Working on a tough brand positioning assignment today and using this quote for inspiration. “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.” - Theodore Levitt
Sonali Deraniyagala: Wave (Vintage)
It will break your heart and fill you with admiration.
Jhumpa Lahiri: The Lowland
There's a reason Jhumpa Lahiri won the Pulitzer Prize. Her writing is beautiful and her cultural insights are fascinating.
Amanda Lindhout: A House in the Sky: A Memoir
An incredible story of perseverance under the most difficult conditions. This book reminded me that the world is an uncertain and often unfair place but we all possess the strength to overcome the obstacles we encounter.
John Elder Robison: Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's
Amazing book about the life of a young boy with undiagnosed Asperger's. From dropping out of school to touring with KISS, Robison's life is an adventure in the extraordinary.
Barbara Demick: Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea
Absolutely amazing. You will be shocked and saddened by this portrait of a country cut off from the rest of the world.
Keith Richards: Life
Loved this book - doesn't matter if you are Stones fan or not, Richards will ensnare you in his tale and make you wish you'd done it yourself.
Andre Agassi: Open: An Autobiography
Feeding my new addiction to tennis.
Arlene Blum: Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life
Seeing Arlene Blum speak last month inspired me to start climbing mountains again. (Kilimanjaro, Spring 2010) If you need a kick in the pants to start believing in the impossible, buy this book.
Count Leo Tolstoy: Anna Karenia
Yes, this book is 800 pages and I'm only on page 17, but there is lots of potential.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Infidel
Please read this - it is so smart and honest.
Working on a tough brand positioning assignment today and using this quote for inspiration. “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.” - Theodore Levitt
The number of bike accidents in urban areas is on the rise. Of course, more people are biking, so perhaps the numbers are not surprising. But biker's animosity towards drivers is growing as well. Giant, gasoline powered machines are cutting off, knocking over, and sometimes even killing bicyclists, whose only moderate protection is a helmet. Drivers are complaining as well: bikers are hard to see, they don't obey traffic rules, the roads can't accommodate sharing.
The current debate about bike safety often is centered on which party is at fault.
The New York Times published an op ed story titled, 'Is it OK to kill cyclists?' The piece rightfully questions why motorists who hit bicycles escape legal punishment. Daniel Duane writes, 'And there is something undeniably screwy about a justice system that makes it de facto legal to kill people, even when it is clearly your fault, as long you’re driving a car and the victim is on a bike and you’re not obviously drunk and don’t flee the scene.'
When you look at data on who is at fault for accidents, studies show drivers and bicyclists are roughly equally responsible. The Atlantic recently featured a study on bike safety conducted in Minnesota Reducing Bike Crashes By Studying Them, which concluded, "the recent crash analysis found that drivers and riders were "equally contributing to the causes of crashes" in Minneapolis.
Revisions to laws that lead to more fair punishment and better adherence to the rules of the road have the potential to change outcomes as do initiatives like dedicated bike lanes. But the one thing that I keep thinking about is whether the design of cars (and to a lesser extent, bikes) was built with multiuse roads in mind. Can rethinking the design of the objects protect both parties?
In my car, it's pretty easy to see other cars in my side mirrors but (I just tested this during a recent drive) nearly impossible to see a biker to my right, especially if they are in the bike lane. There must be a completely different set of blind spots to consider when designing a car to coexist with bikes. And most bikes don't have mirrors at all, meaning bikers have no idea what's behind or to the side of them.
Suggesting that design can solve the problem of bike accidents is obviously an over-simplification of a real problem, but considering the role of design in conjunction with the other initiatives I've listed, might end up saving some lives.
Last night I bought a carton of eggs. At some point during my walk home, while summiting a San Francisco hill, juggling a baby and schleping 2 bags of groceries, one of the eggs broke. For such a little item, it made a gigantic mess.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who has experienced this design failure because this morning I saw a post on PSFK about a new egg carton design that is both beautiful and functional and reminded me of why I love design. Here's the full story from PSFK. Redesigning the everyday
A few days ago, I read yet another negative story about the Gap, this time a WSJ piece titled Revolving Door Spins at Gap about designer Patrick Robinson's departure. I couldn't help but ask myself, what's the deal with the Gap? It feels as it they have been going down the tubes for the past 10 years but somehow they manage to hang on. Last year's logo redesign debacle didn't help position the brand favorably. Not only was the logo panned by designers there was no sense of purpose behind it.
All this negativity sparked my curiosity and last week I wandered into one of New York City's many Gap retail locations and, wham! I got it. Gap is failing because their stores are a mess. Not a literal mess, a branding mess. They have become vanilla to a fault: where was the music, the multi-ethnic groups of models proving happiness could be found in a pair of $39.99 khakis?
With retailers like Uniqlo dazzling consumers with their rainbow selection of affordable jeans nestled in a perfectly minimalist space or Abercrombie's shirtless teens drenched in cologne and hormones powerful enough to make even the most popular girl's heart skip a beat, endless racks of flannel jammies just aren't going to cut it.
If I were in charge, I'd focus my energy on fixing the retail experience. Create an environment in which the clean lines of a white t-shirt can be a star and then start worrying about who designs them.
More info at: http://kck.st/al8N3p
In 1951, Dentsu’s president, Yoshida-san, developed these 10 principles. After 6 decades, they still ring true. As an experiment, try picking 1-2 of these principles, especially in areas you perceive as weaknesses and focus on them for a few months to see what happens.
Create work for yourself; don’t wait for work to be assigned to you.
Take an active role in all your endeavours, not a passive one.
Seek out large and complex jobs. Trivial tasks debase you.
Welcome difficult assignments. Choose them. Progress lies in accomplishing difficult work.
Once you begin a task, complete it. Never give up.
Lead your fellow workers. Be an example for them to follow.
Set goals for yourself to ensure a constant sense of purpose. This will give you perseverance and hope for the future.
Move with confidence. Confidence gives your work force, focus and substance.
Find new solutions. This is the way we ensure satisfactory service.
When conflict is necessary don’t shy away from it or be afraid. Conflict is the mother of progress and the source of aggressive enterprise. If you fear conflict, you will become timid and servile.
After a long hiatus, I'm back. On Friday I'm heading from NYC to Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro. Stay tuned.
Since many of the folks who read this blog also know a lot about energy and/or sustainability, would any of you like to help me learn about smart grid technology in the US? I'm especially interested in how changes in technology might influence how consumers think about energy consumption.
Thanks in advance!
The DARPA balloon, social media and incentivizing participation.
Not surprisingly, MIT won the challenge and the $40,000 prize by locating ten weather balloons in less than nine hours. What was genius about MIT's methodology is that they offered a $2,000 reward to each person who located a balloon, significantly increasing the likelihood of winning while retaining a significant amount of the prize money. The MIT students made signing up to hunt for the balloons pretty simple, http://balloon.mit.edu , and created a simple way to reward signing up friends. (diagram from ireport.com).
After taking a break, I'm back. Let's hope the angry Hertz employee leaves me alone.
Big bad Walmart, the world's largest retailer used to get only negative press. But over the past few years, and because of a slew of changes specifically around implementing a sustainability practice, Walmart is quickly turning around their image.
The New York Times describes the effort create a universal rating system that scores products based on how environmentally and socially sustainable they are over the course of their lives. Consider it the green equivalent to nutrition labels.
Energy and Climate: Reducing Energy Costs and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Material Efficiency: Reducing Waste and Enhancing Quality
Natural Resources: Producing High Quality, Responsibly Sourced Raw Materials
People and Community: Ensuring Responsible and Ethical Production
Last week a big bin showed up in our building from Wearable Collections. What a simple but brilliant idea: clean out your closet, put everything downstairs and the people at Wearable Collections will recycle the clothing, and donate the money raised to charity.
With increasing frequency, I hear people joking about having ADD, or using it as an excuse for forgetting to call someone back or showing up late to an event late. There is obviously some truth to the-is idea of being distracted. Entrepreneurs continue to build platforms like Twitter and people continue to sign up. A friend of mine started the now famous online retail site, Gilt Groupe, which has transformed women into maniacal shoppers from about 11:58am - 12:15pm. As we begin to better understand the commonalities in the brain, we also become much better at inserting ourselves, our product or technology into the user's life.
Today's New York Times did a story on how we difficult it is to process multiple inputs. The bright and flashy tend to grab your attention more quickly that the static and plain. (Guess we now know why advertising works). “It takes a lot of your prefrontal brain power to force yourself not to process a strong input like a television commercial,” said Dr. Desimone, the director of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at M.I.T. “If you’re trying to read a book at the same time, you may not have the resources left to focus on the words.”
What is so interesting to me is the duality of this race for the brain. As part of society races to create the newest best app for the iPhone, another group, is racing to find ways to deal with the added clutter.
The New Yorker recently published a story called "Cosmetic Neurology," which examines the growing trend of healthy people, not diagnosed with any mental condition, taking drugs that enhance mental functioning, including Adderall and Provigil. While much of the New Yorker story deals with the ethical implications of manipulating neurotransmitters, I'm more curious about neural plasticity and how taking a particular drug to ween you off of your Facebook addiction so to finish a work presentation will influence cognitive skills. Will the practice of focusing enabled by pharmaceuticals help the brain to learn how to filter out distractions without the chemicals present? Probably. It is like drinking a coffee before going to the gym - there is no muscular penalty for having extra energy. Makes me wonder what is the equivalent of yellow teeth for the brain?
Good way to create incentives for a particular behavior. Well done IKEA.
Living in NYC is a pain if you are used to having the convenience of a car parked in front of your house, ready when you need it. The subway system here is great for the day to day but there are so many exceptions and times where getting around NYC is just plain miserable.
The biggest challenge for me is getting out of the city. After being banned from my local Hertz (long story), I've found a different place to rent. But the prices are insane and 3 of 5 times, I've reserved a car online the car wasn't available when I tried to pick it up. It's a crappy and unreliable system.
Zip Car is the perfect alternative. The model is brilliant and I like just about everything about them but, (and this is going to sound REALLY lazy), it takes 2 weeks by mail to process the Zip Car application or requires a trip to somewhere in Midtown so you can show your ID. And every time I think to get a Zip Car, it is always last minute and I can't be bothered to take the train to fill out paperwork. So, until recently, I've been stuck with the "maybe we will have a car" Hertz in the West Village.
As much as I like the start-up model and ideology of Zip, I'm admittedly tempted by the free online sign-up for Hertz's version of Zip called Connect By Hertz. The site is user friendly, the cars (according to what is online) are good city cars, with lots of hybrids. And if the local Hertz manager doesn't try to have me arrested (more of that long story) and if the cars are available, it seems like a pretty good choice.
Although these sorts of things happen all the time, it does seem a little unfair for Hertz to steal Zip Car's business model. Hopefully Zip will retailiate by improving their application process.
On a recent trip to San Francisco, I asked a friend if he had an extra plastic bag from the supermarket. My shoes were wet from rain and I wanted to spare my suitcase and other clothes from returning to NYC wet and soggy. But, my friend didn't have any plastic bags, only a couple of paper bags from Whole Foods and some canvas reusable bags.
According to SF Gate, plastic bags were banned in San Francisco in 2007. It is amazing what can be legislated in SF in a relatively short period of time. The article included a couple of interesting statistics including "Roughly the number of plastic shopping bags distributed in San Francisco each year (pre-ban): 180 million." Going from 180 million to zero practically overnight is pretty remarkable.
As plastic declines and more consumers are given discounts for bringing a bag, reusable canvas bags are becoming part of our lives and increasingly an integral accessory. Fashion designers have already jumped on board. Design Observer recently did a nice story on the rise of the canvas bag and the social commentary that accompanies many of them. Here are a couple of examples from "Paper, Plastic or Canvas."
In an earlier post, I wrote about the chemicals that are found in urban drinking water as a result of the increase in the amount of pharmaceuticals taken, processed and for lack of a more appropriate descriptor, are peed back into our water sources.
Good Magazine just did a story about the same thing. It doesn't give any statistical data about the trace amounts nor divides the study by region but it is interesting to think about how the growing pharmacuetical/neuropharmaceutical industries reach beyond the individual.
This is really cool packaging for sneakers - I like how the visual cues of "eco" have become ubiquitous enough that packaging alone (materials, color, shape, size) can tell the story that would have previously been told in words. I know the "message is the medium" concept is old news but as current communication models become increasing irrelevant, the importance of design and brand experience increase and visual identity systems will have to be created to tell particular stories. Here's the full story at Adage. The Newton site says the shoes were inspired by "advantages of barefoot running." That concept would make for some pretty interesting product demos or in-store experiences.
Last week in SF, a friend introduced me to an organization called My Farm SF. Perhaps it is just my corn-fed inner Midwesterner revealing herself, but I am amazed and obsessed with this project.
My Farm calls itself a "decentralized urban farm" and is described in the SF Chronicle as "a network of backyard organic vegetable gardens that will free urbanites from their reliance on food trucked in from the country. Clients who live in the sunny Mission District will grow tomatoes for denizens of the foggy Richmond, where broccoli and other cool-weather vegetables will thrive in customers' backyards. And bicycles, rather than gas-guzzling trucks, will be the main method of transport."
Sounds lofty and pretty hippy but seems to be working. Friends in SF are signing up, allocating small or unused parts of backyards or land to be used to garden. They get to keep part of what is grown (fresh greens, tomatoes, etc) and the rest is distributed within San Francisco. And for those who don't know how to farm? No problem, the people at My Farm will bike over once a week to check on things.
There must be a way to do this on rooftops in NYC. If you know of anyone, let me know.
Water. I've written about it before, complained about it too. But this is a positive post. Because the ridiculousness of the imported bottled water market is not only being challenged, it might eventually be put out of business.
NY entrepreneur, Craig Zucker from Tapd'NY, is looking to change the water industry. And while his plan still includes the manufacturing and distribution of bottled water, which to some in the green space see as an inherent evil, he does provide a alternative to what has previously existed. And that's a good thing.
A couple of weeks ago I spoke to Zucker about his company and learned, one of the ideas behind TAP'd is that people need water on the go. And sometimes, that person will be organized enough to get his/her non-PVC water bottle out and fill up but other times, they won't. So, the next best option is to go to the store and buy some water. I guess accepting being thirsty is a 3rd option but writing about that is going to complicate the post.
The water choices found at the local NY bodega range from Fiji, water that is "untouched by man" to long-term staple, Evian, straight from the French Alps, to Poland Spring (apparently from Maine, it took me awhile to find the source), to TAP'dNY, purified water from NY faucet. There are a couple of other brands out there that are also just purfied tap water, but none that been forthright enough to just admit it. When faced with these options, I say, buy the one that's local and honest (and it has a pretty cool looking bottle).
The NY Post ran a headline that was reminiscent of a story from the Onion titled, "Free H2O, just $1.50" and yes, I agree that it sounds nuts, but when you line up the choices, Zucker's plan actually seems the least crazy of all.
<a href="http://technorati.com/claim/xjw4mfw367" rel="me">Technorati Profile</a>
A few days ago, I was talking to a friend about whether we had seen any inspiring contemporary art that wasn't remixed digital content. We couldn't come up with anything, but clearly we weren't looking very hard, because this morning, I saw a video on Wooster Collective that blew my mind.
Using public or existing spaces as the medium is cool for so many reasons - for one, the "canvas" is used over and over and is contextualized by the city or place where it was created. And, because the content is constantly being recreated it only exists, holistically in video form. It makes me think of my early art history classes where famous paintings would be x-rayed so experts could study earlier versions that had been painted over.
In "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid," Bill Bryson describes the massive automobile boom of the 1960's and sums up the American psyche at the time with, "Happily, we were indestructible."
Unfortunately, we've since learned, we were not.
After reading a recent story in Wired about Hyundai launching a hybrid vehicle, I tried to piece together the history of the hybrid over the last 10 years. It appears, the massive increase in gas prices combined with the widespread concern over global warming has created an environment where consumer demand is driving car innovation, rather than the other way around. I love it when the consumer influences the products companies create.
For example, the Hummer enjoyed about 5 profitable years before the flurry of critiques began to overshadow the car's merits. Remember "Fuck you and your Hummer too" http://www.fuh2.com/, where people posted pictures of themselves giving the finger to Hummer? I once worked with an editor who gave part of his paycheck to charity because he felt so badly about cutting together the ads. Outside of Texas and rap videos, it has become incredibly uncool to drive a Hummer.
And thus, sales have rapidly declined. Last month, the Dallas news reported, "sales of the brutish H2 are in a free fall – they dropped from 28,898 in '04 to 12,431 last year. No one saw all of these changes coming," Mr. Walsh said this week at the Dallas Auto Show. The segment five years ago was very strong. I don't think anyone could have foreseen all these shifts."
Seriously, no one could see it coming? No one noticed the increasing negativity towards Hummers?
Last week, the NYT did a story on GM trying to officially sell off their Hummer division to "Gulf Investors." It felt like a consumer victory.
Anyway, the boom and bust of the Hummer (and the rise of the hybrid) is indicative of a rapidly changing, increasingly agile, consumer driven marketplace.
Everything from the economy to life stage to choice in web browser now influences purchase decisions. And, with the proliferation of information, consumers are accessing and processing data that contributes to these decisions faster and more frequently than ever before.
Corporations, which once were able to define the world for the consumer are part of a paradigmatic shift towards prioritization of the customer need. While this may be the norm online, the offline world is just catching up.
But, accordingly to this time line of the Hybrid models, it is happening quickly.
Gossip Girl was getting tons of negative press, so they decided to publicized it with an ad campaign and these wild postings.
Instead of trying to cover up the controversy or "tone down" the content of the show so that a wider audience would find it acceptable, they embraced the negative press and used critiques as direct quotes in the ads: e.g., "Very bad for you." "Every parent's nightmare" There is no better way to capture a teenager's interest than to show authority figures attacking the show. Even I want to watch it. Well done. (thanks to my cousin for pointing out the campaign)
If I still did ads for Adobe, I'd hire Henry Hadlow. I love these shots and his commentary on Photoshop.
After a summer break, I'm finally back to blogging. Over the last couple of months, I've been working on a positioning for a non-profit client, which is always difficult. Non-profit's reliance on the public: donors, volunteers, governmental support, etc. often leaves the organization afraid of stepping on any toes. As a result, communications are bland or even worse, boring. When I saw the girleffect.org this morning, I loved how they were able to tell a story without using typical cliche imagery.
We've been overwhelmed with visualizations of the plight of Africa for years, seen the black and white photos, the flies, the famine. And all of that imagery resting in our brains is triggered by the narrative of this site. They don't need to remind of us the pictures because our brains make the connection for us.
So, I paid attention to the words, the story, and was engaged. Simple.
The only problem is, now what?
This morning at the gym (yes, I went to the gym), I read the NYT piece on green design for milk cartons. As a huge fan of design and especially green design, I was impressed to see green design being applied to most quotidian of objects. Sadly, what was glaringly missing from this project was someone who understands really understands design. As Charles Eames famously said, "Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose."
In the case of the milk carton project, the objective of the design was to serve two purposes: increasing "greenness" without comprimising the already established ease and utility of the current carton. Presumably, a failure to understand both was why the project when awry. The designers did a fantastic job re-thinking the packaging, but neglected to preserve the functionality of the object. I mean, what good is a carton of milk if you can't pour it without spilling? Consumers can can certainly learn new behaviors and adapt to changes in products but winning over a consumer with a product that doesn't work? Almost impossible.
Good design happens when the objective of the project is clearly defined, before designing anything. As Michelango once said, "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."
For two years, I was inseparable from Craig Mangan, my former creative partner and friend at Goodby, Silverstein and Partners. Mangan has often been awarded with the title of "funniest guy I've ever met" but in this recent campaign, Mangan and his new partner, Jack Woodworth truly show another side.
This series of simple, thoughtful yet powerful ads about the NBA are beautiful, well written and inspirational - even to me, someone who knows little and cares even less about sports. A new and improved TV campaign just launched but some of the older spots are on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2k-pNx3hynY.
I love when powerful, emotive ideas are communicated simply. Complexity is increasingly becoming a poor substitute for smart ideas.
Last summer I saw this spot for Epuron and thought it was one of the best commercials I'd seen in a long time. I was reminded of it last night at the Creativity Awards Show where it won an award for execellence. The metaphor is well executed and it is refreshing to see such great work done for alternative energy. Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsBvMvHk1BE
As I've said before, I love visualizations. After being innodated with month upon months of Election 2008 coverage, this map of where news breaks seems particularly relevant. I think the giant red part of the map that looks somewhat like an uncooked steak is NY. NJ, it's neighbor generates almost no news. And interestingly, very little news comes from Texas, despite a large land area and population. There are many more of maps featured here: http://strangemaps.wordpress.com/2008/04/.
Who Killed the Electric Car be dammed. BMW is rumored to be bringing back and electric version of the Isetta. Design-wise, it is far superior to DaimlerChrysler's Smart Car. Harrington is also working on an entriely electric vehicle but regrettably, the Harrington BB can only go 29 MPH and averages about 50 miles per charge (with a 9 hour recharge time) but is apparently very easy to drive (especially if you are used to driving go-karts).
I've been thinking a bit about developing a company ethos and how possible it is to retrofit a philosophy after a company has been around for awhile.
This new company called Help has a pretty simple ethos: to help people. They've done a fine job of integrating the message - in the name, in the products, and in the consumer experience. Although Help is a small company, they could be used as a model for what larger companies should be/do.
Their design is nice too.
It is possible to make beautiful art out of just about anything. These plastic bottle jellyfish are amazing.
This British company, Green Endings, has figured out the green funeral: http://www.greenendings.co.uk. I suppose this makes sense considering the overcorwding of cemetaries in the UK and W.Europe. Reuters writes about a French town that has reached capacity, http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSL0552076620080305
I'm posting this for no real reason other than I think it makes an interesting point about how messing with time can reveal just how much we can not see - and makes a bigger point about how much the human brain really understands or perceives to understand. http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/04/water-falling-a.html
The technology to buy things via SMS has been around for awhile but I rarely hear about it actually being used. I was excited to see that Amazon has taken the plunge with Amazon TextBuyIt. This is a good example of a company constantly reinventing the purchasing process. But then again, maybe I'm biased since I'm still excited about Amazon Prime
Water. It's become an amazingly huge topic in the news of late. And a topic that seems to grow more confusing the more I investigate. Yesterday, apparently, was World Water Day aimed at increasing awareness about the lack of clean drinking water around the globe. Clean water, both internationally and domestically, is a problem
The arguments over bottled water in the US began when it was revealed that most bottled water is simply purified tap water in a fancy package, and at a much higher price. The US water industry is a $12b business, so someone was making a ton of money convincing the US consumer they could no longer drink from the tap.
And it worked. There were a few years from 2000 - 2003 where I didn't drink tap water at all. I would wake up in a hotel and feel justified breaking into the $9 bottle of water because I felt I simply had no alternative.
For awhile, the big issue surrounding water was the carbon footprint created by shipping it all over the place. Attached is a great photo a friend posted on his blog that visualizes just how much oil it takes to get water to the US.
But, now, concerns about shipping something we could drink from the kitchen tap are being overshadowed by news about the trace pharmaceuticals found in our tap water. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23563705/. As the Herald Tribune recently said, "Bottled water industry faces the same federal standards for pharmaceuticals as tap water- none." So, it seems the best solution still appears to be to drink local, purified water.
This whole issues of drugs getting into our drinking water is fascinating (and somewhat scary). If anyone has a regional breakdown of chemicals by city, send it my way. Judging from the number of people who regularly take medication in NYC, I may be able to fight depression or high blood pressure just by getting my 8 glasses of tap water per day
A few months ago I saw this visualization in Good Magazine and have been meaning to post it ever since. It shows that the Walmart retail space covers an area larger than Manhattan. McDonalds, the next largest, seems tiny in comparision. (click to enlarge image)
Wired.com featured this great shot of a Smart Car next to a stretch limo. After seeing the YouTube crash test videos,
I'm not quite ready to buy one, but I love the impact of this visual.
In her Business Week blog, Helen gives a great explanation or actually, translation, of how Apple creates products consumers love.
Interesting presentation at SXSW from Michael Lopp, senior engineering manager at Apple, who tried to assess how Apple “gets” design when so many other companies try and fail. After describing Apple’s process of delivering consumers with a succession of presents (“really good ideas wrapped up in other really good ideas” — in other words, great software in fabulous hardware in beautiful packaging
Here's the rest of the story: http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/next/archives/2008/03/apples_design_p.html
At last week's SxSW I went to see climate change expert Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy, speak about how screwed we are as a planet if we don't change the way we live.
McKibben made one particularly persuasive point: if water levels rise as predicted, 140 million Bangladeshis will be displaced as a result of global warming. However, collectively, those 140 million people don't create enough CO2 emissions to register on the global fossil fuel meter. It's incredibly unfair.
This blog is the kind of thing McKibben would like - user submitted photos of people giving the finger to a Hummer.
it was first being built, I worked on the Virgin America brand and have
always thought I'd love to work for them someday. Unfortunately, I
don't think I'm qualified for this position but maybe there is someone
out there who is. **NOTE, a couple of people asked how to apply and unfortunately, I'm not sure. The posting was part of an email from Bay Area non-profit netimpact.org.
Bring a little fun back to flying
This is a unique opportunity to build and fly Virgin America's sustainability program.
And maybe Richard Branson will give you a ride in his hot-air balloon.
Job Title: Director of Sustainability
Type: Full time
Pay range: Based on Experience
Location: Burlingame, CA
As San Francisco’s hometown airline, Virgin America is a next generation low-fare carrier that will serve as many as 10 cities within its first year of operation, and up to 30 cities within five years.
This role of this position will be to build a leading Environmental Responsibility and Sustainability Program. Specifically, this person will be charged with creating, leading, and managing the global environmental and sustainability program for Virgin America. This person should be a seasoned “green” expert who has established and worked with high-profile corporate teams. This person must also be someone who can influence all aspects of the company with cross-departmental leadership.
Duties & Responsibilities:
* Create, lead, and manage the Company’s environmental responsibility and sustainability/“green” efforts.
* Serve as a primary point of contact for the Company’s environmental responsibility and sustainability/“green” efforts.
* Create strategies, policies, internal/external reports on environmental responsibility and sustainability; establish and roll out related best practices through Virgin America and its business units.
* Coordinate with relevant business team members to proactively maximize opportunities for environmental responsibility and sustainability—with an early focus on measures designed to reduce CO2/NOX aircraft emissions and create a company-wide recycling program.
* Partner with appropriate business team members to find additional ways to make the company “green” in addition to ensuring full compliance with all local, state, and federal laws and regulations especially California and Federal air emissions requirements (e.g. EPA and airport conformity assessments).
* Create and lead a network of Environmental Champions across the company.
* Keep abreast of industry developments by reviewing trade journals and publications and by attendance at seminars and conventions.
* Assist SVP-Legal & Government Affairs in analyzing relevant legislative and regulatory developments.
Skills and Experience Required:
* Excellent academic and work credentials; College degree; Masters in Environmental Studies or Climate related issues, MBA, or J.D. a plus
* Experience and knowledge of “green” best practices with a particular focus on jet aircraft operations and air quality issues
* Knowledge and understanding of FAA, EPA, and California Air Board regulations.
* Experience creating and managing successful environmental programs (either corporate or consultancy)
* Proven track record in evaluating environmental responsibility best practices, determining applicability/relevance to an organization, analyzing issues, anticipating future trends
* Deep knowledge of and ability to analyze and communicate about air emissions and environmental reporting - process, tools, trends
* Ability to manage, influence and collaborate with cross-functional teams and mobilize organizations at all levels
* Proven track record representing an organization and forging relationships with a wide variety of external stakeholders
* Experience driving multiple programs and projects in complex, highly-regulated organization
* Ability to influence behavior across large organization
* Ability to communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing, including public speaking
* Minimum 5 years of relevant experience
The successful candidate will help drive sustainability at Virgin America. This person will build upon the established ground work of our existing efforts and shape a comprehensive program for California’s hometown airline.
There are certainly people who don't think Starbucks and McDonalds are competing, but I do. And I found it very interesting that Starbucks closed yesterday to train 135,000 baristas on how to make better, more premium coffee. Now, Starbucks has a new sign posted in its stores: "Your drink should be perfect, every time. If not, let us know and we'll make it right."
They intend to achieve this goal by implementing three new tactics: (from valleywag, http://valleywag.com/361607/
What I wonder is how many people are dissatisfied with the quality of Starbucks' coffee? I thought there were many more complaints around the service not the product. (Of course, I am writing this just after calling to cancel the credit card that apparently wasn't handed back to me yesterday at New Haven Starbucks - so I may be a little biased.)
Starbucks is differentiating itself by becoming more premium and catering to the "refined" coffee palette while McDonald's, as usual, remains more mainstream. This is going to be interesting.