yeah, but when you face the sun? please cast no shadow. light’s too bright. kthxbye.

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

i was listening to marketplace the other day and there was this piece about these new apple ads starring “mac guy” and “pc guy”. story goes that they make mac users out to be all slick and savvy while showing pc users as geeky and frustrated. i don’t have a tv, so i haven’t actually seen these ads, and i should probably go watch one on youtube or something before writing this post, but whatever, because i’m not actually responding to the ads, i’m responding to the way they were covered on the radio.

the piece talked about how apple might be biting itself in the ass with the ad campaign because “mac guy” is so self-confident as to be annoying, and current mac users might not enjoy the association. marketplace quotes marissa gluck, a marketing analyst, as saying:

The character of the Mac guy is almost too perfectly cast. He is smug. He is condescending. He’s just that uber-hipster you love to hate. It just makes you want to slap him.

fair enough. condescension not always the best marketing strategy. noted.

but the piece goes on from there. after assessing “mac guy” in this manner and questioning apple’s wisdom in promoting itself through him, it cites a study by a media research group that surveyed 7,500 different computer users with regard to their lifestyle habits as well as their computer usage. the direct quote from a representative of the research group was:

This is a group that is not afraid to shout its accomplishments from the mountaintops. They’re happy and proud to talk about their successes and their accomplishments, and that can come across as possibly a bit conceited.

can and possibly being rather major keywords in that summary, imh?o…

but the Marketplace correspondent summarized this information thusly:

They found that Mac owners pretty much personify the Mac guy from the commercials. Among other things, they think they’re more extraordinary than the average Joe.

and at that point, i’m scratching me head a bit, guvna, because i thought we were talking about how this stereotype might not be the best to use for the PR division, but now we’re using our own NPR-special heads to decide that mac users have superiority complexes because —

The survey revealed that Mac users often describe themselves as perfectionists. They’re also more likely than PC users to whiten their teeth, drive hybrids, drink Starbucks coffee and eat organic food.


i think that what i actually said aloud after the “they think they’re more extraordinary than the average Joe” nod was something like “or, um… their computers actually let them do stuff and then they are happy…”

now again, for clarity, i’m not talking about “mac guy” here at all, because i still haven’t seen the commercials, and i’m definitely not saying that there aren’t some annoying, conceited mac users out there, with myself on the ballot like everyone else.

i just found it striking that being “happy and proud to talk about their successes and their accomplishments” is apparently so closely synonymous with “being an arrogant arsehole” in our cultural vernacular that the two can be used interchangeably on a major evening radio program, not just without the commentator batting an eye, but with her apologizing for her own audacity in sometimes engaging in similar behaviors herself.

um… yah.

sent from my iBook, sure, but…

[begin sarcastic grunting voice]

me think things.
me say some things out loud.
me change mind sometimes.
you do whatever.
we grow.

[raised-eyebrow smile at world and self as transition from grunting voice]

onward with the week.


Saturday, February 9th, 2008

starting a company in a weekend is an excellent exercise because there is NO TIME to argue about each decision. you just need to learn to roll with stuff as it comes and let go of your preconceptions regarding what the team is trying to do. every speech is an elevator speech. everything needs to be distilled into its essence. everyone needs to bring full energy full time.
in terms of best practice, we are unable to do the full amount of user research and usability testing that we are taught to believe necessary, but since we are doing everything in a couple of days, there will also be a lot of room for flexibility when we’re done. basically, we are creating a full working prototype of a business, and just launching it to test as we go. it is agile business creation. it is throwing us at the ground and making us run, and that is exactly the skill people need to develop in the tech world right now – just make things people. that is a form of research.

i’m having fun. :)

morning coffee

Saturday, May 26th, 2007

the folks at brand autopsy, a marketing blog i enjoy, have a post today with a link to a great short talk by bryant simon, professor of history and director of the american studies program at temple university.

the talk is about the cultural ethos of starbucks, which is a favorite topic at brand autopsy because john moore, the force behind the blog, used to be a bigwig marketing guy there and wrote a book about the experience.

anyway, it’s a very good little talk, and a good topic to think about for one who has recently moved to the pacific northwest (where coffee is holy), has begun to engage in more business travel, and is currently considering a dramatic reduction in caffeine intake.

in other words, it’s interesting to me! :)

here’s the talk:

and as a bonus link, professor simon mentions a little site called, which is apparently quite popular but is new to me. it lets you type in a zipcode and then spits out local coffeeshops, bookstores, or movie theaters in the area. neat trick, eh?

enjoy them both, as well as the holiday weekend (if you’re in the USA, that is. otherwise you probably have to work on monday. ha ha! :)