In 1998 Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a "Left-Handed Whopper" specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc.), but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers. The following day Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, "many others requested their own 'right handed' version."A few other suggestions here, here, here and here.
Based in New York and staffed with a full complement of editors, the Huffington Report appears to be a culture and politics webzine in the classic mold of Salon or Slate. It will have breaking news, a media commentary section called "Eat the Press," and its most interesting innovation, a group blog manned by the cultural and media elite: Sen. Jon Corzine, Larry David, Barry Diller, Tom Freston, David Geffen, Vernon Jordan, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Harry Evans and his wife, Tina Brown. That's just to name a few, and Huffington is still recruiting.
Yes, we have canceled our plans to build rear-wheel-drive vehicles off the Zeta architecture. But that does not mean we've canceled plans to build rear-drive vehicles altogether. We did not cancel the Zeta plans to save money, or to divert funds elsewhere that would've been used for product development. We are simply reallocating resources (human and financial) to pull some other programs ahead and get other vehicles to market sooner.
A 24-year NCR veteran, Hurd became CEO in March 2003, at a time when the company was reeling from the drop in corporate tech spending and lackluster leadership. He slashed costs, laid off 1,500 workers, and converted an executive parking lot into an ATM training center. He also traded in his luxurious office for a cubicle. But he has placed a larger strategic bet on what might be called the coming of the self-service economy, in which machines -- preferably those made by NCR -- will all but eliminate the cashiers, bank tellers, and others who currently are a company's final human interface with its customers.
Bluntness works for Mark Hurd. On a recent day at NCR headquarters in Dayton, Ohio, Hurd is strategizing with a lieutenant about shoving his 2,000-person sales force into higher gear. The CEO's first words to a guest invited to sit in on the meeting? "So you are just going to shut up, right? Because we are doing business here."
That aggressive, no-nonsense style has served Hurd well through the years. In college he was the top-ranked tennis player at Baylor University in Texas. At Teradata, NCR's data-warehousing arm, which Hurd ran for four years on his way to the top job, he beat IBM and Oracle on their own court. Recalls Bob Fair, the new chief marketing officer at Teradata, who was a top salesman under Hurd, "I would frequently get calls from him at 2 in the morning, asking about my deals." Hurd, 47, will fly anywhere to help close a big sale. He rarely takes notes during presentations, but "if you don't want him to remember something, don't tell him," suggests Bob Tramontano, head of marketing and business development for the ATM unit.
Silicon Beat writes Become.com co-founders Michael Yang and Yeogirl Yun asked job candidates to take a “larry & sergie test” and come up new ways to best Google’s search algorithm. Nearly 100 applicants, spent about 40 hours each, to come up with their best hacks. That’s 4000 hours of work. That’s about 100 40-hour weeks, or two years of work. A good engineer could easily make $75,000 a year. Become.com just saved $150,000. Not to mention they got smart-but-desperate folks “searching for a job” hand over “their best ideas” to their company. Now they can simply take that “intelligence” and build a nice search engine. How many of them got the job, Silicon Beat doesn’t say? Or it doesn’t say that if Become.com will compensate the contributors for their efforts, and intellectual property. Scam or Smart, you decide
(Via Om Malik on Broadband.)
"At first, this program may seem rather harmless, innocent and even fun, however nothing could be further from the truth," said Rick Merritt, executive director [of] PostalWatch. "This demonstrates total disregard for the sanctity of people's mail. When someone spends good money buying an expensive engraved wedding invitation with matching linen envelope, pays 37-cents for postage and entrusts the Postal Service to deliver it to its intended recipient intact, they don't expect the Post Office to turn it into another piece of junk advertising mail," said Merritt.As opposed to having that invitation arrive with some smeared image and exhortations to buy savings bonds? They cite the law and make a better point:
Imagine the small animation studio owner who learns that all his carefully prepared proposals arrived with an ad for his competitor Blue Sky plastered across the front courtesy of the U. S. Postal Service. From this small business owner's perspective, the "Robots" Cancellation would hardly be harmless, innocent or fun!My question: If this is on billions of pieces of mail since February and we only now notice it, isn't it a particularly ineffective form of advertising?
Purchase a new D.R. Horton home in March and we'll throw in up to $25,000 in cash incentives and extras. Take that money right off the price of your home. Use it to cut closing costs. Or lower your mortgage rate. Put in a sprinkler system. Add window coverings. You decide. What's even smarter, your dream D.R. Horton is ready to move into now. So make your move TODAY! *Offer good on existing D.R. Horton inventory only. Home sale must close by March 31, 2005, using DHI Mortgage and DHI Title
Maybe we were wrong. We thought the U.S. version of the BBC's "The Office" would be dreck, but the majority of the reviewers say otherwise. In artfully hedged comments, they praise the show:
New York Times: And though it grates to admit it, the American version of "The Office" is very funny - for viewers who never saw the original series on BBC America.. . the NBC series, though it pales in comparison, is still funnier than any other new network sitcom.
San Francisco Chronicle:When NBC announced that it had secured the American rights to the brilliant BBC comedy, "The Office," there was equal measure of wincing and guffawing. It was like Britney Spears announcing she was redoing the Billie Holiday back catalogue. Or like action director McG claiming he was going to re-envision "Citizen Kane.". . But now, well, this is slightly embarrassing: The American version of "The Office" is not only funny, it creatively pays homage to the original (the first episode is the British version nearly verbatim) and then, in subsequent episodes, comes up with completely separate scripts that define the NBC edition as unique and audaciously clever in its own right.
Chicago Tribune: NBC's "The Office: An American Workplace" isn't as good as the original British comedy that spawned it, but that's not necessarily a dig at the NBC show. After all, the British series, titled simply "The Office," is considered by its ferociously devoted fans to be one of the best comedies in the history of the small screen. The fact is, "The Office: An American Workplace" is not an unqualified success, but it is eminently watchable. What's more, it does the near-impossible: It doesn't make the viewer forget the original, but it actually inspires affection, instead of cries of "sacrilege!" from this rabid "Office" fan.
Scranton, (PA) Times: The early reviews have been positive, the English creators seem to be pleased with it (aside from some consulting, Mr. Gervais and Mr. Merchant have had little to do with the show) and NBC has given it substantial promotion. The network, which thus far has ordered six episodes of "The Office," has also indicated that it will give the show adequate time to develop an audience.
Okay, okay. We were wrong. It airs tonight. Check local listings. The real thing is airing on the BBC America cable channel, too.
UPDATE: Kevin Kelleher, a SF-based business journalist, notes that an upcoming episode of The Office, on diversity training, can be seen at MySpace.com
Such a device could lead to a natural marriage with Hollywood, which is desperately trying to figure out how to cope with Internet piracy. One top movie studio executive sees Jobs's public dismissal of portable video devices as a "disinformation campaign" to buy time until Apple has a product Jobs loves. That could be years away. Still, Apple's QuickTime website is already Hollywood's favorite for putting trailers online. Movie executives also have urged Jobs to come up with encryption software for video. Most telling, the studio exec says, is that Apple headhunters have been trying to raid his employees for Apple's nascent digital-video team. And let's not forget that while Jobs had few contacts with top music execs when he started putting together the iTunes store, his other day job is as CEO of Pixar.Or this:
Some have a far grander digital vision for the car. Eventually, the thinking goes, the iPod will morph into what George Peterson, president of research firm AutoPacific, calls a super PDA, or a super iPod. It would wirelessly communicate with the car, providing an iPod-like interface on the dashboard that handles not only music but also addresses, calendar information, and even a navigational system. The device would never have to leave your shoulder bag. "This is the holy grail," Peterson says. Other companies are working on such devices, he says, but the auto industry is eager to tap into consumers' love affair with the iPod. He expects the Apple-enabled holy grail to be on the road by the middle of 2006.I could go on and on. Read the rest here.