Archive for May 2009
Messaging with the boss much? Maybe you ought to be. Workers who have strong communication ties with their managers tend to bring in more money than those who steer clear of the boss, according to a new analysis of social networks in the workplace by IBM (IBM) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Say goodbye to surfin' dudes and babes, the amoral party that is Hollywood, and any fashion or legislative references that might imply peace, love, or pukka shells. California is rebranding itself. Yesterday, its Supreme Court upheld the voter-passed ban on same-sex marriage by a 6-1 margin. The state has a seriously (and frighteningly) direct, participatory democracy thing going on, which allows the ballot box to directly set legislation and regulations (they decided they didn't want to pay too much in property taxes a while back, for instance, so a referendum made it so). It turns out that a simple ballot initiative can also make verbatim changes to its constitution. California has been crowdsourcing its government for years.
I'm doing a project on the future of food, fitness, sociality and spirituality in America. This morning, I interviewed a planner in the ad biz. We were yakking away on the phone and towards the end of the hour, I noticed something odd. The planner was giving me credit for her ideas. And I was giving her credit for my ideas. You know, the way people do. "I think you're on to something there." "Well, as you say, the thing that matters here is ..." "I loved that thing you said about ..." We were using these stock phrases of acknowledgment...except we were actually referencing our own ideas. We were swapping credit.
In the midst of financial apocalypse, the gadflies and gurus of the global marketplace are gathered at the San Francisco Hilton for the annual meeting of the American Economics Association. The mood is similar to a seismologist convention in the wake of the Big One. Yet surprisingly, one of the most popular sessions has nothing to do with toxic assets, derivatives, or unemployment curves.
It's both, and that's the problem. Some marketers are scientists. They test and measure. They do the math. They understand the impact of that spend in that market at that time with that message. They can understand the analytics and find the truth.
Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg has a second job. On top of managing growth of the popular social networking site, she is also a chef in Restaurant City, one of the thousands of games that run on Facebook. Facebook’s platform, which allows third-party developers to build services and games that run inside the social network, celebrated its second birthday over the weekend. In that time, it has spawned a new industry of profitable application developers, and a host of imitators. It has also allowed Facebook users, such as Ms Sandberg, to interact with friends through the new category of social gaming.
As the Internet was taking shape in the late 1980s, an MIT professor named Tom Malone started thinking about how it could change the structure of industries. In a series of papers, he predicted that the big top-down companies of the 20th century would soon "decentralize and externalize" into industry ecosystems.
There are many ads today from our imperiled banks, insurance companies and automakers telling us that we can still trust them and should still buy their products. But there's one word consumers haven't heard much that might serve these companies better than their current dirges: sorry.
Bill Gates once derided open source advocates with the worst epithet a capitalist can muster. These folks, he said, were a "new modern-day sort of communists," a malevolent force bent on destroying the monopolistic incentive that helps support the American dream. Gates was wrong: Open source zealots are more likely to be libertarians than commie pinkos. Yet there is some truth to his allegation. The frantic global rush to connect everyone to everyone, all the time, is quietly giving rise to a revised version of socialism.
In the eyes of imaginative and opportunistic advertisers and marketers, bloggers and online influencers are the new celebrities and athletes. Brands are showering them with endorsement deals rich with products, cash, trips, exclusive access to information, and VIP treatment each and every day, creating a new genre of star spokespersons.