Monthly Archives: January 2012

Thinking Differently

Apple used the slogan in its advertising “think different” years ago.  Over time, I think we all can appreciate how that mantra, perhaps grammatically incorrect or perhaps not,  has come to be reality in the types of products produced by Apple.  I’ve always admired that much of what Apple produces isn’t original per se – there were mp3 players before the iPod, for example – but Apple manages to take a product sector as it evolves, marry it to better technology, and change everything.

What has me babbling like an Apple fanboy this morning?  A piece of research on TV‘s of course, and a thought about how some research points to the need to think out of the box. Continue reading

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Warranties

National Lampoon's Animal House

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I’m sure you’ve all seen Animal House.  It’s one of my favorite movies and most of the guys (and it is mostly guys) I know quote from it fairly regularly.  One of the lines I find myself repeating way too often comes from Otter to Flounder, the hapless freshman who lends the frat his brother’s car only to see it destroyed:

Flounder, you can’t spend your whole life worrying about your mistakes! You fucked up… you trusted us! Hey, make the best of it! Maybe we can help.

I thought about that this weekend listening to some of the news but it triggered a business thought as well. Continue reading

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Filed under Reality checks, Thinking Aloud

The Smell Test

Here’s the question for you this Foodie Friday.  Let’s say you pour yourself a nice hot cup of coffee and go to the fridge for some milk.  You notice that the “sell by” date has passed although it was only a few days prior.  What do you do?  If you’re like most folks, you do the smell test – you sniff the milk to see if it has an off odorand, therefore, might have something wrong with it.  It doesn’t have to be with foods that you think might be “off” either.  It’s a smart thing to give some produce – melons, for example – a quick sniff because the better, riper stuff has a fresher, more “melon-y” smell.

English: A profile of a beautifully shaped hum...

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Of course, we don’t just use the smell test in the kitchen or the supermarket, and that’s the point today. Continue reading

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Are You A Snowman Or A Firefighter?

We had some snow here last weekend and as I drove around afterwards I saw a number of snowmen.  With the warmer weather this past week, many of them are gone now, victims of the rain and warmth.  Those that remain don’t look as they did when the conditions were optimal.  This, of course, triggered a business thought and a question we all might ask ourselves.

Snowman

Image by andreasmarx via Flickr

I’ve known a bunch of snowmen in business.  These are people who look terrific under optimal conditions but who melt away as soon as conditions change.  You know the types.  They’re the people who are standing tall when the presentation went well or sales are flowing.  As soon as things get a little warm – business takes a downturn, the boss is angry about something – they get a lot smaller.  Maybe they even fade away completely.  They can’t deal with changing or sub-optimal conditions.

Contrast a snow person’s (why limit this to men!) behavior with that of the firefighters among us.  These are the people who, when things are turning bad, run to the problem.  They ask “how can I help?”, not “where can I hide?”.   The next time an alarm goes off in your business life, part of handling the crisis ought to be taking note of who melts, who waits to be rescued, and who rushes at the problem.  The last group is the keepers.

Snowmen are fun to build but a disaster to have around the office.  Give me firefighters every time.  You?

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Split Personalities

All of us who are active online face, from time to time, digital overload.  As individuals, we might be active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google + and a host of smaller or emerging social sites such as Pinterest.  It can be exhausting – remembering to check-in, write a review, etc.  Companies and brands face a similar situation which is magnified many times over.  The big difference is I only have to worry about one account per platform and I’m…well…me!  I don’t have to monitor anyone else posting on my behalf.  The issues of social media guidelines, who owns a brand online, and how an employee’s activity online reflects on the company for which they work are big issues.

All of these came to mind as I read a new study from The Altimeter Group the other day.  Let’s see what you think. Continue reading

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King Gillette And Amazon

Some interesting new research this morning that seems to validate the direction Amazon is taking with the Kindle Fire.  When the tablet first came out, a number of the tech blogs did the obvious comparison to the iPad and found the Fire to be inferior technology.  The research on tablet usage from Zmags seems to show that it was an apples (no pun intended) to oranges comparison.  You should know that Pew Research says the share of U.S. adults who own a tablet nearly doubled from 10% to 19% between mid-December (2011) and early January. They also found that E-reader penetration experienced the same growth during the same time period, so this is an important installed base and it’s only going to get bigger.

So why mention King Gillette and Amazon in the title? Continue reading

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The Holder

Great afternoon (and evening) of football yesterday and both games ended on last second field goal attempts. One was good; the other not so much – as if you weren’t watching live or are otherwise aware by now.

Mason Crosby kicks a field goal during a Green...

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One kicker left the field overjoyed and the other hung his head, mirroring the feelings of their fans. Being a kicker is hard – you’re the guy who shoulders a lot of the blame (I’m sure Scott Norwood‘s name is still cursed in Buffalo) when there’s a last second loss even though you were off the field for 59 minutes of the game. Which of course reminds me of a huge business point to be taken away.
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