Blog

March 2015 - PS Insights

B-BALL

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Arizona State basketball fans have perfected the art of distracting foul throw shooters from scoring. With all kinds of shenanigans in the stands including a curtain that opens to various costumed antics, the numbers show the ploy is working. Foul shot percentages for opponents are lower this year. How far will you go to take your competition off their game?

TRUE ALASKAN INDIVIDUALIST

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Meet Aklaq Begay. An Alaskan-American Inuit native. The other weekend we dove into the morass of Alaskan-based reality TV series. We stopped counting (and watching) at 20. Choices range from transportation (“Ice Road Truckers,” “Alaskan Railroad,” “Flying Alaska”) to real estate (“Buying Alaska,” “Building Wild”) to animals (“Wild Alaska”) to people (“Life Below Zero”) to a half-dozen specifically related to gold miners and one based around a gun shop owner and his family. The 2010 census listed the population of Alaska as 736,431. So as near as we could determine, Ms. Begay is the only Alaskan who’s not starring in her own TV show. Are you quick to imitate a competitor—or do you find your own path?

GOOD vs GREAT

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Two recent commercials drive home the point about good vs great. The message of both commercials is about people. But the people in the Volvo spot while beautifully art directed, could have been cast from a stock video footage house. The other spot, from Facebook  recognizes that people really are the company’s business—and the spot is a montage of interesting and fascinating images. Do you settle for “good” or do you aspire to and deliver “great?”

BRIDGE & TUNNEL

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It used to be that weekends saw an influx of people in the suburbs making a beeline to the cool haunts of New York City. Recent articles have cited that the Bridge & Tunnel crowd are using other bridges and going in other directions to find cool experiences. Brooklyn has become the new night-spot for bars and clubs. It’s also the new cool spot for business start-ups. Do you actively look to the next thing to keep your edge sharp and your work at the cutting edge?

CENTRAL PARK

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Paul just taught a mini marketing course to 10 Japanese students. The subject was the launch of a line of Japanese cosmetics brushes into the US. As one of his questions to the group he asked, “What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve seen in New York?” There were a number of different answers, but three cited Central Park. What do you take for granted that is really special and can be celebrated?

WHERE, OH WEAR?

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All eyes are on the Apple Watch as the possible next thing in technology (pictured: the $10,000 model). More and more people don’t even wear watches today. Yet much has been written about wearables becoming the next big thing in tech. So is this going to be a game changer or a piece of tech we don’t want or need?

TAXI TEST

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The New York taxi driver exam has just been made easier. The “wisdom” is that GPS will find the way. But it seems to us basic knowledge of sites and directions should still be the ante for being licensed to drive a cab. Basic knowledge is still valuable knowledge. Is the next step to stop teaching math in schools because we can all figure out problems using calculators?

TOUGH SLEDDING

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As the snow melts and spring finally seems a possibility, we have been struck by this winter’s news of various towns and municipalities banning sledding because of accidents. It’s one thing to caution people to be safe or even tell them that they sled at their own risk. It’s quite another thing to ban fun because accidents may happen. What do you do to invite adventure vs. playing it safe all the time?

WE’LL TAKE IT FROM HERE, DAD

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There has been a lot of talk about the recent SNL ISIS “commercial.” A parody of the Toyota Super Bowl commercial, it shows an emotional dad dropping off his grown daughter who is on her way to her next life adventure. The “comedic” resolve is that the adventure is her joining ISIS. Comedy has been referred to as tragedy plus time. When this kind of comedy misfires people often say “too soon.” The court is divided on this parody. It’s often a thin line between “edgy” and “over the edge.” How do you get to the edge without going over?