In blackjack, to "double down" means to bet up todouble your current wager in hopes of earning up to twice therewards. But lately, tech executives have adopted their own loosedefinition, something along the lines of "we're gettingreally, really serious about this, guys." The excess of doubling down was on display this week at the D10 Conference , where Apple CEO Tim Cook used the phrase twice. First, on Siri : "I think you ll be pleased where we re taking Siri. We redoubling down on it." Then, on plugging up rumors : "We're going to double down on secrecy onproducts." But Cook isn't the only tech executive fascinated by thedouble down. Here's Skype CEO Tony Bates , later on in the conference: "I'm not going to talk about future products, butI'll steal a line from Tim Cook. |
We're going todouble-down on integration with Windows 8, and we're going todouble-down on secrecy." He's double-doubling down! I'm not sure what doublingdown on secrecy entails, but perhaps Skype plans to reduce thenumber of rumors about the company by half. Anyway, the doubling down of tech execs predates D10. BrianHumphries, who in 2010 was HP s Senior Vice President of Strategyand Corporate Development, took liberties with the phrase after HP bought Palm and its WebOS software: "WebOS is the best-in-class mobile operating system. Ourintent is to double down on webOS." In this case, "double down" is akin to "pick upoff the ground," which of course didn't happen.
HParguably folded too early, and abandoned WebOS after its firsttablet, the TouchPad, flopped . Andy Rubin, Google's senior vice president of mobile, adopteda similar definition when talking about Android tablets , which haven't sold very well so far: "2012 is going to be the year that we double down and makesure we're winning in that space." HTC, which saw its profits tank last holiday season, has realizedwhere to place its bets, according to president Jason MacKenzie : It s about the experience. We re doubling down on design tomake sure the phones feel great in customers hands. Jonathan Bellack, a director of product management forGoogle's DoubleClick, had his own revelation about where to invest: "This is the year where we re doubling down on publishers,giving you the tools you need to make the most from today sdigital media landscape." Kevin Unangst, Microsoft's senior director of PC and mobilegaming, comes close to the proper definition : "So yeah, we're still going to double down,you're going to see us do more with Forza, with Halo, withFable; all the franchises." Bigger investment equals more games equals bigger payoff. Makessense.
But the award for most accurate use of "double down"goes to Rapid7 CEO Mike Tuchen, who goes back to the phrase's gambling roots : "First, we re doubling down on expanding our existingengineering teams. We doubled the team in 2010, nearly doubled itin 2011, and plan to double it again in 2012." A literal double down! Good work, Mike. One more for good measure, though it has nothing to do withtechnology, comes from Javier Benito, executive vice president ofmarketing and food innovation for KFC , in May 2010: "Our plans were to feature the product only through May 23,but millions of Double Down fans have spoken and we won tdisappoint them. You ll continue to be able to get the Double Downat KFC this summer." To use the phrase the way tech execs do, KFC doubled down on theDouble Down. But only for a limited time, which is probably for thebest.
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