Posts Tagged ‘Popular Culture’


Business Buzzwords of 2007

December 22, 2007

MSNBC has a spiffy article on the best business buzzwords of 2007. Seems like every year brings a new crop of phrases that start rolling off of everyone’s tongue (“cause that’s how we roll”).


Clicking to the Oldies

February 26, 2007

At my previous employer I once suggested to a senior executive that the company should form a team (which I wanted to head) to target the 50+ age group specifically to move technology from “tool” to “essential” in their lives. His response was “why”? He meant “no”.

 If you are not following the 50+ Marketing trend (The 50Plus Market is a good place to start; the 50+ Digitalagency looks interesting also) then it is time to open your eyes to one of the biggest waves coming (and get in ahead of the crowd). The boomers and post-boomers graying around us are spending more and more time online; it is not just the MySpace crowd that is going to define the future. There are vast sums of money to be spent by this generation and far too much online activity seems to forget they even exist.

I have been thinking about this opportunity for some time and am slowly deriving my own set of rules and priorities. Here are two that seem solid in my mind so far:

  • The 50+ market watches online youth-focused trends (e.g., MySpace) with more interest than we believe.
  • The 50+ market is eager to have something to call their own.

I will drill into these a bit more in my next post.


Now hiring evil marketers

January 22, 2007

Just because stuff like this really tickles me. I want to hire people like this to be part of the marketing team (if I ran Satan Corp.).


Seemingly random, yet all connected

February 21, 2006

For those of you who remember the 70s and 80s because you were there (and taking karate class), I point you to the latest craze, Chuck Norris.

This might be cruel, but it is not insane.


The power of the image

February 3, 2006

Check out your bookshelves or the display at the local book store. What do you see? What do you really see? How does it all make you feel.

The design of books might not be the most mainstream of topics, but it provides some real insight into marketing and culture. It is also one of the most fascinating segments of design. Books can be their own self-contained universe, and the design of a book (which goes beyond just the cover) can do so much to make that universe feel complete, project good or bad or neutral, and simply speak to the potential reader.

The most important person in contemporary book design, perhaps in book design in the entire 20th century, is Chip Kidd. If you are not familiar with the name you are highly likely to be very familiar with his work. It is so pervasive that it would be hard to own any reasonable number of books without his work appearing amongst them.

I have been an admirer of Chip for many years. He is also a noted Batman collector and has written extensively about Batman and been involved in the comic/graphic novel world as well.

I recently acquired the collection of his work:

“Chip Kidd: Book One : Work: 1986-2006 (Chip Kidd)” (Chip Kidd)

You should check it out.



October 25, 2005

I was having a chat at dinner this evening about Reality TV and trying to figure out my own reasons why it is good for America. Given that the person on the other side of the chat had three TiVos (I only have two, and if I were a lesser man this would make me feel inadequate) I can’t presume to be the expert here. She clearly has expertise not yet fully understood.

However, here are some of my reasons for enjoying reality TV:

  • No premise is too absurd. I still miss The Swan (and the local woman that won the first season was amazingly hot, in a plastic surgery type of way). I believe it justifies the belief that the end is always worth the means.
  • No person is too trashy. Shame that Paris and Nicole have been cancelled. Next season would have seen them as part-time Thai hookers.
  • You can be a nanny. Do we need say more than “Super Nanny”? One episode of that was all I needed to determine I would sooner be the night busboy at Denny’s than leave my child to the care of one of these hideous beasts.
  • Good deeds. Yeah, boring.
  • Inked. Hot people having ink all over their bodies (under the skin, mind you) and the sordid tales of their lives. A fake leg is no hinderance to a hot piece of ink.
  • American Idol will be back in January.

    Some people are just a slave to TV. Some people are just a slave to more interesting things.

    I should go check the TiVo.



October 23, 2005

I sit on the board of a wonderful not-for-profit theatre in my community, Second Story Repertory. The company produces amazingly diverse works for both adults and children, with the productions involving professional actors and a dedicated professional crew. All of this is done on a very small budget (not really that different than the budget for my own home) in a small space.

None of it is easy.

The arts suffer in our community from both a lack of support and a lack of real interest. They suffer in many communities because of this. Many people just think that because they pay the price of a ticket that everything will be okay. Yes, ticket sales contribute to the overall revenue, but much less than people might imagine. The cost of rent alone each month can be greater than ticket sales.

Second Story is not unique in its struggles. Many such organizations in small cities suffer the same. When a community like my own, Redmond WA, is an outlier to a large city, Seattle, there is a constant “war” for the dollars of the community. Everyone is given a plethora of choices in the arts, and each of those organizations rely on funding from grants and individuals.

I sometimes ask myself why I sit on the board (and even allowed myself to be elected President). I know that I do it for my daughter. I want her to grow up in a community with a rich set of artistic choices and culture. I do it for all the sons and daughters. I do it for myself. No ethical citizen can really ignore the obligations to return something to their society; this is one of my ways of meeting that obligation. I do it for the actors and crew. They often work on wages that are eclipsed by a good barista at Starbucks. I do it for my pleasant little city.

I do it for many reasons, as do my fellow board members and all our contributors. They are all generous of spirit, time and money. But that is not often enough.

I saw some demographic information about my community recently. Median household income was bout $144K. Yes, that is a pretty large number. It is an affluent community, with Microsoft and Boeing employees forming a generous chunk among a diverse group of professional and blue-collar families. There are a lot of kids in Redmond. Yet our arts organization, like so many others in the community, struggles to stay afloat. One of our sister organizations recently had to fold, leaving many kids without the arts training they had come to love and depend upon.

I know that in this year of great tragedies and a conservative Christian political regime we are all on the precipice of how to spend our ethical and moral capital. Should I fund abortion rights today (YES) or help the victims of the Pakistan earthquake (YES) or the fight against AIDS (YES). Some people spend their capital on their church or their chosen political campaign. We all get the freedom to decide and I cherish that. I might not agree with the choices of others, but I defend their right to make those choices.

The point here, however, is that in a climate of major challenges, the little organizations that keep the engine of our society going can be overlooked. The small not-for-profits that operate day to day need a little of our support as well. We sometimes have board discussions about the concept of “donor burnout”. It is difficult to give and keep on giving because the requests seem never ending. They will always be never ending. Perhaps we live in an age of great tragedy and a tragic downturn in the foundation and future of society. Perhaps it is just a bad year. In either case, need never ceases.

I can’t tell anyone how to spend their social capital, nor would I dare to do so. I can ask, politely, that you look at the full landscape of need when apportioning those dollars.

I also welcome you to our upcoming presentation of Man of La Mancha or your small gift of support. I am not above asking for help. No one else should be above asking for help for their own passions or their own need.

I am far from noble and far from saintly (trust me, very very far), but I care about something. I care about the future.

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Watch me

September 8, 2005