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Archive for January 2010

At Issue } essential reading

Meaning Manufacture, Old and New

Grant McCracken
Jan 28, 2010

In the old days, most of the meanings of our objects came prefab. This is what brands did for us. Brands, and the advertisers, planners, researchers and marketers who made them. Inevitably we would add meanings to our possessions. We might finesse the ones we found there. But mostly, anyone with the same objects had the same meanings. Thus did our material culture make our culture material.

Does the Apple iPad Make Strategic Sense?

Scott Anthony
Jan 28, 2010

You have to give it to Apple. The company has an uncanny knack for seizing the moment and whipping journalists and consumers into a frenzy. The latest wave comes from today's launch of the iPad tablet with iBookstore content store. As always, there's a lot to like about Apple's device. The user interface looks great, the bookstore seems intuitive, and Apple set a price point (at least for the entry level iPad) that positions the device well in the marketplace. The hype bar was set so high that inevitably some people were disappointed - Dan Frommer from Silicon Alley Insider called it a big "yawn" that won't define publishing the way many experts projected.

Apple's Tablet and the Future of Literature

AP
Jan 27, 2010

Literature has always relied on technology. We wouldn't have the Dead Sea Scrolls had the ancients failed to invent papyrus, just as we wouldn't have "The Da Vinci Code" if Gutenberg hadn't come out with movable type. Technology has also abetted literature by enabling the wealth and leisure that fueled the rise of the popular press — and allowed for such luxuries as a class of professional writers and a large campus establishment devoted to the literary arts. It is important to bear in mind that technology is not the sworn enemy of literature as Apple prepares (according to frantic rumor) to unveil its much-anticipated new tablet computer on Jan. 27. Still, the collision of technology and literature in this case may well prove explosive.

The Age of Customer Capitalism

Roger Martin
Jan 27, 2010

Modern capitalism can be broken down into two major eras. The first, managerial capitalism, began in 1932 and was defined by the then radical notion that firms ought to have professional management. The second, shareholder value capitalism, began in 1976. Its governing premise is that the purpose of every corporation should be to maximize shareholders’ wealth. If firms pursue this goal, the thinking goes, both shareholders and society will benefit. This is a tragically flawed premise, and it is time we abandoned it and made the shift to a third era: customer-driven capitalism.

Apple Tablet Portends Rewrite for Publishers

Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg
Jan 27, 2010

Book publishers were locked in 11th-hour negotiations with Apple Inc. that could rewrite the industry's revenue model after the technology giant unveils its highly anticipated tablet device Wednesday. Apple's new multimedia tablet device, with a 10-inch touch screen that is expected to deliver video, text, navigation and social-networking applications, is trying to change the way much of traditional media is delivered.

Toyota’s Woes in America Raise Concern in Japan

Hiroko Tabuchi
Jan 27, 2010

As Toyota’s problems mounted in North America with the announcement of a halt to sales and manufacturing of the bulk of its cars, commentators in Japan fretted Wednesday that the automaker’s problems could seriously hurt the reputation of the rest of Japan’s manufacturing sector. “Toyota’s reputation for safety is in tatters, and it is inevitable that its image among consumers will suffer,” the Sankei Shimbun daily said.

Davos to Hear of Tentative Rebound in Public Trust

Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson
Jan 26, 2010

Public confidence in companies, governments and non-governmental organisations has staged a recovery since last year's "trust Armageddon", but the rebound is patchy and fragile, according to data to be presented at the World Economic Forum tomorrow in Davos. Trust in business has risen from 49 per cent to 53 per cent around the world year-on-year, says the annual "trust barometer" of well-educated, highly paid and engaged "informed publics", conducted by Edelman, a communications consultancy.

Functionall

February 2010 Trend Briefing
Jan 26, 2010

As we wanted to keep things straightforward and hands-on this month, we're highlighting "FUNCTIONALL". Which is all about a new breed of products that are simple, small and/or cheap (with a dash of sustainability), giving them global appeal, from India to Sweden. Now, if that doesn't warrant a brainstorming session...

Why Effective Word-of-Mouth Disrupts Schemas

Steve Knox
Jan 26, 2010

There is a lot of talk today about word-of-mouth, social media and all the technologies that surround them. But have you ever wondered why consumers talk? It turns out that understanding why consumers choose to communicate is rooted in the cognitive psychological sciences. Before you nod off, read on, because this just might make you think differently about your marketing. The brain is designed not to think.

With Apple Tablet, Print Media Hope for a Payday

Brad Stone and Stephanie Clifford
Jan 26, 2010

With the widely anticipated introduction of a tablet computer at an event here on Wednesday morning, Apple may be giving the media industry a kind of time machine — a chance to undo mistakes of the past. Almost all media companies have run aground in the Internet Age as they gave away their print and video content on the Web and watched paying customers drift away as a result.

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