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36 posts from February 2005

Wal-Mart Pumps Up In-store Advertising

If you're a Houston resident like myself, you can follow the tracks of NY Times reporter Constance Hayes to a Wal-Mart in suburban Pearland where Wal-Mart has upgraded the in-store televisions. A nice inside-the-box innovation to make more marketing tools available to Wal-Mart suppliers. Reading the article, we find that it's a centrally controlled and separate profit center for Wal-Mart. That's an interesting shift for a company that normally gives a lot of control to local management.

Link: The New York Times > Wal-Mart Is Upgrading Its Vast In-Store Television Network.

Here in the Houston suburbs, Banana-Vision has arrived. That's the industry nickname for the 42-inch high-definition L.C.D. monitor installed directly over a pyramid of bright yellow bananas in the produce section of the local Wal-Mart store. This TV screen and others scattered through the store are part of the Wal-Mart TV Network, a Web network of in-store programming that the company started in 1998.

We're Lucky to be Living in the Time of Blogs

If it were not a joyous luxury to blog, I would not do it. It's so nice to find that such an influential person as Peggy Noonan feels just as privileged to be able to read a blog, as I feel to write a blog.

Link: OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan.

I remember what the late great Christopher Reeve said on "The Tonight Show" 20 years ago. He was the second guest, after Rodney Dangerfield. Dangerfield did his act and he was hot as a pistol. Then after Reeve sat down Dangerfield continued to be riotous. Reeve looked at him, gestured toward him, looked at the audience and said with grace and delight, "Do you believe this is free?" The audience cheered. That's how I feel on their best days when I read blogs.

Where Ideas Happen

Be prepared to capture your best ideas when they happen--in the car or in the bed. Thanks to MeansBusiness for a heads up on this new research, publicized in the Guardian by Jamie Milne.

Link: Guardian Unlimited: Where do you wear your thinking cap?.

New research into entrepreneurial thinking conducted by mobile phone company Sony Ericsson - revealed here for the first time - offers an intriguing glimpse into patterns of creativity. A survey of men and women working predominantly in "progressive" areas such as IT and biotechnology found that 81% of people have their best ideas outside of the office, specifically while in the car and in bed. One quarter of those asked said their last good, implemented business idea occurred while they were socialising, while 18% again found bedtime the best time for moments of clarity. It may come as no surprise to some that 6% of respondents had all their best ideas while in the lavatory. Less shocking is the news that just 4% of good ideas that were actually carried out had their genesis in the pub. Can it really be true that 96% of ideas generated in a pub fail to make the grade? The research also showed that, while 65% of people felt creative at their desks, 80% thought meetings helped - and even more thought brainstorms a good vehicle for creative thinking.

Ways to Keep Making a Difference

From the man who brought us Lovemarks, here's 20 great suggestions on how to sustain innovation.

Link: Kevin Roberts: Sustaining It.

Human progress was never reasonable. It is driven by flashes of inspiration, streams of emotion and buckets of passion. Across time, a burning drive to make a difference has been the difference. Never truer than in this crazy age.

Thanks to Company of Friends coordinator Valeria Maltoni for the heads-up.

The Institute for Women's Leadership sounds like my kind of place

Link: Institute for Women's Leadership.

Most-if not all-leadership books and training programs on the market today tell you what you need to know and do to be an effective leader. But being an extraordinary leader and change agent is more about who you are and how well you harness the resources within your environment. In our training programs and through our services you will concentrate on the who you are aspect of leadership. You will examine the context 'the beliefs, myths and preconceptions' underlying your business decisions. In addition, you will discover how changing your context can make breakthrough change an exciting reality.

Great Idea Transfer: Geekcorps

Link: Technology Review: Geeks to the Corps by Aleks Krotoski

While the Peace Corps builds houses, lays pipes and teaches chemistry, the International Executive Service Corps/Geekcorps has a more high-tech raison d' etre.

Since early 2000, the charitable organization has been sending programmers, network designers and technical support to cities in some of the most impoverished nations in the world.

Geekcorps was conceived after Tripod co-founder Ethan Zuckerman visited Ghana in 1993. Inspired to narrow the digital divide, Zuckerman set up the initial program with six volunteers who were sent to Ghanaian city of Accra to develop Web applications and banking software with local companies.

Since then, the organization has grown to 1,600 volunteers strong, and pulls its members from companies such as Netscape Communications and the United Kingdom's Department of Trade. Those who make it through the rigorous selection process then take part in a three-to-four month tour aimed at transferring their computing knowledge into sustainable systems that can be used in impoverished regions in eleven countries across the globe.

Viral Marketing gets Boring

Well, it's official. Viral marketing is now just another tool to be used in boring and unimaginative ways.

Link: The New York Times > Business > Media & Advertising > Advertising: Interactive Viral Campaigns Ask Consumers to Spread the Word by Nat Ives

To seed the campaign, as viral marketers say, Georgia-Pacific sent a single blast of e-mail messages last week to consumers who had signed up for newsletters from, a Georgia-Pacific site that provides information on topics like decorating, entertaining and cleaning. Visitors to the Brawny site will find a section for the tongue-in-cheek "Innocent Escapes" videos in which a strong but sensitive Brawny Man offers compliments like, "By the way, you look beautiful today - something about your eyes." Ari Merkin, executive creative director at Fallon New York, noted that "Innocent Escapes" visitors would find both a "play movie" button and an all-important second button, "send to a friend."