hypocritical : talking the talk without walking the walk

November 29, 2006

Living the dream


Well, I guess I'm living their dreams, too.

 

Living the dream

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November 28, 2006

Web 2.0 Fax machine

Bubble? What bubble? Oh that bubble.

I submit, for your consideration, Presto, the Fax machine on Web 2.0 juice.

 

Web 2.0 Fax machine

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November 21, 2006

Brand Camp, frighteningly accurate cartoons

Taking it a bit easy this week, in preparation for the reckless consumerism that overwhelms the United States later this week. But, it's the holidays. And that always makes me think of you, gentle reader. So I can't stay away from dropping you a brief missive or two.

Check out Brand Camp. (If it's still on the front page... third one down "Mind to Market in 3,000 days"? Genius.)

While not as easily accessible as Gaping Void (nudges Tom), Brand Camp will have you wondering how Tom Fishburne got inside your head.

 

Brand Camp, frighteningly accurate cartoons

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November 17, 2006

What's in a name? Lexicon apparently

UPDATE (11/20/2006): Snarkhunting provides their take on the Lexicon naming. Hint: "Zune" is "tune" with a "z." Which if you couple with the irreverence quote, below, makes the name development go something like this:

"Z is irreverent. Let's call it Tunez."
"How about backwards? Zenut."
"How about pig-Latinish? Zune?"
"Brilliant!"


ORIGINAL POST

I had heard of Lexicon. But I had no idea they were so prolific.

Here's an interesting piece about their process of naming the Microsoft Zune. A little hyperbolic and effusive, but well worth the read.

I guess if I were as successful as Lexicon, I'd be a little hyperbolic and effusive more of the time, as well.

I must note that I was wary of their little un-Seasame-Street-esque riff on Z ("The letter z's current popularity in respellings like "boyz" and "antz" lends a youthful irreverence.") for a couple of reasons:

  1. I don't see boyz and antz as anywhere near "current" in terms of popularity or being youthfully irreverent. I think the word for which they were searching is "trite."

  2. In reality, it appears that Lexicon, themselves, may have more of a Z obsession than anyone else, e.g., Zune, Zire, Fabreeze. They also seem to be a big fan of the letter V.


Still, I'd recommend both visiting the Lexicon site and reading the article. Because, all of my excrutiatingly useless insight aside, the piece is, overall, insightful and well worth the read.

 

What's in a name? Lexicon apparently

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November 16, 2006

You can tell a lot about a company by the company it eats

While the key could use some work (Microsoft Windows didn't acquire this companies, Microsoft did), this is a very interesting timeline of Google's, Yahoo!'s, and Microsoft's acquisitions. Especially interesting is the increasing frequency.

Now, some folks are calling this a mashup. Um. Yeah.

I guess the term paper I wrote for fourth grade was a mashup, too, then. As is the newspaper that arrives on my doorstep.

Putting information from disparate sources on a timeline is not a mashup. It's a timeline.

Anyway, go spend a few minutes with it.

 

You can tell a lot about a company by the company it eats

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November 15, 2006

WTF KFC?

Who in his/her right mind would work at KFC? Oh wait. I mean who in his right mind thought that this was a good idea? It is an original recipe for hype.

I mean, who doesn't want to see Colonel Sanders ugly mug from space? This makes Virgin's proposed space travel a great deal less appealing.

And to continue my "wtf" questioning, wtf is up with Yum! Brands obsession with space? Remember that Taco Bell thing where if MIR hit that target we'd all get free tacos?

Someone at Yum! has some issues.

 

WTF KFC?

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PDX "Water-saving" toilet handle

Water saving handle placardI was back in PDX, so I took the opportunity to, um, take a photo of the so-called water-saving handle placard. This should provide a little more detail than my crude drawing.

For those who have no idea of that which I speak, please visit Going to the bathroom (bad marketing communications happens there, too).

 

PDX "Water-saving" toilet handle

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November 09, 2006

Mavericks at Work: I'll take "Regurgitation of insights I've read in more well-written tomes" for 500 Alex

Mavericks at Work* is the new media-darling of a book by William C. Taylor and Polly LaBarre, both former Fast Company elite.

Now, let me start by saying that I was a huge fan of Fast Company. Huge. I still have a stack of old FCs sitting on my bookcase. Every once in awhile I'll thumb through them for a refresher. And then I'll reorganize them so that I'll be prepared to hawk them on eBay when the first bubblers have new cash to spend from the Web 2.0 bubble.

So, Fast Company? I'm a fan.

So imagine my excitement. No, I'm serious. Imagine my excitement.

Okay. Got it? Good. Let's move on.

Tom Peters' dust jacket endorsement of the book reads "I didn't read this book. I devoured it."

I wish I'd followed Tom's lead. It had to taste better than it read.

Imagine my excitement when I saw that Mavericks at Work was written by not one but two former FC staff. Be still my heart. And what's more, imagine how that excitement increased when I found out that one of the authors would be speaking in town.

Keep imagining it my friend, because that's all that excitement is anymore: a figment of our collective imagination.

I was completely disappointed in the book.

So, I waited. Maybe the author talk will convince me otherwise. Inspire me to re-read with fresh eyes. Share an insight that would send me racing back to immerse myself in the pages that suddenly contained knowledge I had somehow overlooked.

No dice.

So that's it. I'm done with the review. Nothing to review.

But I want something to read, I hear you whining. There, there. Don't go crying like a little titmouse. I'll give you something to do. In fact, here's what I'd suggest instead of spending your money on this one.

First, read Good to Great by Jim Collins, since it's the foundation, the lobby, and the 2nd through 50th floors of this Mavericks book. (Apparently "coming up with new content" wasn't part of being a maverick.)

If you don't own Good to Great, Amazon is currently offering a "Buy Both and Save" option for Good to Great and Mavericks at Work.

Want to know how to save even more? I'll tell you how: Just buy Good to Great.

Next pick some reading from the following list to get the "edgy" that may be missing from Good to Great:



Or if you feel like you need to get all educated and professorial choose from


But most of those are old books you say. Guess what? So is Mavericks at Work. You've read it all before. Trust me. (And don't give me the old "There are no new ideas" argument. I use that one all of the time. I am familiar with the technique, the parry, and the retort. Rest assured that the recycled ideas in the reading list above were far fresher in those works than they were in Mavericks.)

Sad. I expected so much more from the brains behind Fast Company.

*I only include the Amazon link to Mavericks at Work because if you're dumb enough to buy it, I want to make money off of your stupidity.

 

Mavericks at Work: I'll take "Regurgitation of insights I've read in more well-written tomes" for 500 Alex

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November 08, 2006

Like Visual Search. So, like, what's the likeness for disappointment?

Like, I had expected so much more from Riya's impressive technology than the Like Visual Search. I mean other than like a home-shopping-network-meets-access-Hollywood search engine.

You do know that, like, they're really smart and stuff? Like, and I quote (like, emphasis is mine):

Riya was founded in August 2004 and has assembled one of the largest visual computing research teams in the world. Its mission is to simplify search and ecommerce by harnessing the latest breakthroughs in visual computing. It has almost one dozen patents pending in the areas of visual recognition and search. Riya has raised $19.5 million from venture and private equity investors, including Bay Partners, BlueRun Ventures, and Leapfrog Ventures.

If this is, like, the best that, like, the best and brightest (and well funded) can create, ya know? Then, like, I fear, like, our time is close at hand. Thomas Hawk of, like, Zoomr, is like disappointed, as well.

Like, bummer.

 

Like Visual Search. So, like, what's the likeness for disappointment?

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November 07, 2006

More than a living

I'm going to let you in on a little secret.

Shh. This is just between you and me.

As you well know, gentle reader, my bile oft overflows its proverbial cup. And as such, I've recently started another blog.

Quit jumping around with excitement. You're going to draw attention.

Now, I'm going to let you in on an early preview BETA version of it.

Because I like you silly. And the way your nose does that little thing when you laugh.

Why another blog? You are so curious. That's good.

I'm starting another blog because I need more focus. It is my hope that splitting my time between the two will provide that marketing-branding-soapbox focus here at hypocritical, while expanding my sphere of influence on my carefully planned path to achieve COMPLETE AND UTTER WORLD DOMINATION.

Oh wait. Did I say that out loud?

Anyway. The new blog is a joint venture with Toby Lucich, the co-founder of Return. It's entitled More than a living.

"What's it about," I hear you asking, "this More than a living thing?"

Well, we're still working out the details of the manifesto or the theses or mission statement or whatever it is you're supposed to have in place when you begin these things. But the gist is this: You have to take responsibility for your employed life. And part of that is realizing that work needs to be more than earning a living.

If you like my oh-so-witty take on topics here at hypocritical, you'll no doubt love the content I provide over at More than a living. If you hate the content I provide here, then welcome to the silent majority. You might also tool on over there to read some of Toby's content though.

Or, if you trust that it's going to be up to the same level as hypocritical (notice I didn't use any optimistic modifiers there like "stupendous" or "deeply insightful"), go ahead and sign-up for the More than a living RSS feed, right here, right now.

And remember, this is our secret. I knew I could trust you.

 

More than a living

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November 06, 2006

No one remembers your logo, they remember your brand

The next time you plan to spend hours agonizing over your logo design, making fine finishing touches and minor tweaks to enhance its perfection, I might suggest that you spend time walking through this little ditty, instead:

Guess the Logo

This is a great example of how, even with the marks that bombard us innumerable times a day, the finer points are often lost on the target market.

Or in other words: No one cares.

What is memorable is not your mark, itself. What is memorable is the emotion that the perception of your mark ignites. The finer points of graphic design and PMS shades? Lost on almost everyone.

Better to spend some time concentrating on the brand perception you want to create, rather than the identity that reminds the user of that perception.

Or maybe if you don't want to think about that, you can read me ranting about it instead.

Or, you could revel in the hypocrisy of my Scrybe entry (immediately preceding this one) where I rail on about one of those seemingly insignificant details.

It's called hypocritical for a reason.

 

No one remembers your logo, they remember your brand

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November 02, 2006

Scrybe: Is that flaccid descender on the "y" bugging anyone else?

Scrybe's logotype features a flaccid y resting on a white high-lacquer table
Scrybe
I really want to like Scrybe. I really do. I think they're pursuing something very interesting. And for that I laud them.

But I have one complaint: that Scrybe logotype.

I seriously hope it is as beta as their software.

Every time I see it, all I can see is that flaccid descender on the y. Not strong enough to support the rest of its typographic friends? Unable to balance?

Dunno.

All I know is that it just sits on the high-lacquer white table. Unable to stand up. Resting on its proverbial laurels. If a y even has laurels.

And since the reflection starts before the descender, well, descends, I read scrvbe.

Which I guess would be scrube, were I Roman. Which I'm not.

And don't even get me started on the "BETA" which appears to be occupying an entirely different dimension of reality.

So instead I complain.

As bad as the Sunkist thing? Or the Arlington Pediatric Center? Probably not.

But still.

Here's a tip to all you Web 2.0 types out there: If you're going to use reflections and sources of light and gradients and all of that stuff, try to make it look natural. Don't divorce yourself too distantly from reality.

It does make it memorable. But, it makes it memorable because it looks like a mistake.

And once I'm suspect of your logotype, I suddenly become suspect of everything else you do.

 

Scrybe: Is that flaccid descender on the "y" bugging anyone else?

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Your target market is closer than you think

Companies spend millions of dollars on research. Looking for the customer profile that will best fit their offering. Trying to figure out the messages that will resonate with these individuals. Doing their best to determine the things that influence the defined niche to buy.

And you need to spend time talking to yourself.

Then, they spend even more trying to communicate with that market. Web sites, brochures, advertising, direct mail, email newsletters, blogs, YouTube videos, social networking, Digging, tradeshow booths, speaking engagements, public relations, roadshows, and on and on and on.

Companies spend all of this time and energy and money seeking to understand and influence a "target market" in hopes of becoming successful.

Most of it-the vast majority-is a complete waste. And I speak from more experience in that regard than I care to admit. But, learn from your mistakes and whatnot.

Now, where was I? Oh, yes. You likely came here after reading the title and I've done nothing but ramble on about things you already know. My apologies. You know me. Pontificating and preaching when I should be getting to the point.

And the point is this: Many companies are ignorant that their primary target market is already accessible. Already available. Right there in front of you. And already hungry to hear the message. To believe in the company. To believe in the products. Ready to consume. And you already have a communications channel-likely malformed and underutilized, but existent-with them.

Where is this mystical market of which you speak, vile charlatan? Enlighten us so that we may rain down upon them with vigorous communications.

Walk down the hall. Better yet, look in the mirror.

Ta dah!

You see, your target market-your true target market, your accessible target market-is each and every one of your employees.

You hired intelligent, capable people. They need to believe in you.

Now, I am the first to admit that most companies don't have the luxury of producing a product or service that their employee base can actually purchase and use. You're probably producing a widget or a chip or a pipe. Or consulting. Or designing. So, in the classic sense, your employee base is not their target customer. But they are still the primary target market.

You need to spend time talking to your employees. You need to spend time conversing with them. You need to keep doing it. No matter how uncomfortable it makes you.

And you need to spend time talking to yourself.

Because here's the thing... if your employees don't believe in what you're doing, you're sunk. If you can't get them excited about what you're pursuing, then you're in trouble.

You hired intelligent, capable people. They need to believe in you.

So turn to the mirror. Do you believe in what you're doing? Do you believe what you're saying on a daily basis? Do you believe in the company? If you answer "no" to any of these questions, what makes you think your employees will?

You think you're capable of spinning that story? That's quite a sales pitch. And even if you were capable of doing that, where's the reward? Don't you have better things on which to spend your energy?

I thought so.

Honesty is the best policy. Start using it.

So, what if you start being honest and your employees don't believe in what you're doing? Well, that's a-whole-nother story. But, basically, you either let them off the bus or you throw them off the bus. And then you spend time getting people on the bus who do believe in what you're doing.

And what if no one but you believes in it? You just cut your overhead to a single digit.

And what if you don't believe in it? Things just got even easier.

Believe in it or don't do it.

 

Your target market is closer than you think

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November 01, 2006

Le Bistro Montage: Le closed for le lunch le day after Halloween, but still just as le rude as ever

Le Bistro Montage, under the Morrison Bridge in Portland, Oregon (not to be confused with Bistro Montage of Des Moines, Iowa), is a restaurant I've frequented for more than ten years. And I always go there expecting the service to be aloof, if not rude.

The food is good. Cheap and good. And you get tin-foil sculptures if you have leftovers. What can you do?

So, I've tended to put up with it. It passes for atmosphere. I think. When the drag queens haven't shown up, yet.

Today, however, they managed to astound even my appropriately girded sensitivities.

Here's a tip: Don't try to go to Montage for lunch the day after Halloween. Don't, that is, unless you like standing outside in the cold until 20 minutes after the purported opening time only to have a surly staff person who has been staring at you for said 20 minutes begrudgingly unlock the door, stick her head out, and say "We're not open for lunch today."

Why?

"We had our Halloween party last night."

Apparently I wasn't in the know. Shocker. Was this a decision that was made more than 20 minutes ago?

"Yes."

You could have told us that then. Better yet, you might have put up a sign. Maybe scrawl something in black marker on a piece of paper and stick it on the door, right near that sign that says you're open for lunch today? That way you won't have this crowd of people out here staring at you. I mean, I know how valuable the real estate on your windows is. But a sign might be nice.

Sigh. Someday, I hope to be successful enough to be rude and surly. Or maybe just more rude and surly than I already am.

Oh wait. No, I don't.

I think I'll follow CitySearch's lead and remove Montage from my system.

Sad, but perhaps necessary.

 

Le Bistro Montage: Le closed for le lunch le day after Halloween, but still just as le rude as ever

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