Blog

November 2014 - PS Insights

UBER (Part III)

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A story that broke in BuzzFeed got reported in the NYTimes last week. Seems an Uber executive floated the idea of “investigating the private lives of journalists who criticize Uber.” Our take is a confident business with a better service benefit should never behave in a defensive manner unless they’ve got something to hide. It certainly has sullied Paul’s previous positive take on the business model. Mudslinging and personal attacks is not a business model. Still want to download the Uber app?

NO POINT. JUST VIRAL

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Alex from Target has become a viral meme. Everyone who has dug deep trying to give it deep meaning has come up empty. The whole deal was a started by fangirl photo posting of a cute guy that just went hugely viral. Alex bills his talent as being good at bagging groceries. He now has well over half a million Twitter followers. His Ellen appearance is further driving this ordinary guy’s fame. And now it’s been turning dark with stalkers and threats. This Internet thing is really powerful. And viral is often as much a scary disease as it is cool stuff that spreads. What do you do to try to give deeper – and hopefully positive — meaning to serendipity?

 

MKTG

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Do you know the difference between The Long Tail and Blue Ocean Strategy? Is it better for your company to have a blog or Facebook followers? Marketing is evolving at a furious pace, so we thought we’d develop a glossary of the newest marketing terms to help people navigate this new landscape. Our app is called MKTG and you can buy it for a buck at the Apple store by clicking here or on the photo. We’ll be updating it regularly and keeping you informed of all the latest marketing buzzwords and trends. Got any for us?

THE DARWIN AWARDS

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Every year, the Darwin Awards are given to humans who have died performing colossal acts of stupidity. In Belgium, they have a better idea: A YouTube video shows a guy swinging a chain saw over his head to trim his hedges. At the end of the video, there’s a message from Belgium’s organ donor society that eight of his organs can be donated. How do you use engaging misdirection to create an unexpected but compelling point?

REHEARSALS

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We’re often surprised (well, not really) when we ask clients if they’ve rehearsed the meeting they’re about to have with senior management. Almost always, the answer is either “no,” or “well, I read it over.” EVERY presentation requires careful rehearsal. Take a lesson from professional entertainers and performers (and from third grade orchestras): the more you rehearse, the more polished you get. Do you rehearse all your presentations?

THE NEW BLOCKBUSTER

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We have lamented the death of Blockbuster Video and have often used it as a case for reinvention. The problem is if you think small in a dramatically evolving market there is often no way to catch up. The new Blockbuster is Netflix which has reinvented itself twice already from movies in the mail to streaming to original programming. How do you anticipate changing customer needs to remain not only relevant, but compelling?

SUBTERRANEAN BLUES

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The New York Subway system has been quietly getting worse. We’ve been stuck in trains because of traffic ahead or signal problems more and more these days. But nobody is talking about it. Until a report that came out the other week that said that 90% of NY subway stations need major repairs. Certainly doesn’t inspire confidence and indicates that someone has been asleep at the switch for a while now. What do you do to make sure your operation is in good repair at all times?

HOME AWAY FROM HOME

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No one particularly complained about not being able to find hotels around the world. But Air BnB has reinvented the hotel business around the world. Why stay in a hotel when you can be home anywhere you want? Homes for rent, comfort on the road. A new way to travel. What business do you think you can reinvent?

GERMAN HUMOR

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The stereotype is that Germans have no sense of humor. Yet the German agency for Mercedes created a charming, erotic commercial showing a Mercedes sedan and a Mercedes 18-wheeler doing a little “mating dance” and then giving birth to a new smaller van, The Vito. How do you handle cultural differences for your company in other countries?

COPYWRONG

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It’s refreshing to read an article that lays out the facts—without taking a stand. A thoughtful piece in The New Yorker October 20th addresses the issues surrounding copyright law. The conflict is clear: content creators want to protect their right to “own” and make money from their creation; content aggregators (read: The Internet) want the right to disseminate that information to the largest number of people at the lowest possible cost. This is one of those issues with two reasonable arguments and no clear answer. Where do you stand on the question?