Saturday, March 31, 2007

Juicy Joost

Joost, the pioneer of online television, is creating an experience more profitable for advertisers and more enjoyable for viewers. The company is bound to attain unprecedented success with its new free technology which puts the viewer in charge of the experience by allowing him or her to choose from an entire days worth of shows at any single moment, except of course from live shows. In addition, its interface allows for easier navigation than the conventional TV remote.

Joost is a dream for advertisers and a tremendous catalyst for online and viral advertising because commercials would be far more effective in getting the viewer to visit their website because it is only a mouse click away for a viewer sitting at his or her computer as opposed to the inconvenient "trek" from the couch to the computer room which most would currently have to endure. This means companies must construct interesting and interactive websites which would captivate the consumer and hopefully persuade him or her to buy or at least learn about their product.

Joost is also currently developing compatibilities with other technological products. For example the Apple TV, a device which links one's iTunes video library to his or her television, is partnering with Joost to develop a means of linking Joost to one's TV in order to preserve the comfort of a family viewing experience, providing the best of both worlds.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Steve Job Speaks:

I've lived by this speech. From the time when my mother handed me this transcript to the day when I sat down with my Jesuit teacher, Mr. Schreiber S.J, to discuss its principles; I've read this speech so many times. I read it at night when everyone was asleep, making highlights and jotting down personal notes. I even read it during church service.

Steve Jobs offered me a religion, in a sense. And so this speech has forever changed my life.

"Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish."

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

GotTime to play?

Probably not. But in any case, Goodby Silverstein and Partners makes it's it pretty compelling not to spend a few minutes trying out their latest GotMilk ad stunt, GetTheGlass online board game. While Joseph Jaffe has a strong affinity towards the Myspace Travelocity Gnome, GotMilk has now become my own personal favorite. The site's visuals are incredibly crisp and clear, and the overall entertainment factor is off the charts (for anything of it's kind). This just proves the importance of good storytelling combined with stimulating graphics -- both of which Goodby does immensely well. Just for comparisons sake, check out Easy Jet's latest online game, and notice the contrast in quality of experience.

*One is out to directly sell promotions. The other is out to share a good experience*

I should also mention that the experience is sustained throughout the game, for hours literally. Darryl Ohrt, over at Via Worldwide and Brand Flakes, claimed to have spent his entire afternoon playing the game. He does lament on the downloading times, however.

But like anything in markteing, it all comes down to reach. After reviewing the latest statistics, it appears as if the site has witnessed a mere 80% boost in traffic, a lot driven in Europe (not bad for new launch). Thus, Goodby continues to push the envelope, and makes a strong case for the development of online branded games. I just hope that GS+P would share their new expertise with their other clients and brands who don't only advertise milk.

Two thumbs, way up!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Follow-Up on Twitter

Since Thursday's post, Twitter has been featured a number of times. However, Twitter seems to be taking a break from its recent proliferation. Appears that a lot of the naysayers are out to spread their own impressions. I agree to some extent. Remember, it's only the beginning. As for now, check below:

And here's a Youtube video that basically sums it all:

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Is Twitter Worth It?

Twitter is here, and it has arrived in full-force, making converts out of big names such as Jason Calacanis, Mitch Joel, Paul McEany, and David Armano. Intended to ask the question, "What are you doing?" Twitter is also being used to chat, organize, and inform. With a Twitter name of my own, I found Twitter to be an excellent networking tool that also enables me to easily blog on the go.

In only two weeks of using Twitter, I've made friends with over 35 of the world's most influential businesspeople. Through Twitter, I've discovered that people really enjoy cultivating new connections. As a blogger, it's just another great way of joining the conversation. Case in point: I was able to call Robert Scoble one night after he sent out a "Twitter" saying that he was driving home from San Fransico, and that he was open to any phone calls.

Yet some people find Twitter a waste of time, and believe that better sources of creativity can be found elsewhere. Roger Van Oech firmly believes in this notion. David Armano, thinks otherwise, and contends that Twitter is on the verge of something great. Consequently, RvO and DA have decided to initiate a little experiment.

While Twitter can also be used a ideal means to procrastination, I think it largely depends on the content/conversation that is being generated. Besides providing constant updates on one's status, Twitter could be used as an outlet to creative ideas. Since a lot of brilliant ideas are often conceived spontaneously, Twitter could be used to allow professionals to quickly review other people's ideas, build on them, irrespective of location.

So, the question is: What kind of impact has Twitter made on you? Has it been worthwhile of your time?

If you wish to be my Twitter friend (click HERE).

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Join the Conversation

Joseph Jaffe, author of the best-seller "Life After the Thirty Second Spot" and Chief Interrupter of Crayon, will release a new book in Fall 2007 titled "Join the Conversation: How to Engage Marketing-Weary Consumers With The Power of Community, Dialogue and Partnership." According to Jaffe, "JTC" will carry on from where "LA30" left off. In others, it will be light years ahead; completely different, focusing on the power of dialogue, community and partnership.

In the spirit of "joining the conversation," Jaffe opened up two unique ways for others to contribute. The first was a contest in which people could submit their own book designs. Over a dozen cover designs were submitted and the the winning photo of 2,000 bloggers was recently selected. The second option was to contribute to Ch. 10 of Jaffe's book titled, "Why are you so afraid of conversation?" Writing and editing was done through a community Wiki.

So, I choose the second option, and here's my essay/blurb... Enjoy!

"When it comes to Web 2.0 and joining the conversation, marketers are too concerned over the amount of responsibility and maintenance required to initiate and monitor consumer dialogue. Call it complacency, but marketers worry that by joining the conversation, they have eternally wedded themselves to their consumer. In a space eminent for immediate outbursts and widespread consumer havoc, marketers worry about the representation of their brands, and don't want to deal with the myriad of consumer sensibilities.

In addition, marketers struggle with what to say and how to conduct conversation. Before the advent of Web 2.0 and new media outlets, marketing was primarily a one-way communication device. Commercials, print ads, and others mediums were all forms in which marketers could creatively employ their own messages. Today, marketers can more effectively persuade through two-way conversation. However, this form of communication requires marketers to have something important to say on a regular basis. Meanwhile, two-way conversation tests a marketers ability to listen. If attention isn't placed on the consumer, all conversation and ideas are thereby lost. Under this new model, then, marketers must become facilitators of new ideas with the understanding that "the consumer (always?) knows best."

Yet in order for marketers to establish a stronger, more intimate relationships with their consumer, marketers must take advantage of these new technologies. In the process, marketers must gain a better understanding of this new medium and must create smarter methods of monitoring conversation. By investing time and efforts towards providing earnest conversation, marketers will have grown more transparent and open to consumer needs.

Any Comments??

Saturday, March 17, 2007

We celebrate you, Zingerman's!

This week Zingerman's Community of Businesses celebrated the 25th anniversary of its flagship business, Zingerman's Deli. Started in Ann Arbor, MI by the dynamic duo of Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig, two pals from University of Michigan, Zingerman's Deli grew rapidly to become world-famous for its signature Grilled Reuben sandwiches. Over the past 25 years, Zingerman's has grown beyond corned beef to include new food-related businesses such as Zingerman's Bakehouse, Catering, Mail Order, Coffee, and ZingTrain (food consultancy).

Today, the $30 million dollar food juggernaut is considered to be a among the most innovative small companies in America. In 2001, Zingerman's received the recognition of being "The Coolest Small Company in America" according the Inc. Magazine, as well as a "Small Giant," after featured by Bo Burlingham in his book Small Giants. In 1989, Zingerman's establish Food Gatherers, the largest non-profit food distributor to the hungry (in Washtenaw County).

To celebrate the occasion, Zingerman's hosted a day-long street fair in the Kerrytown quarters of downtown Ann Arbor, MI. As part of its potent guerrilla marketing tactics, (as well as just sheer benevolence), Zingerman's rolled back sandwich prices to rates used back in 1982 during its first year of business. So, the regular #2 Rueben was discounted from $11.50 to just 5 dollars. As a result, loyal Zingerman's customers piled outside the store for hours just to get a chance to purchase a bite of history. Zingerman's sold over 3,000 sandwiches that day, setting a new company record.

In addition, Zingerman's just received the honor of being among "The Most Democratic Workplaces in America." This award was granted this month by WorldBlu, a new network that examines innovative, "democratic" business cultures. Its recent 2007 list featured 34 remarkable small businesses, with names such as Linden Labs, Dancing Deer, Threadless, and Honest Tea. After receiving countless e-mail notes from Paul Saginaw mentioning that he was in the process of applying, I know this recognition means a lot to Zingerman's.

Click (HERE) for the WorldBlu List 2007.

Dislaimer: I work at Zingerman's and share in providing a truly unique experience, everyday. Undoubtedly, Zingerman's is one of the greatest places to work.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Damn Good Magazine

Today I happened to stumble upon "one gem of a magazine." The publication is called Good Magazine and it was started last September by 26 year old entrepreneur, Ben Goldhirsh. The magazine explores topics as wide-ranging as politics, media, and consumer spending habits. The writing is completely fresh and provocative, but what's even more astonishing is that Good Magazine is entirely non-profit. So, when you subscribe for one year, you subscription fee is transferred as a monetary donation to any charity of your choice. The magazine offers some really great charitable options, such as Room to Read and Donors Choose. So far, Good Magazine has raised over a quarter million dollars. After ten minutes of navigating the site, I was compelled to buy in.

While the bulk of Good Magazine's content is print, the magazine also has a great video production team. The following short video was recently featured at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival this week -- really helped to answer a lot of questions I had about advertising.

Do yourself a real service and check out the magazine, pronto.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Waxxi: A New Generation of Podcasting

Tracy Sheridan distinguishes herself as a fascinating entrepreneur in the world of podcasts with her creation of Waxxi: a live scheduled podcast in which people can participate via telephone or computer. I really like the idea because it's yet another tool that pushes listeners out of their normal role as solely listeners and makes them active contributers by joining the conversation. Shel Israel and Robert Scoble, the authors of Naked Conversations, were guests on its inaugural podcast on May 20,2006 at 10:30 AM PST. Even Jimmy Wales, the creative mind behind Wikipedia, is scheduled to be a future guest on the program. While this live podcast is taking place, Waxxi will also have a simultaneous chat/IM running with the podcast. With up to 500 participants taking part in the podcast, it might be difficult to get a chance to ask all your questions, but it's certainly allows you to become involved.
It's easy to participate. Just visit the Waxxi homepage and you'll receive a participation code and a tool free number. Waxxi is definitely something worth keeping an eye on for I believe it is yet another way for the consumer to get involved -- much like blogging has been over the past year.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Ad(s) of the Week

Heineken just reported record sales this week. The company has really been on a tear of lately, investing wisely in some great branded marketing and advertising. Aside from its bold taste and clean finish, a lot of Heineken's success should be accredited to creative ad agency, Strawberry Frog. The New York and Amsterdam firm has done a great job of promoting the brand internationally, with spots such as "One big game" and "James Bond Casino Royale" (posted below). I've always admired their work (definitely a company I would want to work for someday).

Here's to the power of advertising, done right. Cheers Strawberry Frog!

Thursday, March 8, 2007


Today, BusinessWeek posted its official rankings for the 2007 Best Undergraduate Business Schools in America. In its second year, BusinessWeek has featured in-depth coverage on this increasing trend, and has used smart methods for scoring each school, relying more heavily on areas such as student and recruiter sentiment, coursework, and starting salaries.

For years now, I knew that I would always pursue an undergraduate business degree. Reminder: I'm still a junior in high school. It just makes sense, especially when you're focused on a career in business. For me, the incentive is that I can major in Finance (the one business subject that really isn't taught outside the academia), build a strong business foundation, and then move on with starting my own business/ventures -- all in four years. Keep in mind that a business degree is absolutely NO predeterminer for future entrepreneurial success (as noted by Reid Hoffman, CEO of LinkedIn). Therefore, I intend on focusing more heavily on internships, job experiences, and outside motivations.

Undergrad Rankings 2007 (click HERE)

One notion of mine is to move out west (Silicon Valley) after college, work for design firm or study briefly at a design school before jumping into the business of venture capital. Moreover, I think it's important that I don't become fully transformed into a prototype Wall Street executive, but that I make time to cultivate my inner creative engine.

Which brings me to my belief that: the culmination of design thinking and business foresight will ultimately drive the most innovative businesses of tomorrow.

As for now, here's my list of schools I'm most likely going to apply:

  1. University of Michigan (Ross School of Business)
  2. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
  3. University of California - Berkeley (Haas School of Business)
  4. Indiana University (Kelley School of Business)

Any suggestions??

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Big Shot in Cannes

Everywhere you look from the Super Bowl to the Oscars you can find user generated content in television commercials. Now Yahoo! is trying to instigate a new type of user generated content in which the user would create online advertisements. Yahoo has dubbed this operation Big Shot in Cannes. In this contest, participants have to create an online advertisement which promotes basically any "green" subject and the three people who create the three advertisements that Yahoo! believes would most likely inspire someone to get up and work to make the planet a better and more healthy place to live. The prize is an all-expense-paid trip to the prestigious annual Advertising Festival in Cannes.
I think this is an extraordinary concept which will yield extremely positive results. Two of my friends, Max Katsarelas and Austin Kronig, are even participating in the contest and are excited about the idea. Who wouldn't want the chance to be able to pick from a massive pool of advertisements for an extremely low cost?

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Lookout TED 2007

The TED 2007 conference begins Wednesday, March 7 in Monterey, California. According to BusinessWeek, the three and a half day session has become more popular than even the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. But it's not all hype. Just take a look at the agenda of speakers (Al Gore, Richard Branson, Paul Simon, etc.). While the event is certainly costly ($6,000), it's value is worth millions considering that businesses like, Wired Magazine, and others owe their creations to the conference. In effect, some people have made claims willing to donate their organs in exchange for admissions.

Agenda for TED 2007 (click HERE)

What's really nice about the event is that each individual's TED presentation will be available to non-attendees via videocasts. The last five years of TED's have been archived on-line, allowing for a great at-home viewing experience. Sure, you'll miss out on the plenty of opportunities to network, just make sure next time that you're ready to fire up your American Express Card in time for the TED 2009 sign-up. You'll only get a three-five day notice.

Business Week article on TED 2007 (click HERE)

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Ad of the Week

Each week, I will begin awarding my favorite ad, commercial, or viral video. Sort of like a marketing rendition of VH1's Best Week Ever (or a weekly Cannes). I won't be applying any specific grading rubric to the ads, only because ads are too often scrutinized for copywriting and art direction and not appreciated for their social interactions and extensions of brand experiences.

So, the first award goes ceremoniously to Apple and their recent iPhone commercial. The TV ad debuted appropriately during the Oscars last Sunday, and I recall viewing it a couple times during Monday's 24. After viewing it for the first time, I couldn't help but smile. The ads left a sense of purpose, believability, and even community.

Ron Elizando said it best on his blog Brand Curve:
"I think it’s brilliant. They’re pushing and clicking the right buttons on consumers minds. First off, just by making an ad for this new product under their “Apple” brand they’ve already captured the attention of millions, many of which are die-hard fans that will instantly connect to it.

And then, to take it all to the next level they show some of the best and most memorable “phone answering” moments in TV and cinema history. They’re straight-up playing with out hearts and minds. People tend to fall deep in love with TV/movie story lines, characters, and images; so by starting off the commercial with this attention hook they’re making sure all eyes (and minds, and probably many hearts) are into the ad 100%.

I think this is what all TV ads should be like. Well thought of, well executed, and most of all: excellent serving for the brand they’re promoting.

Friday, March 2, 2007

How to Empower Entrepreneurs

Currently I'm down with a cold, and while off school and at home, I spent some time browsing the blogosphere for some new inspiration. One of my favorite stops was at Guy Kawasaki's ultra-popular blog, How to Change the World. Founder of the Silicon Valley V.C. firm, Garage Ventures, and former "software evangelist" for Apple Computers, Guy is an affable, "cut-the-bullshit" kind of guy. In a video post dated a few months back, Guy presented on his new book, the Art of the Start, a self-guide handbook to starting up any business imaginable.

Given that I'm in the process of starting a business of my own, there were a few ideas that really grasped my attention.

Make Meaning over Money.
Without meaning their is no business. If your intention is to solely based on making money in an untapped industry, you will be destined to fail.

Out with Mission Statements, in with company Mantras.

To often companies waste exorbitant fees on setting up their own luxurious off-sites, hoping to create the perfect, most emblematic mission statements. The result: broad and worthless statements that are completely uncharacteristic of the company itself. With mantras, companies are able specifically define (in 3 or 4 words) the purposes they serve.

Best Examples:
Fedex -- "peace of mind"
Target -- "democratize design"

Ask the questions: Who is my customer? And how do I get MY Money out of her purse?
The two fundamental questions of any business plan. Be specific. Any further questioning in unnecessary. Get started immediately afterwards.

Once completed, have a WOMAN review your business plan.

By nature, men are vigorous, demanding, critical, and out-spoken. Women, on the other hand, tend to be more responsive, open-minded, and honest. Women are believers, so trust their advice, first.

"You need a soul mate."
Some of the greatest start-ups have been created by partners. For instance, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google helped to compliment each other's strengths and weaknesses. They provides strong reinforcement and allow partners work more creatively.

Hire people who love your company.
Guy was hired by Apple not because of his proven business experience, but because he held a unbridled enthusiasm for the Apple brand and what it represented. Find people who share that passion and they will be your most productive and devout employees.