Nota Bene #107: Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

“I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.” Who said it? Continue reading

9/11 happened on Obama's watch! GOP noise machine already hard at work on the history books of the future

Something wicked this way comes.

There are a number of problems with these assertions, not the least of which is that when Saudi terrorists started flying hijacked jets into large buildings on September 11, 2001, George W. Bush had been president of the United States for the better part of eight months. The lapses in memory noted above are all striking, but especially so in the case of Giuliani, who was, from September 11 until he dropped out of the presidential race on January 30, 2008 (a span of roughly 2,332 days, if my math is accurate), unable to say so much as “hello” without somehow shoehorning “9/11” into the conversation. Continue reading

Nota Bene #96: Saturn's Hexagon and the Bulava Spiral

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” Continue reading

Nota Bene #93: Linksgiving

Welcome to my home Continue reading

Fear is the organization killer

Once upon a time the business world was dominated by hierarchical organizations that derived both their structures and mechanistic management philosophies from military thinking that traces its lineage through Frederic the Great all the way back, literally, to the Roman legions. And by “once upon a time,” of course, I mean “at this very minute.”

The truth is that way too many American companies today act as though their employees are some combination of robot and peasant foot soldier. (Hopefully we’re not talking about the company you work for, but I imagine we’ve all been there at some point – I know I have and so have most of the people I know.) Continue reading

In business, desperate times call for measured thinking

As the poet Robert Burns put it, “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men / Gang aft agley.” The common military iteration of the sentiment says that no plan, however well devised, survives contact with the enemy. And former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson explained, in the least poetic fashion possible, that everybody’s got a plan until you bust him in the mouth.

There’s a lesson in here for businesses, even those that aren’t involved in actual combat: Nothing wreaks havoc with strategic planning quite like hard times. We’ve all got a plan, a vision, a dream, but these plans have to navigate whatever reality throws at us, and the more adverse the conditions the harder it is to stick to the course. Continue reading

McCain's campaign shows new vulnerability, but will Obama exploit it?

by JS O’Brien

John McCain’s campaign advisers have made a potentially election-changing, tactical error.

They’ve started lying.

Lying in campaigns isn’t new, of course. The GOP has made big lies central to their campaigns since Nixon and Harry Dent, refining the technique with Reagan and his campaign manager, Lee Atwater, and have since kicked it up 20 or so notches in the Rove era. Most of us know about Rove, but he learned at Atwater’s knee, and it’s Atwater who accused Kitty Dukakis of burning an American flag and Dukakis, himself, of being treated for mental illness.

Generally, campaign lying works. The GOP knows that. The Democrats know it, too, and they’ve done some lying of their own. Unfortunately for them, they’re just not as good at it as the Republicans, so their lies tend to be smaller and less prolific, aimed at a constituency that is very different from the GOP one. In other words, lying doesn’t work as well for them. Continue reading

Ad recall? My ass(umptions)

by greg stene, ph.d.

This is a blog about advertising.

Advertising’s built in part, on persuading people. So, as a matter of self-defense, I naturally reject everything anyone says about it and detest all considerations by everyone.

If you know me (personally as a creative/strategist in the business, or as an assistant professor of advertising), you know that I really think most advertising is poorly considered, lacking in creativity, and the business rationale we use to justify most of it is pure meth – a lot of stupidity that quickly kills your company (and your budget).

But I believe really smart advertising can and does exist, rarely. Continue reading