It’s one of those things all parents hate to hear after a long day at work…
“Dad, I hate to tell you this – but I think my phone is broken.”
Ugh. That sinking feeling. Because kids don’t just carry flip phones, or cheapo candy bar phones. At least, not in my tech-enabled Mac addicted family. My son has his very own iPhone – and he’s 14.
Now, when I was 14 – I spent plenty of time launching things, and breaking things. Mostly model rockets, and cameras.
But today, the ‘toys’ that my boys play with are pretty high tech… and in the world of Apple gizmos – hermetically sealed.
Or so I thought.
As Murray and I inspected his iPhone 3s, it was clear that it wasn’t going to turn on. Stone cold dead. He said he didn’t drop it, and I believe him. It did have a funny little rattle inside he pointed out… hmm, what’s that about?
So, with a bit of a grin – he suggested that he might try and ‘fix it.’ Uh Oh. A broken iPhone and a voided warranty. That didn’t seem like such a great idea. But it was an older phone, beyond the service plan, and he already had some screwdrivers laid out on the dining room table.
The only question was, how could he learn the secrets of a sealed iPhone? I’d never opened one, and didn’t know how.
“Dad, no problem. YouTube can show me how to open it.”
So, a few minutes later – we were huddled over the iPad, watching a YouTuber named “DreRandom” and a video he posted titled: “How to open the iphone 3G/3Gs.”
The handmade video walked my son through the steps, removing the screws, using a suction cup to gently pry open the screen, and then – one step at a time – removing the connectors and the motherboard.
Twenty minutes later – the guts of the iPhone were splayed out, like a hunter gutting his conquest. My son was immensly proud, and I had to admit I’d never seen the inside of an iPhone. It was pretty darn cool.
But then it hit me – without DreRandom, and without YouTube, how could my son ever have accessed the knowledge to get inside the guts of this electronic device? I went looking, and quickly it was clear that he wasn’t alone. The video had been viewed on YouTube more than half a million times! 548,033 to be precise. And DreRandom, with his street British accent and his homemade videos shot on (of course) an iPhone… were teaching LOTS of people the secret ways to coax an iPhone open.
Most interestingly, the half a million views didn’t make this video DreRandom’s most popular – he had a bunch at 500,000 and one that had hit almost 1.5 million views. He had 149 videos on his YouTube channel, all teaching something about how to repair apple products. Dre is a whole new class of content entrepreneur, who’s built a following and a business by gathering knowledge – and sharing it on YouTube. Without him, half a million people would have been scraping and poking, and probably breaking their iPhones just to repair a cracked screen.
But in our case, it wasn’t nearly that obvious.
Inside the phone, Murray gently explored the connections – and shook it trying to find the rattling sound. Then, as if by magic, a small screw fell out. He took a guess where he thought it belonged… a hole that tied the mother board to the battery lead, and step by step with DreRandom’s help, he re-assembled the device.
And then, the moment of truth. Honestly, I don’t think I expected it to work. I know Murray didn’t.
Wow. What an extraordinary moment – to have conquered a broken iPhone, learned about how to open it, and connected with the ‘global brain’ that YouTube now provides.
The more I thought about what my son was able to do, and how he was able to connect with shared knowledge – the clearer it was to me that this is more than a story about how to fix an iPhone. There are some things that just need to be taught with video. Things where ‘showing’ is far more effective than ‘telling’. You couldn’t teach my son how to open and repair and iPhone with a manual and schematic drawings… that would take an engineer to draft and an engineer to teach. But video makes it universal, and sharable.
This is something new. And important. And powerful.
Which leaves me to ask two key questions. What can you learn better and faster by plugging into the global brain of video? And what do you know, and can you share, using video to accelerate knowledge distribution. It could be that your most valuable asset is one YouTube video posting away.
Welcome to the Global Brain.