Data from Nielsen Co. show that, in June, sales of organic items began declining. Tom Pirovano, director of industry insights for Nielsen, said the category had done well until then.
It's 2010, and we still don't know how to describe the archetypal magnates of the next economy. We don't have a word for it, so we resort to awkward neologisms, like "information entrepreneur" or "green mogul." It's as if we're still not quite sure just what kinds of "capital" tomorrow's tycoons will be "ists" of. What are the kernels of tomorrow's prosperity?
Will Walmart, not Whole Foods, save small farms and make U.S. healthy?
My first exposure to the term "social media" came courtesy of Ted Leonsis, former VP of AOL, back in 1998. At the time, I was one of the leaders of Procter & Gamble's first interactive marketing team, and Leonsis was briefing us on a new tool called ICQ ("I Seek You"), created by an Israeli company AOL had just purchased, Mirabelis. What Leonsis put on our lap was akin to instant messaging on steroids. He had no clue how P&G might take advantage of this curious tool. There was no "ad model," per se, and he even had doubts whether advertising was appropriate. He just thought we needed to internalize its capabilities -- what with tens of millions of global consumers, mostly teens, using an insanely wired and networked desktop device with so many hieroglyphic style icons, it would make your head spin.
Professor of Design at the Politecnico di Milano, Ezio Manzini, took time away from airline food, flatbed seats and a view out the window of the Himalayas to talk to us about designing for social innovation and his work with the DESIS network.
No successful web company (not eBay, Flickr, Amazon, Facebook...) succeeds because of a significant technological barrier to entry. It's not insanely difficult to copy what they've done. Yet they win and the copycats don't. Few organizations succeed in the long run because of proprietary technology. Not Starbucks or CAA or Nike, certainly. Not Caterpillar or Reuters either. Technologists often tell me, "this product is very hard to build, that will insulate us from competition and protect our pricing." It might. For a while. But once you're successful, the competition will figure out a way. They always do.
We read and hear constantly about social responsibility -- what it means, how to do it, who does it best. Often anecdotal and top down, the cacophony of pundits is painful. It might be refreshing and even important to let real people tell us what brands and companies they see as socially responsible.