The iShuffle Principle

There seems to be a lot of talk these days about a whole slew of new iPod Minis, and new iPod Shuffles, with expanded capacities. I am sure many millions will be sold, and thousands of words will be devoted to reviews, and analysis of these new devices. But, as we wait for this new Podslaught, I would like to spend a few moments on the older, first generation iPod Shuffles, and how they have taught me a life lesson. Sounds decidedly dweebish, and overtly geeky! Nevertheless, indulge me.

One of the hardest exercises I had to undertake ever came a few hours after I spent $99 on an iPod Shuffle. I had to decide on 75 of my most favorite songs – tracks that will entertain me almost anywhere, anytime in any kind of setting. Why? With no control over what song was going to come next, it was like programming the perfect radio station, the one that could play in a non-stop loop, and be the soundtrack of life. My life.

ipod shuffleI had to choose from nearly 25,000 songs, a collection that grows by nearly an album a week. Nearly 400 gigabytes whittled down to half a gigabyte. It has taken me nearly six months to build that optimum, always exciting play list. There is Sinatra, even Tom Jones (In case you were wondering, Tom Jones with Prince!), and some Bally Sagoo and Nitin Sawhney. Each track, just evergreen, just perfect. That Bally Sagoo’s remix of an old classic Bollywood song always reminds me of my 10th birthday, and a pineapple strawberry cake that was the staple of our neighborhood bakery.

Nostalgia notwithstanding, the act of putting together that perfect play list made me wonder – do I need multiple Powerbooks? Do I need to have two pairs of tan-colored shoes? What are my ten most favorite shirts? That a Hickey Freeman shirt, ten years later is still more comfortable than anything Banana Republic has to offer.

Or for that matter, does one really need to go out and instantly grab the latest shinny bauble or upgrade to Tiger, just because one can. Does one have to write five posts a day, when one can only suffice? A month of weekends later, I whittled down all that and was left holding a suitcase full of joy. What an epiphany – more is just more! Often small, and mostly predictable things are most fun. That’s the iShuffle principle.

Have a great weekend folks!

Meanwhile, Wall Street Journal Reports, iShuffle killed the Rio: Though the Shuffle was priced higher and had fewer features than some competing flash-based devices, “you’re up against a momentum play or social phenomenon,” said Vic Pacor, president of D&M Holdings, a Japanese holding company for several electronics brands.