Archive | September, 2009

The Roundup September 29

The Roundup September 29

For the real estate agent, it’s a “starter home.” For the seller, it’s a “fixer-upper.” For the buyer, it’s a “pile of crap.” If they can agree on a price, for the statistician, it’s an “outlier.” Here endeth the statistics lesson. Housing prices have gone up for the third straight month! Unless, of course, housing [...]

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This is Forbes magazine?

This is Forbes magazine?

Surely, there’s some biblical prophecy about what happens when Forbes magazine (mostly) agrees with Michael Moore. In response to Michael Moore’s new film, Capitalism: A Love Story, the editors of Forbes have responded with a piece titled “The Whole Point of Capitalism.” So far, nothing unexpected or surprising from a magazine whose cover story during [...]

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The Roundup September 28

The Roundup September 28

Maybe the Chinese can build an environmentally friendly Hummer, a “bold chihuahua,” maybe . . .” Even the Chinese hate Hummers The Hummer brand, however, could be on the road to extinction if GM cannot soon finish a deal with China’s Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery, the only bidder for the controversial brand. . . [...]

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The Roundup September 26 & 27 Madmen really are mad

The Roundup September 26 & 27 Madmen really are mad

Who not to invite to your Windows 7 party. It’s been a pretty sad week in marketing, from the “AIDS is like sleeping with Hitler” commercial in Germany to Carly Fiorina comparing herself to a dog in, well, Carlyfornia. So, in honor of all the hard-working marketers and ad-men who daily struggle against looking like [...]

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The Roundup September 24

Mobile coupons. Read on . . . Retailer JCPenney has introduced a mobile coupon program for its Houston customers via a partnership with mobile technology firm Cellfire. The program enables customers to use mobile coupons that are scanned at the point of sale in JCPenney stores. To do so, consumers must first download a special [...]

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And speaking of trade magazines, you must read this

Okay, so I make fun of trade magazines and took an unfair jab at Grounds Maintenance, even though I’ve faithfully read each issue every month for the last nine years. Speaking of Grounds Maintenance magazine, anyone who is running or starting a business based on a service rather than selling merchandise absolutely, positively, no arguments [...]

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The infinite joys of trade magazines

The infinite joys of trade magazines

People in the real world have no idea the sheer size and absurdity of the trade magazine universe, a kind of alternate universe that exists in some parallel dimension right next to our own. How you pass through that dimensional door is anyone’s guess, but you know you’re there when you start receiving Grounds Maintenance [...]

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So what exactly is a reverse repo and why should I care?

So what exactly is a reverse repo and why should I care?

Don’t panic! I’m an economist! Last week, Ben Bernanke announced that the recession maybe just possibly could be there’s a chance cross your fingers might be over. Unless, he added, maybe just possibly could be there’s a chance the recession might not be over. Today, news leaked that the Fed is drawing up plans to [...]

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Know your tweeters! Just don’t drive with them.

Know your tweeters! Just don’t drive with them.

“You see, officer, I had to check my Twitter, like, duh, because my best friend just broke up with her boyfriend yesterday but then my other friend just sends me a Twitter about his rents totally going off on him and he’s majorly bummed and just then . . .” CrowdScience just completed a study [...]

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The Roundup September 22

Just in time, it seems, for our Shoestring Venture Apps Business Bible Intel, hoping to emulate the success of Apple’s App Store, is leading an initiative that would encourage developers to sell applications for netbooks, PCs and other devices powered by its chips. . . . Mr Otellini said Intel’s goal was for developers to [...]

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Costco as a startup

Yesterday, stock analysts upgraded Costco stock to “Outperform” as the warehouse discounter goes gangbusters in this recession (well, gangbusters is a relative term when everyone else is losing money). CNN has a must read interview with Costco founders Jim Sinegal and Jeffrey Brofman, who go into great detail how they started the company with their [...]

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Proof of concept

I have been saying it several times in this blog, most notably here, but also here and here. Money quote: The opportunities for thinking about the commercial use of mall space are wide open right now with frightened mall owners willing to take lower rents . . . or pay someone to generate traffic. The [...]

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The Roundup September 21

The Roundup September 21

Netflix’ recommendation engine says, “People who liked Hostel also really liked The Great Chipmunk Adventure!” Netflix shows the world how crowdsourcing is REALLY done. Netflix, the movie rental company, announced on Monday that a seven-man team was the winner of its closely watched three-year contest to improve its Web site’s movie recommendation system. That was [...]

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Customer service as branding nightmare: when Panda Express employees pull out their switchblades

Customer service as branding nightmare: when Panda Express employees pull out their switchblades

I guess Panda Express will be replacing their panda bear mascots,Tom Tom and Eddie, with Tim Tom and Kevin, no? Because I’m yet again putting the finishing touches on my customer service bestseller (yes, you will buy the book and you will buy many copies), I have dozens of loose leaf notebooks filled with customer [...]

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The Roundup September 19 & 20

The Roundup September 19 & 20

Why the stupid grin? Because I still have my job. So there. It was an Onion kind of week in the wacky world of business news. As Voltaire once said, “If The Onion did not exist it would be necessary to invent it.” Well, not really, but here’s just a few of the more Oniony [...]

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The Roundup September 16

Dreamweaver becomes Dreamcounter and Acrobat Reader becomes Acrobat Number Cruncher. It may not be hot, but it’s cool. Adobe will acquire Web analytics software firm Omniture for $1.8 billion later this year, the companies announced on September 15. As a result, Omniture’s analytic software will be embedded in Adobe’s content-creation tools. . . . Omniture [...]

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Building Photokast: Creating an iPhone App in One Month

Way, way back in the days of the dinosaurs — 1993, to be precise — I discovered a new Internet app that was making the rounds among us university geeks and geek wannabes. It was called “Mosaic,” a newfangled Web browser doo-dad, and you could only use it on Unix. A few weeks later, I [...]

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You know it’s a slow business news day . . .

You know it’s a slow business news day . . .

When “My Sister Wants to Borrow Money” is a major national headline for CNN: Just fires you up to click “More Headlines” to find out more world-changing news. How about, “My Dog Eats from the Cat Box” or “My Computer Crashed.” Here’s a a screen shot of the CNN site. This is right up there [...]

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The Roundup September 15

Shop till you drop comes back in fashion! US retail sales climbed at the fastest rate in more than three years last month as the popular “cash for clunkers” car rebate programme succeeded in spurring a broader revival in consumer demand, official figures showed on Tuesday. Seriously, when you take out all the people taking [...]

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Is Jay Leno NBC’s Waterloo or Borodino?

Is Jay Leno NBC’s Waterloo or Borodino?

NBC puts its big bet on the big chin. Today marks the first day of Jay Leno’s new 10 PM show, a startling gamble on NBC’s part, a network that hasn’t won, placed, or shown in almost five years of ratings races with the other three broadcast networks. Other networks execs have popped the champagne [...]

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