The latest book, Poke The Box is a call to action about the initiative you're taking - in your job or in your life, and Seth once again breaks the traditional publishing model by releasing it through The Domino Project.
John Moore nails it: Brand Autopsy: Creationist WOM Eggs-ample. He left out the fifth impression, when you throw the shells down the disposal.
...doesn't mean clueless everywhere.
Brian pointed me to Wal-Mart - The HUB (School Your Way). The site is about what you'd expect... a sort of lame knock off of youtube and myspace. A Disney version of what makes the web exciting to a lot of people.
But not to all people.
Just because some folks will look at it and sneer doesn't mean it won't work. Some people want a clean, well-lit, orderly environment, even online. Wal-Mart has thrived by trying to sell mass to the masses. It's okay with them that we can't find an adapter for our new Treo there. Or a copy of the latest edgy magazine.
The early adopters out there will push, and often push hard, for you to market to them. Sometimes that's a great idea (after all, they're listening!). But as Wal-Mart has successfully demonstrated, the middle of the market is a very profitable place as well.
Why do some organizations look great... and get great results from their design efforts and ads... while others languish in mediocrity? I think it has little to do with who they hire and a lot to do with how they work with their agencies and designers.
Here are the things your design team wishes you would know:
Fonts, for you tech folks.
Fonts are design in a little tiny box. Fonts tell a story at the same time they deliver the letters you need to tell your story. Fonts are usually underused (this ppt is in Arial, that Word doc is in Times, I'm done) or overused (oh, a ransom note!).
And sometimes, fonts are extremely expensive. Not overpriced, necessarily, but it adds up. So, thanks to Digg, it's nice to find: Urban Fonts. Download Free Fonts and Free Dingbats for PC and MAC. Just like it says.
Here are my rules of thumb:
PS at least six people wrote in to recommend dafont.
I got a gift certificate for a massage... went to the spa/place to collect it, and the harried receptionist looked up at me and said, "Are you here for a haircut?"
Just about every organization has a receptionist. Sometimes, he or she is merely a guardian, a patrol designed to keep the riffraff in the lobby.
Other times, though, a receptionist can change the entire tone of an interaction. If you've got someone answering your phone, greeting your clients--who have traveled a thousand miles to visit your office--or otherwise dealing with the outside world, I think it's time to do some simple cost/benefit analysis.
If the receptionist greets just 100 people a day, that's 20,000 people a year. Is it worth a dollar per interaction to transform all of those interactions into something spectacular? In other words, instead of hiring the cheapest person, or sticking with the existing person because it's easier, what if you invested in a truly remarkable experience?
Jesse Thorn points us to: The "Snakes on a Plane" Problem. Here's the short version: the people want what the people want, but if you ask them first, you don't always end up with something they actually like.
Two interesting ideas at the same time this week.
First, after a bazillion years, Nielsen announces that they will start to rate the viewership of commercials. The obvious question, "why wait so long?" The answer is that the networks are a critical client of Nielsen, and the last thing in the universe they want is to rate commercials. The surprising thing is that many advertisers don't want the ratings either. Why? Because as soon as you measure, you need to admit you failed. So you need to tell your boss you wasted a few million dollars...
Second, Doug Karr writes in to take newspapers and the Audit Bureau of Circulation to task for the changing standards in newspaper ratings. The numbers are a lot less strict... and a lot softer... than they were a decade or two ago, he reports.
Measurement is always tricky, because people believe what they want to believe and find the numbers to back it up. In both cases, we're seeing how advertisers and media companies are complicit at weaving a story that doesn't really hold up. How many "hits" did your web page get last week? And what, exactly, does that mean?
Blake Schwendiman is a really talented guy, and he's been moonlighting on a novel. This is happening often enough (blog leads to audience leads to book leads to audience leads to financial success and popular ideas) that it's now officially a trend.