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March 2009

If we let you, we'll have to let everyone.

A little more than two years ago, we moved into this cool space, in which we rendered a bohemian | industrial feel. We were part of a movement, to turn Laurens Street from an alley, back into a street. The city was very excited. It was us, and a developer of high-end condos, and an ad agency down the street, and a restaurant up on the corner. We got together with the city, before we made an offer on the place, to talk about plans. They were gonna put a police out-station at the bottom of the block (to offset…


Twitter? Blah, blah, blah.

When it comes to evaluating social networking apps, I cannot be trusted. So, as I've been thinking that Twitter was much ado about nothing, I've also been thinking, "but how would I know?" But yesterday, I got testimony from an expert witness, a 14-year-old girl who texts instead of speaking!So, I'm sitting at The Peace Center, the world's greatest performing arts venue, at intermission of a pretty good performance of To Kill a Mocking Bird, when I look over at the kid next to me, and notice that she is texting at about the speed I type. Never one to…


Wrong Place. Wrong Time.

I remember the day the space shuttle fell apart, and the pieces fell all over Texas. You could get really famous if you got hit by a piece of space debris. You'd be in all the papers for a week or so. And I remember when a big old sink hole swallowed a car near Pittsburgh, back when I was living up there. Of all the ways to lose your car, that is one that would make the papers. Used to know a woman who slept with a sauce pan on her head. She lived in a bad neighborhood, and…


You can't make her like you.

I was just smitten by Pamela Jo Klinger, when I was in first grade. For a six-year-old romantic, she was the perfect woman. Curly auburn hair. Freckles. Saddle oxfords. She could climb the monkey bars in a lady-like way. And, she was good at math. What's not to like?Problem is, Pamela Jo Klinger didn't reciprocate my feelings. Unrequited love at six is every bit as painful as unrequited love at ... later. So I did what you would expect. I cried. Cried to my teacher. Cried to my friends. Cried to my mother... "Pamela Jo Klinger doesn't like me." My…



I think my favorite stock index is the volatility index (VIX), which is not exactly a stock index at all. Actually, it is an index of how fast certain types of transactions happen-or something like that. But what it does is measure how freaked out the market is. You know, like when the liquidity crisis happened, back in September, the market was really freaked out. VIX jumped to, like, 80. That's like having blood pressure of 200 over 130. Or having a resting heart rate of 125. It's crazy stressful. Normal (kinda the 120/80 of volatility) is 40. Back during…


Signs of life.

Well, the market closed up today. That's six out of seven sessions. And it's nearly 1000 points above the bottom, right? Housing starts were up, as were construction permit applications. Wholesale prices were up, but just a little. Food prices down, fuel prices up. Consumer spending and retail sales, both steady. It's like we're in one of those Tarzan movies. You're running through the jungle and fall into a booby trap-a pit covered with some branches. At first, you panic, because you're shocked at the ground giving way. And then you feel yourself fall, but you don't know how far.…


What is a differential advantage?

When we do branding, we spend a great deal of time, and many tools, getting to understand the client's differential advantage. Now, it's generally pretty easy for folks to understand things like color palette, type palette, photography palette, voice, tone, music...all the sensory components of the brand. But it's sometimes a little harder to grasp differential advantage. So, here's what it is. Differential advantage is the set of benefits you are able to provide profitably, every day, within your normal operation, that are relevant to the purchasing decision of a significant portion of purchasers of your category, that your competitors…


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