10 Things I Learned This Week

[ 06/16/2019 Edition ]

  1. The designer’s guide to the science of cool
  2. Specialize, but make sure you also generalize
  3. Behind the “Artificial Intelligence” curtain of deceit? A white-collar sweatshop
  4. Customer Experience is more than a score
  5. Net Promoter Score (NPS) finally recognized as a dubious management fad
  6. The notion of a ‘Retail Apocalypse’ is far-fetched
  7. You will know the United States a lot better by its many belts
  8. Direct-to-consumer brands get results when spending on traditional advertising
  9. Silicon Valley doesn’t have a monopoly on innovation or disruption
  10. “Amazon’s Choice” may not necessarily be the best choice
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10 Things I Learned This Week

[ 05/28/2019 Edition ]

  1. The history of likeability predates social media
  2. Smart home? More like spy home
  3. Media comes in many flavors: Paid, owned, earned and now: unearned
  4. Silicon Valley intends to ‘disrupt’ real estate through Instant Buying, or iBuying
  5. Twitch streamers are raking in a mindblowing tiny fraction of what Amazon is raking in
  6. Large, encrypted, self-destructing file-sharing has arrived
  7. Labeler is the new laborer
  8. The law ceases to exist where high design meets high society
  9. Economics is slowly transforming as a discipline, perhaps far too slowly
  10. Mobile apps are scraping your private data while you sleep
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10 Things I Learned This Week

[ 05/04/2019 Edition ]

  1. No child’s game for intellectual property enforcement in China
  2. Influencers and brands can get pranked by fans promoting fake deals
  3. What is dead may never die
  4. Google’s cash-cow ad model suffers under pressure from rivals
  5. Scooter sharing economy seeks contractors, not employees
  6. Move over, machine learning; enter machine behavior
  7. Not every corporation is your social media ‘friend’
  8. Design is everything
  9. Red Hat’s online brand standards manual is very well done
  10. This is why businesses are not immune to extinction
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10 Things I Learned This Week

[ 04/27/2019 Edition ]

  1. Key takeaways from Pew study of how Americans use Twitter
  2. Know your memes & know your internet culture
  3. The internet is for slap-happy cats
  4. Extreme downsizing in the scooter-sharing economy
  5. Two resources for opting out of junk snail-mail
  6. Traditional media marketers overreact to digital media hype
  7. Digital transformation is following the crowd, not leading
  8. The internet is for (1) cats, (2) all bases belonging to overlords & (3) more cowbell
  9. A majority of the consequences of AI will be unintended
  10. The modern internet is broken strategically rather than technically
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Former Student Interview: Dana Sells

I am very happy to share with you an interview conducted with a former student of mine, Dana Sells, UX Researcher, Shopify. I met Dana when she was a Master of Digital Experience Innovation (MDEI) student in my Principles of Marketing in a Globalized World class at the University of Waterloo campus in Stratford, Ontario Canada. Impressed by her background in public relations combined with her passion for human behavior, I stayed in touch and have watched Dana excel over the years.

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Former Student Interview: Shannon McCluskey

I am very happy to share with you an interview conducted with a former student of mine, Shannon McCluskey, Marketing Manager, SurveyMonkey. I met Shannon when she was a Master’s Degree student in my Principles of Marketing in a Globalized World class at the University of Waterloo campus in Stratford, Ontario Canada. Impressed by her background in marketing combined with her passion for entrepreneurship and digital media, I stayed in touch and have watched Shannon excel over the years.

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Former Student Interview: Nicole Strong

I am very happy to share with you an interview conducted with a former student of mine, Nicole Strong, Experience Innovation Consultant at Quarry. I met Nicole when she was a Master’s Degree student in my Principles of Marketing in a Globalized World class at the University of Waterloo campus in Stratford, Ontario Canada. Impressed by her background in anthropology and her passion for applying the anthropological toolkit to the business world, I stayed in touch and have watched Nicole prosper over the years.

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Former Student Interview: Hira Javed

I am very happy to share with you an interview conducted with a former student of mine, Hira Javed, User Experience (UX) Researcher, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). I met Hira when she was a Master’s Degree student in my Principles of Marketing in a Globalized World class at the University of Waterloo campus in Stratford, Ontario Canada. Impressed by her background in marketing and consumer behavior combined with her passion for digital media, I stayed in touch and have watched Hira excel over the years.

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Former Student Interview: Stephanie Dodge

I am very happy to share with you an interview conducted with a former student of mine, Stephanie Dodge, Digital Communications Manager, Canadian Education Association. I met Stephanie when she was a Master’s Degree student in my Principles of Marketing in a Globalized World class at the University of Waterloo campus in Stratford, Ontario Canada. Impressed by her background in English & creative writing combined with her passion for technology and digital media, I stayed in touch and have watched Stephanie excel over the years.

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Former Student Interview: Sarah Barran

I am very happy to share with you an interview conducted with a former student of mine, Sarah Barran, UI Designer, Mobile Banking Customer Experience at Scotiabank. I met Sarah when she was a Master of Digital Experience Innovation (MDEI) student in my Principles of Marketing in a Globalized World class at the University of Waterloo campus in Stratford, Ontario Canada. Impressed by her background in new media and her passion for technology and design, I stayed in touch and have watched Sarah prosper over the years.

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Former Student Interview: Tyler Rochwerg

I am very happy to share with you a wide-ranging interview conducted with Tyler Rochwerg, Associate Brand Manager at Johnson & Johnson Canada. I met Tyler when he was an undergrad Marketing student of mine at the Ivey Business School in London, Ontario Canada. To my surprise and delight, after completing his first semester, Tyler remained a student by enrolling in two of my electives: Design Driven Innovation and New Media Marketing. Impressed by his positive energy, thirst for knowledge and passion for digital media, I stayed in touch and have watched his career blossom over the years. Since attaining his undergraduate degree, Tyler has graciously accepted my invitation to be a guest speaker in one of my MBA classes where his presence was very well received and appreciated.

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Former Student Interview: Janice Zolf

I am very happy to share with you an interview conducted with a former student of mine, Janice Zolf, documentary film producer and director at Janice Zolf Productions. I met Janice when she was a Master’s Degree student in my Principles of Marketing in a Globalized World class at the University of Waterloo campus in Stratford, Ontario Canada. Impressed by her experience in broadcast television and passion for storytelling, I stayed in touch and have watched Janice prosper over the years.

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Former Student Interview: Alex Vander Hoeven

I am very happy to share with you an interview conducted with a top former student of mine, Alex Vander Hoeven of Race Roster. I met Alex when he was an MBA student in my New Media Marketing class at the Ivey Business School in London, Ontario Canada. Impressed by his passion for digital media as well as his entrepreneurial drive, I stayed in touch and have watched his business continue to prosper over the years. Ever since graduating with his MBA, Alex has graciously accepted my invitation to be a guest speaker in a number of my classes, always impressing my students with his experiences, insights and lessons learned.

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Business Success

Success is an interesting concept because it can mean different things to different people depending on the situational context as well as individual perspectives on what it means to be successful.

When it comes to determining business success, there needs to be a simple, logical understanding of what success means and what is required to achieve it. Given that I have previously defined business as the act of creating value for profit, I offer the following definition related to its success:

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Field Trip to TechnoBuffalo with Jon Rettinger

Watch Jon Rettinger tour through the offices of TechnoBuffalo located in Irvine, California. The fashionable yet practical space offers TechnoBuffalo staff and associates ample room for content creation – from open-concept bullpen to closed-off recording space featuring four modular sets. Jon’s crowning achievement — a gold YouTube Play Button awarded for achieving a million channel subscribers – is only one of numerous highlights.

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Former Student Interview: Jon Rettinger

I am very happy to share with you an interview conducted with a wonderful former student of mine, Jon Rettinger of TechnoBuffalo. I met Jon when he was an MBA student in my Marketing on the Internet class at the Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine. Impressed by the content at his YouTube channel as well as his entrepreneurial drive, I stayed in touch and have watched his business blossom and continue to grow over the years. Jon has always graciously accepted my invitation to be a guest speaker in my class, never failing to impress the students.

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Former Student Interview: Brian Landau

I had a lot of fun interviewing Brian Landau of Brian’s Thing. I learned of Brian’s mad sax skills when he was an MBA student in my Marketing on the Internet class at the Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine. Nothing pleased me more than the idea of a finance guy who played the sax, so I stayed in touch with Brian and cheered him on over the years as his YouTube audience grew into the tens of thousands – with overall video views into the millions.

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Former Student Interview: Gina Heitkamp

I had the pleasure of interviewing Gina Heitkamp, CEO & Co-Founder of Middle School Moguls. I first met Gina when she was an MBA student in my Marketing on the Internet class at the Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine. Gina’s two-year-old start-up, incubating at UC Irvine’s Applied Innovation Center, is a toy & media company that makes books, dolls and online entertainment that support entrepreneurship and technology learning for girls 6-10.

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Brand [New] Definition

Branding is one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented marketing functions — so much so that its immense value to individuals and firms is diminished each time it is bastardized by students, faculty, professionals and the press. For example, every time a firm redesigns its logo, the popular press celebrates (or denigrates) the act as a rebrand, insinuating that the logo is the brand hence a logo refresh (as logic would follow) must naturally be a rebrand.

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The Seven Seals of Brand Apocalypse

The Seven Seals of Brand Apocalypse is a theoretical [yet practical] scale I developed to serve as a real-time measure of perceived brand health, especially in times of crisis. It is useful for the avoidance of brand apocalypse, which I define as a perceived total loss of confidence in the efficacy of a brand.

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Customer Lifetime Value

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is one of those business metrics that creates a sense of excitement in the minds of quantitative/analytical marketers on a never-ending quest to quantify marketing performance and mathematically prove its value to skeptical accounting and finance colleagues (or even more discerning Chief Financial Officers).

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Defining Strategy

I find it fascinating that Merriam-Webster defines design and strategy similarly — with both definitions incorporating the word plan as a central component. Rather than thinking of design and strategy as plans for things, I like to think of design as a process and strategy as a plan. Given the fact that I am as interested in design as I am in strategy, it is important for me to arrive at a fundamental understanding of each definition through clear articulation.

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Advertising is a Marketing Tactic

A recent AdAge article exemplifies a common mistake exhibited by a great majority of journalists, professionals, students and even academics alike: mistaking advertising for marketing and conflating the two. In fact, the best way to spot someone who doesn’t know their advertising from their marketing is to listen to them conflate the two as if they are one and the same thing. Funny enough, as the title of the article suggests, most marketers have no idea what you do and most people have no idea what marketers do!

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Redefining Business

Whereas Merriam-Webster defines business as, “the activity of making, buying, or selling goods or providing services in exchange for money” and the late great management thinker Peter Drucker — on page 31 of his 1954 classic, The Practice of Management — wrote, “There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer,” I must humbly disagree with both definitions in pursuit of a more fundamental understanding.

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Design and Purpose

It was clear to me in 2002, six years after graduating from design school, that design would eventually evolve beyond a discipline and be recognized as the fundamental means by which human intention is brought to reality, serving as the driver of innovation.

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Branding by Formula

Branding is complicated because it requires strategy, tactics, execution, delivery, follow-through, actionable insight gathering, a sustained maintenance and tinkering toward refinement. That’s a lot of activity to keep track of. My formula attempts to build a model around the various activities involved in building, sustaining & evolving brands:

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