So over at Design Matters, Lenovo’s first and only official blog, we ran a poll using the WordPress Democracy plug-in. Wild success. Over 800 votes, tons of comments, all over the question of which TrackPoint cap do you prefer? The cap is the red rubber thing in the middle of the ThinkPad keyboard which is the signature design point for the otherwise black and rectangular notebook. I love the things from an usability point of view, and have grown accustomed over the years to the rough “classic” version of the cap which has the texture of rough sandpaper.
There are other versions of the cap — smooth, pebbled, and with a rim. So we asked the simple question of the Design blog’s readers: “Which one do you prefer?”
Anyway, I carry a supply of spares in my backpack and hand them out to ThinkPad users I run into at airports, on the plane, in the park, at the Starbuck’s etc. I include my business card as well so the people don’t think I am like one of those deaf-mute pencil people at the airport.
Yesterday I was in NYC’s Bryant Park enjoying the sunshine when I saw a guy pounding away on a T43. So I unzip the back pack, pull out a bag of replacement caps, walk over, hand it to him with my card and he does a classic New Yorker and tells me to “F-Off.”
I can’t blame him. Any approach out of the blue in NYC is generally a prelude to a panhandle, a religious discussion, and an otherwise unpleasant situation. The guy looks at the little bag — like there were drugs in it — then he looks at my card. Then he looks at the dirty trackpoint cap on his machine, and it dawned on him that the ThinkPad Fairy just landed.
“Aren’t you in China?” he asked.
“Looks like Bryant Park to me,” I replied.
My colleague Matt Kohut spent a day in airport terminals up and down the East Coast last summer doing the same thing. He reported the hardest part of handing stuff out was approaching women, all of whom thought he was hitting on them.