Monday, January 29, 2007


Media Job Cuts Distorted, In Search of Stupidity (good book!), It's 1998 Again, Oil Prices, Mises and the $100 Laptop, I'm a Locksmith...

An outrageously misleading headline came out last week. It was about media industry layoffs.
"Planned media job cuts up 88 pct in 2006" it said, and the first two paragraphs were
The number of planned job cuts in the U.S. media sector surged 88 percent last year and that trend will likely continue as readers shift from print to online services, a study on Thursday showed.
For all of last year, the media industry announced 17,809 job cuts, up sizably from the 9,453 cuts announced the prior year, according to the job outplacement tracking firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

It is horribly out of context. First of all, CG&C is a famous outplacement firm that handles top executives, and all they track is announced corporate layoffs. It brings them great publicity, and they use it very well. Occasionally, however, some context is needed, which is why Dr. Joe is sometimes so sorely needed.
Non-newspaper publishing employment is up by 12,000, according to the BLS. Publishing overall, including newspapers is flat, only up 500-800 employees. Seems like lots of these people are finding jobs in their own industry. One company's layoff is someone else's new hire. Remember, these employees either exit the workforce, change industries, but usually work for a smaller and more nimble company in the same or related industry. Ad agency employment, for example, is up by more than 10,000. Why is it that Dr. Doom is the optimist for once?

I just finished reading the second edition of In Search of Stupidity, which is subtitled "Over 20 Years of High-Tech Marketing Disasters." The author is Merill Chapman, an expert in software marketing. The book is well-done and has some of the best software anecdotes... and discussions of marketing... that I have read in quite some time. I'm only including some quotes here because people may have heard me chuckling about them when I was on the plane reading this... I recommend it highly for both entertainment and for marketing insights.

"Please to remove the solid drive to check to the connection orifice for proper adherence." (p8 footnote, this is the advice that was spoken to him over the phone by Dell tech support; his call had been transferred to an overseas call center... makes you wonder if they were using Google's translator! You kind of know what they are saying: take out the hard drive and see if it's connected properly. One can only wonder what kind of document they were working from)

p267 had an interesting writeup about the WGA-- Windows Genuine Advantage -- program that verifies your MSFT software, similar to something I've already posted.
WGA was misidentifying hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of legitimate installs as “non-genuine.” Exactly how many was somewhat mysterious, since Microsoft was not very forthcoming on the issue. The company did say that of the 60 million checks it had run, 80 percent of the machines tattled on by WGA were using invalid keys. That left about 12 million “others.” High levels of complaints were coming from a wide spectrum of users, particularly people who'd had Windows preinstalled on their laptops.

On p269-270 there was a quote from a Microsoft employee that is actually good advice
I recommend to my friends that they always keep a copy of OpenOffice on their systems in the event that MSOffice's activation system locks up the software when they're not expecting it and they can't reach a phone or the Internet to reactivate it. Interoperability is excellent and you can usually get something done. It's good protection against our copy protection.
It's not just copy protection -- ANY software can stop working properly for any reason, such as corrupt files anywhere in the OS or in the program itself. OpenOffice has bailed me out on a number of occasions, but admittedly MSOffice has too... and also WordPerfect Office. Since I'm relatively fluent in all of these, I know which software to grab when I need something done quickly or what to do when I encounter a problem file.

The Boston Print Buyers newsletter had a report about the printing economy, in 2 parts.
Funny... the title is "What Lies Ahead for the US Print Market?" may actually be a warning... emphasis on the word "lies" and perhaps making it an exclamation "What Lies!... for the US Print Market"
"...while so much printed material has migrated to the Web, [interviewee... name withheld] does not consider the WWW [worldwide web] a major threat to the industry. Indeed, the Internet has created additional need for print materials, if only to support e-firms."
I had some other people read it to make sure that I was not living 1998 all over again. I'll never forget the paper distributors meeting I spoke at around that time when I was hit by that comment. I refuted it and lost the entire audience's friendship in a matter of a couple of minutes. Nonetheless, here we are almost 10 yeasr later with $30 billion less in annual print volume, and 150,000 fewer employees in the industry and this kind of sentiment isn't dead yet? The Internet is a baby. There's lots more Internet effect to come.

Margie Dana, who runs the print buyers group has a marvelous "Margie's Print Tips" newsletter, and everyone should get it. The site is at and you can sign up on the home page... in the upper right hand corner. I just sent her some notes based on some questions she sent me a week or so ago that will appear as an article sometime soon. It's an excellent organization, and its reach is beyond Boston.

Speaking of the Internet, the # of PDFs online using my Google search keeps jumping around. It's now at 266 million. Google supposedly has been tweaking their search engine, and you don't always get the same number of hits even within the same day. gets 87 million. gets 400,ooo. gets 86 million. gets 197 million. Adobe claims 200 million. I have gotten counts as high as 400+ million.

The next computer screen technology... about 5-7 years away, perhaps... but I want one now :)
The company is "Perceptive Pixel" and it has a touch screen like you have never seen before.

Great chart about oil prices from brokerage firm Raymond James
It's amazing to see what happens when prices are inflation adjusted, and how the prices we are seeing are nothing new at all.

The free market economists at the Mises Institute have taken on the $100 laptop.
Just so people are clear... as the article says, the countries that these are going to have far bigger problems than any nearly-free laptop could hope to cure. My only interest in it is that as these countries grow, items like the $100 laptop mean that they have the opportunity to grow without print. In any of these countries, if the choice is sanitation or immunization or a $100 laptop.... the laptop doesn't even make the list. Give me sanitation first. Good article.

Windows Vista is out today.
PC World article explains why you should not buy it,128645/article.html
PC World reports that the first service pack is in the works... already,128645/article.html
In some ways it's unfair to fault them for preparing for the eventual service pack because you cannot always use what happens in alphas, betas, or early users until a product is in the full marketplace. I'm not running out to get it... my next computer will be Linux from the ground up. But the best way to get Vista is to not upgrade at all, and that's to get a new computer with it preloaded.

Finally, after all these years, the six episodes of Police Squad! are on DVD.
Wikipedia entries
Show background:!
Running gags:!
The DVD has the shows and some additional features that are pretty unremarkable. They have some shows with "commentary" and all that commentary consists of is the directors and producers or writers sitting around a table watching the episode and making comments. You get to learn silly and trivial things like the number of garbage cans or other items Lt. Drebin drives into is the same as the episode number in the series. There's a rambling interview with Leslie Nielsen that is not all that satisfying, and the same goes for the outtakes. The series hit its stride in the Naked Gun movies, that were outrageously successful, and benefitted from the big-screen treatment. The shows and its sight gags and double entendres of the original series are what really matter, and they're all there in the DVD as we remembered them, the few of us, who saw them when they were first aired back in 1982.
Drebin, posing as a locksmith, enters a man's office and is greeted by the resident with "Who are you and how did you get in here?" to which Drebin replies, "I'm a locksmith ... and I'm a locksmith."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Preference for Print, Data Quality, Scripps, Newspaper Adaptation, Ubuntu, Vista

Folio: article about the preference for print among B2B communicators
The report is at and is yet another report that points to the authority that print conveys. I wonder though if a more thorough examination of the age of respondents would yield different results.

Lack of high quality data is still a problem for marketers, and constrains the market for VDP and many digital initiatives.

Ad Age article on Scripps Howard and their embracing of new technologies... so much so that they may sell their newspapers. The excerpt below makes one wonder why Time Warner could not have done the same thing. Scripps makes AOL Time Warner look really incompetent.
Owning its content has allowed Scripps to move quickly in the digital-distribution space, while its broadcast and cable rivals have been bogged down with rights issues. In the past year, Scripps has used its 27,000 hours of archived content to launch broadband vertical sites focused on key HGTV areas such as kitchen and bath and a woodworking channel born out of DIY. Scripps plans to at least double its broadband verticals in 2007.

An old newspaper guy writes about adapting to the new media age... quite good

E&P article about the revenue tradeoffs and transitions that newspapers are grappling with

The Ubuntu Linux project has taken yet another step toward ease of use for non-geeks. You can now do an install from inside Windows!

When the new release comes out in April, Ubuntu will have a special multimedia version. The release of 7.04 (codenamed "Feisty Fawn" is much anticipated [btw the number stands for 2007.April, so therefore the 7.04])

Computer expert Kim Komando recently wrote in her recent USA Today column that Vista was worth upgrading to... but from the reasons she lists, you really do have to wonder if she really meant it. They sound like they are so minor in most people's lives that you're really paying for an expensive bug fix with a horrible license agreement.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Yahoo and Newspapers, New Rules of PR, Time Magazine and Orville Deadenbacher

Yahoo! and its deals with newspapers according to BusinessWeek
You can argue that newspapers are dealing with a sworn enemy here, but the reality is more nuanced. The big online players have a horrible record in tailoring products to local markets. ... it's not hard to find examples of some newspaper companies welcoming arrangements that were once deemed unthinkable. MediaNews Group, which publishes more than 50 papers including The Denver Post and San Jose Mercury News, will soon open a combined print and online national sales office in New York—and is currently discussing involving Yahoo, as well. ... souring revenue scenarios—for both Yahoo and newspaper companies—spur creativity. Yahoo seeks a fix appropriate to its content-centric ways... The world's No. 1 portal is betting that, like Microsoft, it can't do local by itself... It's also betting there is huge upside in the local space for the kinds of display ads in which it still outshines Google. And it's a nod to the reality that advertisers remain more comfortable having their ads around tamer and more traditional media rather than, say, user-generated videos.

Download this eBook "New Rules of PR"
The Internet has made public relations a far more powerful tool than it ever has been. But it's not just an Internet thing... this has been going on for more than a decade. Al Ries (co-author of Positioning: the Battle for Your Mind) has been writing about this for years. The decline in space advertising is not solely Internet related at all. The availability of data bases, new broadcast outlets, the rise of events, promotions, and others are all part of the rise of PR.

The recent layoffs at Time got a lot of media coverage. Here's the letter sent to employees.
NY Post story Ad Age story that explains the $100 million shifted by automakers away from print is a main culprit
This is more a story about the old guard, with tired mastheads and annoying content, and their huge fixed costs and bureaucracies, not adjusting to the marketplace. Employment in non-newspaper publishing businesses is up 12,000 this year. The Time folks will get jobs elsewhere. The current Time employees have a lot more to worry about: their business has to transition. It's easier to start from scratch.
What's even stranger is the leg up that Time and its other properties had online. Remember when "content is king" was the mantra? Nope. Distribution is king. Ubiquity is queen. The botched ownership of/by AOL is a story of failed cross media. Easy to do technically, but entrenched camps of legal issues (music), bureaucracy (bonuses based on print performance, not on destroying old media), and really bad customer relationships (AOL was a horror to deal with, and could not make its own transition to broadband). Time is part of a larger organizational cancer of structural incompetence.

Speaking of transitions, there has been much disgust about the new ad with the dead Orville Redenbacher. His image was created digitally and he appears in a new commercial. As one reviewer put it, he looks like Dana Carvey in bad make-up... come to think of it, that would have been better. One reviewer calls him "Deadenbacher." Ad Age's Bob Garfield has some good insights into why the ad is so disturbing... and why it doesn't work, in his article "Return of the Popcorn-Shilling Zombie."
This was a bit of a casting coup, as Redenbacher died in 1995 -- although apparently not of anything serious. Otherwise, how could he be standing there -- in his trademark horn-rims, vest and bow tie-pitching from the Great Beyond? "These MP3 players get lighter every day," he says, in a geriatric cracker-barrel twang. "Would you believe this little baby holds 30 gigs? But if you want light and fluffy, you've got to try my famous gourmet popping corn." ... Orville Redenbacher is Madison Avenue's first pitchzombie, plodding clumsily forward, not quite dead and not quite alive, like Ashwatthama, of Hindu mythology; Drekavak, the Slavic precursor of Count Dracula; and the Bush administration. ...Big Boss spokesmen have had a rough go of it. Pete Coors got pinched for DUI. Dr. Z flopped for Chrysler. And Bill Ford told the world about the bright Ford future only to draw attention to the miserable Ford present. Even the legendary Lee Iacocca made an ass of himself pitching his old company in a bizarre pairing with Jason Alexander. See the pattern? Those men all have something in common, something that must have contributed to their various spectacular failures. Yes, that's right. They're alive. Why torture those poor bastards when some lucky stiff can do a better job without even, you know, respiring? ... The problem is, the stunt is wrong on at least three levels. It's not only a bit grotesque for the audience but also unforgivably disrespectful of the deceased. It's also not all that well done. Yes, Orville looks marginally more lifelike than the technically undeceased Peter Graves in his spot for Geico, but for all the time and money Crispin Porter& Bogusky spent e-resurrecting Orville, he still looks more like an animatronic Epcot exhibit than a live human being. The lipsyncing is awkward, and (for those of us old enough to remember) the voice is all wrong. For those of us not old enough to remember, it just looks like an ultracheesy commercial with a creepy nerd puppet. Then there's that unbelievably lame opening digression about MP3 players. We're assuming this drivel was meant to embrace the tactic used by kidnappers, who photograph hostages holding the day's newspaper to establish a time frame. Orville's iPod buds prove this is not just some vintage ad footage digitally remastered. They needn't have worried. No commercial from those days was this drop-dead bad.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Agencies, Mobile Media, Index of Economic Freedom, IT, MSFT, Excel Error Again

Why do businesses use the ad agencies they do? The latest poll explains. I'll never forget the time our company (when I had a real job) selected an agency and then the account execs came in... and knew nothing about us. Gee, the presentation went well when they pitched the job...
BtoB also asked marketers to name their No. 1 criterion in selecting an ad agency partner, in current or past searches. The overwhelming response was understanding the client's business (cited by 64.7% of respondents), followed by good chemistry with the agency (17.9%) and outstanding creative (15.0%). Only 2.4% of marketers said price was the No. 1 criterion in selecting an agency partner. B-to-b marketers that have conducted ad agency reviews in the past year agree it's critical that a potential agency partner understand their business and the b-to-b environment overall.

Good article about how technology has changed advertising

Mobile media had already started to gain steam before the iPhone was introduced by Apple. A site,, is already on the case.

The annual Index of Economic Freedom has been published by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal. For anyone needing snapshot data and insights into the inner dynamics of world economies (including black market activities), this report is an essential resource, and we strongly recommend it. The report is available as an interactive web site, a PDF download, or as a hard copy purchase.

The top ten countries, and their scores (100 is best) are:
Hong Kong 89.3
Singapore 85.7
Australia 82.7
United States 82
New Zealand 81.6
United Kingdom 81.6
Ireland 81.3
Luxembourg 79.3
Switzerland 79.1
Canada 78.7

According to the report:
The average economic freedom score is 60.6 percent, the second highest level since the Index began in 1995 and down by 0.3 percentage point from last year. Each region has experienced an increase in economic freedom during the past decade... Economic freedom is strongly related to good economic performance. The world's freest countries have twice the average per capita income of the second quintile of countries and over five times the average income of the fifth quintile of countries. The freest economies also have lower rates of unemployment and lower inflation. These relationships hold across each quintile, meaning that every quintile of less free economies has worse average rates of inflation and unemployment than the preceding quintile has....Among specific economies during the past year, the scores of 65 countries are now higher, and the scores of 92 countries are worse. The variation in freedom among all of these countries declined again for the sixth year in a row...
The report ranks economies based on measures of ten factors: business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, freedom from government, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights, freedom from corruption, labor freedom.

Steve Duncan of the blog Lornitropia has a great post about technology, business, and our industry... and mentions yours truly.

One of the most reliable and impeccably honest co-workers I know is having problems with their computer. It turns out that MSFT's software for verifying whether or not Windows is legitimate or not keeps saying that it a counterfeit copy is being run. It's an HP computer, purchased factory sealed from HP. It turns out that the detection software has an error rate of more than 40%, based on MSFT's own tracking data.

Speaking of Microsoft I have re-posted that Excel file that miscalculates a basic formula... unless you open it it Quattro Pro, Lotus 1-2-3, or OpenOffice Calc.

Friday, January 12, 2007


Kodak Video is Back (kind of), XRX-EK?, H'berg, Scripps Out of Newspapers?, HVP RIP?

The Kodak video is back
Not really, but it's new video about consumer photography, and this one does not insult the people let go in their various downsizings. It's the same ranting old man blabbering about how they're not the same anymore. If he jumps around anymore his Depends will get tied up in a knot. But do we really want someone saying "freakin' " in a Kodak video, especially an "old man"? I know that part of the reason they're doing this is to appear more hip to a younger audience, but it will take a lot more than this to do it. You still want the brand, you don't want the baggage. This doesn't do it. How about compelling products and applications instead? No one will take Kodak seriously until they start making money consistently.

There were rumors last week that Kodak could take over Xerox
If they took over XRX and installed Ann Mulcahy, a woman ranked by Forbes as more powerful than "The Oprah," that might make sense. It can't happen. XRX is more likely to buy EK, but that would make us question Ann Mulcahy's judgment. The rumors of HP buying XRX still persist, and regularly ebb and flow. XRX is still not where it was, but at least there's honest accounting and a legitimate upside potential to it.

Speaking of takeovers, Heidelberg's stock buybacks has not done anything to help their situation.
The stock can't keep up with the DAX index since the buyback was announced.
Morgan Stanley recently sold its shares, and as an investment banker, if they suspected something was up with a takeover or a potential deal that they could be part of, they would have stuck with it. (reference is at the bottom of the article)
Another article characterizes the buybacks as a defensive measure against takeover
Buybacks rarely work... if you have the money, give it to the shareholders if you can't figure out what to do with it. These buybacks are being implemented to protect the vested interests of big shareholders and executive jobs. Shareholders should have the opportunity to have bidders come forward. This does not appear to be playing out the way it was intended.

Publishers are improving their web sites

Publishers are still fighting over postal reform
Small publishers are claiming that large publishers have rigged the system in their favor when it comes to discounts. This is, essentially, B2B publishers claiming that the big consumer publishers are not playing fair. The two trade associations are duking it out.

Scripps may sell its newspaper properties to focus on cable, Internet

The industry grapevine says that High Volume Printing magazine is no more. That's sad... the magazine had the perfect demographic for the long-term future of the traditional printing business. Over the years, its bimonthly schedule worked against it, as it did not have the frequency needed to really build its brand when the "the big 3" were all monthlies, and it had no Internet strategy in the least. Remember, 70% of all capital investment in the printing business is made in the top 2500 establishments... and that's probably less than 500 firms.

Good graduate student paper on the adoption of Linux by governments... and that it seems to be coming to a tipping point. I'm still using Ubuntu on my notebook and will soon be making my transition on my desktop.

Monday, January 08, 2007


Consumer as Agency of the Year, Jobs, Trade, and a Terabyte disk for only $400?

Advertising Age picked "the consumer" as the agency of the year, pulling the same weasel act as Time magazine did for their person of the year.
...big agencies -- great companies that once cast long shadows over corporate America -- are losing more of their control within a marketing process that for decades they have dominated. They're already being squeezed by procurement departments and jostled by media companies and nibbled at by a host of other kinds of agencies that grew in importance as TV ceased to be the only game in town. "Traditional agencies have never had to think about distribution because they'd been told what media to color in," says Nick Law, North American chief creative officer at digital shop R/GA, New York. "Creatively, it's all been about creating punch lines. For years, there's been a guild mentality. Clients came because agencies created the magic behind the screen. The new environment has blown open the idea of being an expert, so you can be very good and working in a bedroom in Dundee, and the world can be seeing your work."

Excellent jobs report Friday, confounding the experts. ADP had issued a report earlier in the week that payrolls would be down by 40,000. So the fact that this was good must be really confusing to them. :)
1) October and November revisions added 29,000 payroll jobs
2) December payroll jobs were up 167,000
3) The household survey was up by 303,000
4) The civilian employed workforce is at a record 152.7 million+
The unemployment rate stayed at 4.5%. Why? Because 23,000 more people decided to join the employable work force. Because unemployment is calculated on the basis of people who are seeking jobs, when the economy grows the unemployment rate can actually go up because more workers are attracted to the workforce, increasing the denominator of the formula. When the economy declines, the unemployment rate can actually improve as workers shun the workplace and no longer seek jobs, decreasing the denominator of the formula. So the fact that it stayed at 4.5% is good news in light of new workers being willing to enter the workforce. It's amazing how little news coverage this report is getting, but why should we be surprised. The newspaper business is downsizing, so in their minds, a good employment report must be a lie.

Economist Gene Epstein ("Econospinning" is his excellent book) had a good article in Barrons about the jobs report
What's amazing to me is how few people actually read the jobs report. Economists who should know better often complain about the unemployment report not counting certain discouraged workers and others who are no longer part of the work force... but they do. Epstein explains...
The fall in the labor-force participation rate -- the share of the eligible population either working or looking for work -- has spawned a cottage industry of critics who cite it as "proof" that the unemployment rate is no longer a reliable measure of either the economy's ability to use its workers or workers' ability to get jobs. The participation rate ran 66.2% in 2006, down from its peak of 67.1% from 1997 through 2000.
Critics figure this extra 1% that used to participate in the labor force would be doing so if only the jobs were available. From there it is an easy leap to say that the unemployment rate is seriously understating the extent of unemployment... But the critics ignore overwhelming evidence to the contrary. In fact, the BLS has kept comprehensive data on the "hidden unemployed" that are meant to address this very issue. Are people not looking for work for "reasons of discouragement"? Are they not looking for work because they might have difficulty getting child-care or adequate transportation? Are there people who work part time and therefore would be counted in the labor force, but would like full-time work and can't get it (the "involuntary part time")? ... The agency uses these categories to supplement its count of the official unemployed. People are considered unemployed if they did not work in the past week and made at least some effort to look work over the past month. But the hidden unemployed have always been present in large numbers -- even in 2000, when the official unemployment rate was at a 30-year low, and jobs were going begging. Were they present in unusual numbers over the past few years? No... The BLS keeps three other measures of the unemployment rate that incorporate the "discouraged," "marginally attached," and the "involuntary part time." All three confirm that hidden unemployment has been no greater over the past few years than it was in the late-Nineties.

Speaking of Epstein, he was on (division of C-Span) this weekend. I taped it and found it to be good. But then, I'm an economics geek. I was surprised to see someone still using transparencies and not projectors, etc. Struck me as odd. Epstein is astoundingly well-read is the impression I got. I enjoyed the book and have linked to it many times.

Magazine consultant Marty Walker has some insights into the magazine market in this interview

Hitachi's terabyte drive: $400. Watch for a number of product intros in this area. Terabyte drives are already available. Note also that there are people selling Linux O/S with applications on USB flash drives. It will not be long before your desktop computer will have only flash memory for the O/S and applications.

The stock market does better when Congress is not in session; a funny, but true article

"Letter to Lou Dobbs" in the Christian Science Monitor explains the purpose of trade... but Lou's not about to listen. Maybe we should have him read the jobs report above.
If you're still skeptical that America's trade deficit is no cause for concern, perhaps you'll be persuaded by Adam Smith, who wrote that "Nothing, however, can be more absurd than this whole doctrine of the balance of trade."... Smith correctly understood that with free trade, the economy becomes larger than any one nation - a fact that brings more human creativity, more savings, more capital, more specialization, more opportunity, more competition, and a higher standard of living to all those who can freely trade.

While everyone is focusing on Bob Nardelli's severence from Home Depot, WSJ looks at it also as a blemish on the "Six Sigma" quality improvement movement
It's a reminder that companies can make themselves very efficient at the wrong things

Industry editor Earl Wilken died on January 4, 2007. I first knew Earl when he was at Graphic Arts Monthly as their technology editor, and would see him at NYU Graphics Center events. He worked in the industry well into his 70s. I remember Dick Vinocur telling me how he "discovered" Earl laboring in obscurity at Datamation and brought him over to GAM. Both were part of Technical Publishing, owned by D&B at the time. My comments are at the article on WhatTheyThink.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Printing Shipments: Stunning! ... and other stuff...

Printing shipments in November were stunning, up a strong +$504 million or 6.2%, and October's shipments were revised up a little, too. This is seven straight months of positive comparisons. On an inflation-adjusted basis, it was the fourth consecutive month of real growth, up +$355 million, or 4.6% compared to 2005.

The WSJ has changed its format and is saving $18 million in newsprint and distribution costs in the process. But there's more to it that that, as noted in an Advertising Age article
As an editor who wrestles daily with the wholesale shift that's taken place in readers' business-news consumption habits, I think the redesign ticks just about every box you'd expect it to tick. In giving over 80% of the paper to analyzing what the news means, the Journal has accepted that news is a 24/7 online commodity and that the only way for a print publication to retain value in that environment is the kind of analysis that leaves readers feeling smarter. This might be obvious to those who live their lives in the blogosphere, but it still takes a brave newspaper publisher to tackle the shift head on -- we can all name a couple of obvious examples of papers that are still a long way from accepting that reality.

Plastic Logic has built an e-paper plant in Germany that will output a million screens a year

Magazine forecast from MediaWeek

A new $100 laptop story... well, it's actually a $150 laptop... but this has user reactions, and discusses what countries are in and what countries are not...,2933,240701,00.html

WiFi in cars through a company called Autonet Mobile. I can't wait for the "surfing while driving" complaints
NYT story
Company press release

Google hint: when you order something online and they give you a UPS tracking code, put the code in Google rather than going to the site. It's a lot faster.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Forecasts, Agencies, Newspapers, Sydney vs. Sidney, and more

MediaWeek has forecasts for 2007
Interactive media Newspapers

Ad agencies are changing dramatically, and printers should look at the same dynamics as a way of positioning their businesses.
Phoenix agencies that want to grow their businesses and attract national clients, must evolve and respond to changes brought by the Internet, third screen and mobile technology, shifting demographics and tech-savvy consumers... "The traditional ad agency model is broken and dead," said Dan Santy, principal of Santy in Phoenix. "What clients need to know is about how to successfully navigate the shifts in marketing and how to solve their business problems," he said. "As agencies, we need to prepare them on how to navigate that shift."

eMarketer has interesting predictions for 2007

NYT's David Carr writes about the generational differences in newspaper use, recent newspaper deals, and the future of the newspaper.

Good editorial in WSJ where economist and gadfly George Gilder explains why "economics is not for actuaries." It's a discussion about Social Security. I can't think of a single circumstance where any SS forecast has been correct. Gee, it's just as accurate when they try to forecast deficits, tax revenues, etc.

China's Internet users are increasing dramatically
The number of people using the internet in China grew by 30% over the last year to 132 million... the number of people with access to broadband rose to 52 million... China already has the world's second largest population of internet users after the United States...

E-commerce isn't for everyone. Here's the story of a German vacationer who wanted to go to Sydney but booked a flight to Sidney, Montana instead... and didn't realize it until he arrived there.

Barron's economist Gene Epstein discusses research that shows corporate giving increases profits
This was something that Friedman disagreed with... but Epstein explains why it works

General Mills reduced sugar cereals have flopped. Some market trends are not worth following. The real marketing lesson: new trends require new brands.

Convergence is something I have written about, as people mistake entrepreneurial and free market decision for convergence. This is a great comic from WSJ. A child opens a Christmas present and says "What good is a camera if you can't use it as a phone?"

Personalization in e-mail is discussed in a Responsys survey of marketers. Personalization technology is underused, according to the report. What's so "funny," is that personalization in e-mail is "cheap," a matter of manipulating data bases. Personalization is really overrated, and has little staying power. If it did, personalization beyond mailing and salutations, would be rampant. The fact is that the medium used has little staying power. In a multiple media marketplace, personalization is a tactic, not a strategy.
According to the survey, 44% of marketers already personalize some aspect of email campaigns and 89% plan to increase their use of personalization in future efforts. However, survey data also revealed that nearly 40% of marketers restrict their personalization efforts to the salutation. Only 10% individualize all aspects of their email campaigns, including salutation, images, timing and promotion. The biggest roadblock to more personalization is lack of time and resources, as cited by 64% of respondents. Other major obstacles include limited information about customers and lack of integrated customer data.

Your English is awesome!... Lake Superior State University's annual list of banished words, or at least words that should be banished.

One of those end-user stories that makes one just love MSFT... another Ubuntu shift. Another example of how assuming every customer is a thief makes for annoyances for honest ones.

MSFT has created a stir by giving free computers to bloggers. The Acer notebooks were for evaluation of Vista, and could be kept by the recipients.
I'd erase Vista and start doing Linux tests :)

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