so we must assume in this case that Google is re-re-changing the game that Apple re-changed after Nokia changed it after someone else invented it. Or something like that.

When we look at telecommunications in general, few games have been left unchanged in the last two or three years. Around 2002 or 2003 it was very unusual to find anything in the telecommunications press that claimed to change any game at all. We had 30 times as many game-changers in 2009, compared to what we would have expected had game-changingness remained at 2002 levels:

It isn’t just telecommunications in which companies are claiming to have altered the game as soon as the previous permutation of the earlier mutation of the last modification has taken effect. Here’s the trend in the business press, where we find companies that change games about half as frequently, but with a similar upward trend. In 2009 we got only about 20 times as much game-changingness as we would have expected, taking 2002 as our base:

Part of this is journalistic over-stimulation: the increasing resemblance of business reporting to a Mexican soap opera. So given that some reporters are willing to write up the opening of a jar of pickle as potentially game-changing, marketers are helping by using the term game-changing to play the most important media game of all: the game of Pump Up What Your Employer Does To Make It Sound More Important Than Selling A Product. You might say that their use of game-changing has, in itself, been game-changing. If you wanted me to slap you, that is.

4 Responses to “How the game-changing game has changed for game-changers”

  1. 1 Adam Gray January 6, 2010 at 1:13 pm


    We met at the ecademy event in London the other month, hello again.

    I’ve just read this article, and it’s the best thing I’ve read for ages and ages.

    Thanks for brightening my day!

    Keep well.


  2. 2 Tim Phillips January 6, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Thanks Adam! You can definitely come here again.

    Keep warm


  3. 3 Kate Greenwood January 6, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    mmmmmmm I’ve noticed that over the last 4 years a lot of Essex companies phone numbers have 666 in them, including Authorities, banks and Business Support Agencies. I don’t know whether we should be worried!?! I know I don’t like using them, superstition / religion etc is strong round our parts. Maybe you have some insight into the topic? Maybe this is part of the big game plan????

  4. 4 Steve Gledhill January 10, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    I understand that in the short term Vodafone will have the sole rights to GoogleFone. That must be a thousand times better than the rubbish Vodafone Blackberry Storm.

    Shame that the iPhone is only available on the inferior networks.

    One day the restrictive practices will go.

    I try all these new revolutionary phones (for free of course) and very soon go back to a basic one (makes phone calls and sends texts in case you’ve lost the plot) and do all my computing on a laptop using WiFi or a 3G USB adapter.

    I wonder when everyone else will realise this is the best bet. You can type efficiently on a laptop keyboard and send e-mails, write things…..

    The wheel will come full circle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Cut out your waffle: buy my book

Type your email and click the button and you will automatically get every new post.

“This excellent collection” (Director Magazine). Click to order:

I tweet