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41 posts from May 2005

Innovations Spread Abnormally Slow in Medicine

Question, question, question the treatment recommended to you. You'll be in the minority.

Link: The New Yorker: The Talk of the Town.

...how little medicine has in common with the rest of the economy. In most professions, and even, for that matter, in the scientific community, competition insures that, over time, good ideas are diffused through the whole system: people who don’t absorb and adapt fail. But medicine, which is in some ways quintessentially modern, is in other ways a throwback, a bastion of parochialism in a globalized age. And there is reason to think it may remain that way for a long time.


Reinventing the News Business

Okay, they're going to have to come up with another name because Pajamas Media trivializes what could release very serious reporting, but I'm glad to see bloggers Glenn Reynolds and friends trying to innovate journalism. Plus, Glenn's pull with the traditional media got him a free link into the WSJ!

FREE Link: WSJ.com - We the (Media) People.

Pajamas Media, a blog-news venture I'm involved with, is recruiting a network of independent journalists around the world (and especially in less-democratic countries) and working on ways to support them financially, legally, and technologically. Others are working on news-aggregation technology that will automatically gather blog posts on particular topics, allowing people to customize their news.


A Sadly Unusual Idea about Business Purpose

Hip hooray! You can now read premium content at The Economist by watching Ultramercials. Truly cool stuff like this opinion piece from Ian Davis, Worldwide Managing Director (CEO?) of McKinsey & Company.

To me, his idea that the purpose of business is to efficiently provide goods and services society wants is a no brainer, but a large majority of people seem confused about it. The big problem is that businesses easily find ways to avoid paying all the costs of producing their goods, dumping some costs, such as restoring the environment and taking care of people whose health they have damaged, back on the public. His point is that companies have to get ahead of that problem.

Link: Economist.com | Business and society.

Shareholder value should continue to be seen as the critical measure of business success. However, it may be more accurate, more motivating—and indeed more beneficial to shareholder value over the long term—to describe business's ultimate purpose as the efficient provision of goods and services that society wants. This is a hugely valuable, even noble, purpose. It is the fundamental basis of the contract between business and society, and forms the basis of most people's real interactions with business. CEOs could point out that profits should not be seen as an end in themselves, but rather as a signal from society that their company is succeeding in its mission of providing something people want—and doing it in a way that uses resources efficiently relative to other possible uses.


A Bad Attitude toward Business Magazines

Fast Company magazine is up for sale and may be shut down. This NY Times article linked below (registration required, free only for a week) paints a bleak future not only for Fast Company, but for all business magazines. David Carr says there's no longer any 'general interest' in business, and the major advertisers for the category are all flocking to the web now.

After the recession and all the scandals, it's hard to blame people for having a negative attitude toward business. Unfortunately, economic conditions are pushing more and more people toward becoming more self sufficient in their careers. People love to make fun of the Tom Peters "Brand Called You" article, but the pressure on people to market themselves has never been higher.

Fast Company may go away, the need to find a healthy relationship between personal aspirations and business opportunities will never go away.

Bad Business for Magazines About Business - New York Times by David Carr

Fast Company may be imprisoned by a rhetorical set that cannot be used without inviting derision - spare change agents, anyone? - but the big three business magazines employ some of the best journalists in the business; it was Fortune that first revealed the Enron house of mirrors. But the general interest business magazine continues to suffer long after the correction because there is no longer general interest in business. And even as journalists write and edit articles about a creeping economic recovery, they stare at their own bottom lines and see no evidence of the same.


WSJ Scours Media for New Ideas

Yet another reason to subscribe to the Wall St. Journal. In this week's Technology Report, the editors take a 50,000 foot overview of the media world--tv, newspapers and the entertainment industry. The clip below is from a compendium of 'new ideas for old media.' For this clipped idea, I think their source went to the edge and then stopped. 'Sell the musician, not the music' sounds like a very cool idea and would lead to all sorts of sponsored events and web sites. Nah, they're just looking to get them acting jobs!

Link: WSJ.com - How Old Media Can Survive In a New World (Music section by Ethan Smith)

Don't sell music -- sell musicians. Record companies are in a paradoxical bind. Sales of recorded music have been falling for five years running. But musicians are more in demand than ever among a host of media and advertising outlets, from film studios to fashion labels to liquor companies. So Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Vivendi Universal SA's Interscope Geffen A&M Records, reasons it's high time people like him look for more outside deals to take advantage of their artists' visibility.

Mr. Iovine's company has struck a movie-development deal with Viacom's MTV Films and explored launching a music-video cable channel. Sony and Bertelsmann's Sony BMG Music Entertainment has said it is exploring a film-development arrangement of its own, although details are scarce.


Sincere Appreciation of your Underwear

Crunch Fitness has launched a terrific campaign to get their members enjoying their bodies, including these events. Creativity's Print & Design E-mail newsletter shares the details below. Authenticity, customer participation, and community spirit all come together. Talk about integrated marketing!

Link: Creativity's Print&Design E-mail from 5-26-2005

According to Crunch, "a survey from Psychology Today found that more than half of men and 75 percent of women are dissatisfied with their bodies. This campaign asks prospective members to come to the gym on their own terms without any fear of judgments." Well, either that "No Judgments" concept is for real, or they got the 25 percent of women and the 50 percent of men who are willing to be seen on a billboard in what might be considered compromising attire.

A casting call was posted online and in Crunch's New York gym locations, explains CD Jill Twardowski of the in-house work. "It was amazing how many people wanted to bare it all for our brand." Well, most of it, at least. "It was so great to work with people who are genuinely excited to be part of our message. We had a blast at the photo shoot, and I think the enthusiasm is evident in the photos." In addition to print and outdoor, street teams are roaming the city handing out branded underwear and inviting the public to pose with underwear-clad models, the photos to be posted on the web at www.crunch.com.

Moreover, Crunch is offering to waive initiation fees for anyone who brings a pair of new underwear to the gym, the clothing to be donated to Undershare, a nonprofit dedicated to providing underwear to the needy. Really. See www.undershare.org.


Making Brand Interaction Worth theConsumer's Effort

Bob DeSena and those marketing experts at Masterfoods continue to come up with great ideas for getting consumers to interact with their brands, including M&Ms and Starburst. This is clipped from Convenience Store News, and was mentioned in the AAF SmartBrief.

Starburst's "More Juice More Burst" campaign looks to engage teens by using their cell phones to text a unique promotional short code found under specially marked packs of Starburst Fruit Chews.

Using the code J-U-I-C-Y (58429) across any cell phone carrier, and online at starburst.com, users can find out instantly via a return message if they’ve won juiced-up technology prizes like a 42-inch flat-screen TV, i-Pod Photo and more. The campaign runs through Sept. 30, 2005.