The Ambient Nature of Facebook

It must be something in the water. Every time I encounter ‘business’ writing that makes sense  I invariably discover the writer is a Brit. Since I’m by no stretch an Anglophile that makes it all the more puzzling. So  something else must be happening. More likely than not whatever’s at hand serves  as a sane middle ground between the hyperkinetic American style and the  ramblings of Bernard Henri-Lévy disciples that seem to thrive on the Continent.

That brings me to my latest find, a post by Bryan Urbick, founder of Consumer Knowledge Continue reading


Who’s Missing? Pew Study Indicates Gaps in the Social Media Landscape

I’ve been spending some time with a recent report from the Pew Internet & American Life project. For those not in the know, the Pew Research Center conducts and publishes social research; the Interet & American life project is just one  of their efforts.  Since Pew’s funding is  secure the work they do is methodologically sound, beautiful even–unlike some of what gets reported in the business press. In fact, the execution is so close to perfect  it’s a pity so many Pew reports only warrant mention of a fact or two from the Executive Summary.

This past June Pew issued an 85-page report entitled Social networking sites and our lives. It Continue reading

Netlix Update: Reputation Takes a Hit

Indiviglio provides an update on what Netflix has done to themselves including a nifty chart from shown below. Price is always a prime marketing consideration. Hard to believe they forgot that.

Running on Empty

Earlier this month I  engaged in battle with waist and ego. The occasion was the annual mosh pit known as the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge. My firm fields a team at roughly two-year intervals and this was an on year.

Chase Corporate Challenge 2006 Start

Rather than let the opportunity for humiliation pass I gamely signed up and dragged myself to Central Park to run 3.5 miles. The last time I ran was in the 2009 Corporate Challenge so Continue reading

Exceptional Language

My friend Joan called to my attention a post by Paul Brians on the William James & Company blog. Brians takes as his subject the sometimes cavalier use of words by academics. Actually, that’s not quite fair and it’s worth reading the whole thing if only to check that my take away is right.

Brians notes some infamous examples of the language used in literary criticism.  He cites recent usage where the words chosen by academics Continue reading

What’s the matter with social science?

Missing Persons: A Critique of Personhood in the Social Sciences
Mary Doulas and Steven Ney 

Here’s a good way to irk sociologists: suggest that the science has been wrung out of social science. Durkheim came to teach us that social facts are things, subject to examination and experimentation. Sometimes it’s hard to believe social scientists believe that. The most minimal scientific rigor often seems to be missing from a lot of contemporary social science.

Mary Douglas and Steven Ney, the authors of  Missing Persons, think what’s gone missing is the social. More specifically, what they think has gone missing is the discrete unit of society, the person. Continue reading

Back to Business

Don’t fight the tape is an old Wall Street maxim that embodies some real wisdom. You really can get in a jam if you insist on ignoring a trend that has a life of its own. And that’s as true off the Street as on, maybe more so. Today our subject is a hopeful development–the deflating, however slowly, of the social media bubble.

Yes, I did say hopeful and I chose that word purposefully even as I suspect it will irk some Continue reading

Of Brands and Bubbles

The Brand Bubble: The Looming Crisis in Brand Value and How to Avoid It
John Gerzema and Ed Lebar

Book titles are like product names. They catch the eye and grab the imagination. That’s probably as good an explanation as any for why so much reading results in so much disappointment.

I desperately wanted to like this book. If you’re educated as a researcher and analyst (as I am) and if you conceive of yourself as a quantitative marketer (as I do), then you may share my fascination with brands. The triumphant brand story is a staple of the marketing world and if you’re driven by hard Continue reading