That’s what is required. Set an alarm on your phone to sound in 20 minutes, then start writing. Your mission: to write as fast as you can and to tell a complete story. It needs a beginning, middle and an end. Read more →
There’s little doubt that Google has become one of the world’s most envied companies, largely because of its renowned culture of innovation. I had the privilege of interviewing Google’s Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg, advisor to CEO Larry Page, on their new book, How Google Works. It was a revealing conversation and the video is now available from Live Talks LA.
Let’s take a trip together. Imagine that we’re vacationing on a luxurious tropical island. It is our last night and we want to reward ourselves with a great feast. The concierge at our hotel recommends two restaurant options. Option #1 is known for its gorgeous views. It’s on the pricey side, and the food gets an average rating, but it has a reputation for being the postcard-perfect end to our getaway.
Option #2 isn’t much to look at. In fact, it is located in a strip mall. But it has the best food ratings of any restaurant on the island and it has a much more reasonable price tag.
We confer. Even though we’re both foodies, we’re slightly leaning toward option #1 because we want to soak up the fantastic view. But we’re a little conflicted. When the concierge hears our debate he suddenly remembers a third option–a very exclusive restaurant perched on a cliff with a 360 degree view of the entire island. It’s even more expensive than the first choice and the concierge rarely recommends it because he has had so many complaints about the service.
So, which would we choose?
It’s been a very busy past few months, which is why there hasn’t been much activity here on this site. Much of my time has been focused on UTA Brand Studio‘s new research platform which we developed with uSamp and call the Brand Dependence Index. It measures an oft-overlooked dimension of consumer brands known as Brand Attachment, pioneered by my friends and colleagues C.Whan Park and Deborah MacInnis at USC’s Marshall School of Business.
We unveiled recent findings from our research when I gave a presentation at International CES this month. There’s more on the way, but for now I thought I would post slides and commentary from that presentation.
In this digital age it would be rational for us to assume that the past doesn’t matter the way it once did. In my professional life I am often informed that 71 million Americans between the ages of 18-35 (also known as Millennials) have decidedly broken with the past. One market researcher whom I very much respect told me two weeks ago that “Millennials don’t care about history. They’re only interested in the now and the future.”
I don’t consider myself an expert on Millennials. I work with an awful lot of them. I also speak to many of them in the course of my market research activities. While I can’t affirm definitively whether my colleague’s assessment is correct, I’m skeptical. I find blanket statements dangerous. I also struggle to reconcile a belief that Millennials aren’t interested in the past to real world phenomena that shouts to the contrary. If Millennials don’t care about the past, why are they buying Lomo cameras that use film instead of digital imaging technology–cameras that sport a very retro design? Why are sales of vinyl albums growing? Why is the Moleskine notebook so popular? And why have so many Millennials rallied around the hipster aesthetic, which savors letterpress type, nineteenth century graphic motifs, and old world aesthetics?
It isn’t just Millennials, though. It feels to me like the more technology advances the more we look backward and feel a sense of longing for the past. This became very apparent to me this week as I surfed through the many blogs I follow. In some of the stories below, the glory of nostalgia is palpable. In others, the longing for the past is not the focus of the story, but its presence can be felt under the surface like a ghostly whisper from its author. Read more →
This post was originally published on the CEA Digital Dialogue blog.
It is an exciting time for consumer technology companies. Every day products, services and solutions are introduced to consumers from what seems to be a fire hose of technological innovation. In this context, it’s never been more important to develop strong brands.
Brands serve a dual purpose. On the one hand, they produce economic benefits for producers by helping their products stand out in crowded markets and reducing marketing expenditure by developing a recognizable asset. On the other hand, brands create significant benefits for consumers by reducing information costs–they help consumers know what to expect. This last part is often forgotten by tech brand managers, so I’ll repeat it again. Strong brands help consumers know what to expect. Read more →
Not long ago, I sat in a half-empty wine bar with a friend, listening patiently as she described a relationship that had been steadily deteriorating. This was not our first conversation on the topic, nor was it the first time I heard her say, “I just don’t feel in love anymore.” Maybe it was the wine or maybe I had just heard the story too many times, but something drove me to interrupt her and ask politely, “have you done anything to love lately?” Read more →
Chris Anderson, the former editor in chief of Wired magazine and the author of the best-selling book The Long Tail, said “if you thought the web was big, this is going to be bigger.” He was talking about the maker movement–a creative revolution that is driving invention and leading to innovation all over the world. It is driven by cheap, powerful and easy-to-use tools that allow just about anyone to build what they imagine. Read more →
Thinking about the brand of America–our identity–and what it will take to continue to keep the American identity strong, I was struck by these comments by historian Joyce Appleby in an interview with Bill Moyers. Watch it for yourself. The discussion on identity begins at 27:51.
Moyers: Can we create a new identity as Americans? What is an American today?
Appleby: Do we want to create a new identity? I think we want to recover what’s best in us. A tremendous respect for each individual. A belief in expanded ambits for action and thinking. An admiration for innovation. A respect for the law. A belief in an independent judiciary. I’m sounding like a terrible chauvinist but I do admire the best qualities in our country.
In his thought-provoking book The Storytelling Animal, Jonathan Gottschall constructs a compelling case that we are all natural born storytellers. We can’t help it. It is part of our brain’s wiring. It is how we comprehend the world. Even when we’re not trying, we’re always constructing stories.
I come back to this fact of life often, especially when someone says they can’t come up with a story; when they tell me they have writer’s block or they just aren’t creative enough to put a story together. That’s bunk. Each of us has been piecing stories together without much conscious thought since we were infants.