Analysis

Okay, “analysis” is probably too strong a word. I try to offer a reasoned and thoughtful point of view on topics of interest, usually as a layman or generalist. Sometimes it’s complete drivel — we’re open for comment.

March 15, 2010 (@8:59 am)

Google Ad Algo: Still Dumb or Getting a Sense of Humor?

A silly little find from someone who rarely uses the Gmail interface: I was initially surprised to learn that the context-sensitive ads on my Gmail spam box included mostly canned-ham recipes like this one for “Spam Vegetable Strudel”:

Gmail Ad Shows Spam Recipe Link

December 9, 2009 (@2:06 pm)

How Dissonance Creates the Conditions for Innovation

Following my exploration of “systematic creativity,” I was pleased to take up sociologist David Stark’s new book, The Sense of Dissonance: Accounts of Worth in Economic Life (2009). You might not get it from the title, but this book is about the conditions that lead to creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship in organizations. According to Stark, the presence of competing notions of value within an organization, or what he calls “dissonance,” is one such fundamental condition.

October 28, 2009 (@8:51 am)

Healthcare Solution: Insurance Company Says Peel Fresh Citrus

When a robot from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield (HBCBS) left my wife a message Monday, I was provoked first by the cheerful, familiar voice inflection in the greeting:

It’s the second call from the health insurance company in a week, so perhaps a familiar tone is warranted.

August 7, 2009 (@2:23 pm)

Finding: Job Elimination Is More Newsworthy than Job Growth

With the announcement of today’s “jobs numbers” I thought I should publish some data I collected on how the mass media covers this ritual monthly release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “Employment Situation” report, one of the most regular and widely consumed sources of information about U.S. jobs.

A couple potentially interesting findings are:

August 4, 2009 (@12:19 am)

Marketing That Makes the Product Better

I’ve always felt that I should hate advertising. After all, shouldn’t I resent the TV spots and magazine blow-ins, the billboards and subway placards, the online banners and popups, all the devices the world’s media planners have devised to manipulate me and sell my “eyeballs”? Shouldn’t I resist being made to participate almost involuntarily in the economic conquests of corporate players whose interests I don’t share? And really, shouldn’t I be concerned for what all these commercial messages might be doing to me?

August 3, 2009 (@5:45 pm)

A Call for Writers to Renovate the Web

I recently joined Huffington Post co-founder Ken Lerer for his series of sessions at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism designed to instigate entrepreneurs among the current class of journalists who, mind you, have scant job prospects in traditional media. For one of the sessions, Lerer invited viral marketing whiz and founder of BuzzFeed Jonah Peretti to discuss growth models for Web start-ups.

Lerer and Peretti, both successful media entrepreneurs, agreed that there are two possible models: