Doing it completely and totally wrong

Sriracha hot sauce does it all wrong, of course. The label contains more than five identifiable typefaces. The distribution method was sort of odd. The pricing is way too low. Trademark protection is non-existent. Line extensions were avoided. The market was crowded. And on and on. It’s possible to do everything wrong and do very…

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Avoiding the GIGO trap

“Garbage in, garbage out.” It has a nice ring to it. And engineers have long embraced it as a mantra. If you don’t put the right stuff in, don’t expect to get good results. And so, when we banned leaded gasoline, the car industry complained that they’d never be able to make cars run well…

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Batting average is a trap

Baseball is not an accurate representation of life. In baseball, batting average matters because the outcome of the game is directly related to the percentage of times each batter gets on base. But in life, we’re not keeping track of how many times you get up to bat, or how many times you strike out….

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Five ways to make your presentation better

Make it shorter. No extra points for filling your time. Be really clear about what it’s for. If the presentation works, what will change? Who will be changed? Will people take a different course of action because of your work? If not, then why do you do a presentation? Don’t use slides as a teleprompter….

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We’re still clueless about lifetime value

If an Apple upgrade breaks your phone and you switch to Android, it costs Apple more than $10,000. If you switch supermarkets because a clerk was snide with you, it removes $50,000 from the store’s ongoing revenue. If a kid has a lousy first grade teacher or is bullied throughout middle school, it might decrease…

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First annual condiment showcase

Totally off topic, a few condiments most people don’t know about that I’m happy to bring to your attention. $5 each will buy you a month’s worth of delight. It’s hard to beat. Here they are with links, but you can find them locally, I hope. Lao Gan Ma Chili Crisps are numbing and spicy…

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‘Fountain’ matters now more than ever

A hundred years ago, Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, the original punk artist, and also a Baroness, created a work of art that caused a sensation. Her friend (put that in air quotes, please) Marcel Duchamp came to her rescue when the work was originally rejected by the art show she submitted it to. He got it…

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A catastrophe journal

Worth a try if you think it might help the way you talk to yourself (which is worse, certainly, than the way anyone else talks to you). Every time you’re sure you’ve blown it, completely blown it, that you’re certain you’re going to get disbarred, fired, demoted—becoming friendless, homeless and futureless—write it down in your…

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Shameless vs. shameful

There aren’t many fundamental human emotions, and shame is certainly one of them. Shame is usually caused by a collision between our behavior and our culture. Society uses shame to enforce norms and set standards. When you’re alone in the forest, there’s not a lot of shame. Too often, marketers, politicians and others with money…

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