When I had dinner with my former boss and mentor in Paris a few months ago (formerly vice president of marketing at a US-based enterprise software company, now CEO of a French enterprise software company), he shared a dirty little secret with me: "Forget about marketing," he told me, "it doesn't really matter. I spend 80 percent of my time on HR, finance, operations, and sales. Branding, marketing communications, PR - not my priorities." A few weeks later I came across a working paper called "Getting Marketing Back in the Boardroom," and seeing … Read more
These days, conferences are thankful for not having the word "economic" in their names. Yet the difference between the World Economic Forum in Davos, which, according to most accounts, was a pretty somber affair ("how did we get into this mess?"), and the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference in Long Beach, Calif., is not just a semantic one.
While both venues summon an elite group of thinkers and doers, TED is decidedly more optimistic. "The Great Unveiling" is this year's theme, and so far, the program has lived up to its promise: Bill Gates unleashed mosquitoes, … Read more
You are familiar with Zen koans like "What is the sound of one hand clapping?". They are designed to open up consciousness with paradoxical or impossible questions. Well here's one: Can we have an economy that is not so dependent on rampant consumer spending?
After 9/11, Bush's solution was to exhort consumers to spend more as the way to propel ourselves out of the downturn. Today we are hearing similar advice.
Problem is, people are saving (or at least not spending, which I don't think is quite the same thing) rather than spending.
According … Read more
A few months after Barack Obama’s historic election, and a couple of weeks after the release of Barry Libert’s and Rick Faulk’s book Obama Inc. (and, of course, Obama's inauguration), the first start-ups are popping up that directly apply some of the widely heralded business lessons emerging from the innovative campaign. The fact that most of these lessons lie in the marketing domain supports the view I’ve expressed earlier and on numerous occasions: 1) Marketing will (again) become the number one change agent in business, 2) when it follows the new rules of “marketing with … Read more
By Nick de la Mare, Associate Creative Director, frog design
There's a saying I remember from when I worked in advertising: "nothing kills a bad product faster than a good ad." That seemed to make a lot of sense when I heard it, but the more I look back I realize that it's defining things so narrowly as to be absurd. What IS a product anyway? A service-based thing like a house cleaner or a mechanic? A single-minded tool like a cup or hammer? Something digital and deeply nebulous like a Wi-Fi network? And what does &… Read more
Nice clip from the German ad agency Scholz & Friends. Nothing new but good ammunition for convincing the few who have yet to see the light...
Via Federated Media
The new issue of our design mind magazine is out. The theme is "Motion," and it features a great interview with famed ballet choreographer Alonzo King, who discusses the risks and rewards of collaboration with San Francisco Chronicle dance columnist Rachel Howard:
"Collaboration is always risky. You don't have total control. Also, with choreography you have such a short amount of time to do it. If you're writing a book you've got years; a film, you can shop it around; Broadway, take it out six weeks for previews. With most choreographers, you've got … Read more
What was the first thing SanDisk said to you about the design when they initially approached you and your team? Robert Curtis: SanDisk is … Read more
Microsoft has started testing the next version of its Exchange e-mail and calendar software, a product that Microsoft said is designed to run from the ground up as a hosted service that can work simultaneously with more than one business.
The new version, code-named E14, is in limited private beta testing as a traditional server product with "a select number" of businesses.
But Microsoft also recognized that traditional beta testing wouldn't help it much in getting a sense of the multi-tenant support. So starting in October 2007, the company started seeking out universities and schools willing to … Read more
LAS VEGAS--As he takes the stage Wednesday, Steve Ballmer has a mighty big task ahead of him.
Not only is he taking over Consumer Electronics Show keynote duties from Bill Gates, he is also aiming to convince the tech world that Microsoft is serious about defending its turf on the PC as well as making headway on the Web, television and phone. Oh yeah, and then there's that whole economy-melting-down thing.
Ballmer hasn't arrived in Sin City empty handed, however. In perhaps the biggest announcement of the night, he will announce Microsoft is ready with a beta version … Read more