Author of "This Is Rage" and "Endless Encores"

Posts made in March, 2014

Dear RadioShack

By on Mar 10, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Greetings, my fellow nerdy friends. I read with concern last week in the business press that you are closing as many as 1100 stores, following your well-received Super Bowl commercial earlier this year. You are not alone. Sears is closing stores. Staples is closing stores. Quiznos is closing stores. There seems to be plenty of commercial real estate coming on the market in all shapes and footprints. I wanted to write to you because I used to love the RadioShack brand, and I would hate to see it join the other tombstones in the Dead Brand Graveyard. You see, I was a bit of a geek as a kid, still sort of am, mowed a lot of lawns and bought my first CB Radio at RadioShack way back when, then used to love to hang out with the other geeks in the store. So I wonder if the big-salary strategy teams sitting around the table in your headquarters this modern moment have asked themselves the following ten very personal questions: 1) When was the last time they shopped unprompted as a customer in a RadioShack? 2) What did they love about walking into the store? 3) What did they love about the shelf displays in the store? 4) What did they love about the merchandise on sale in the store? 5) What did they love about the staff in the store? 6) What was in the store that was unique, perfectly priced, or presented so well they couldn’t say no to it? 7) How much did they spend of their own money in the store? 8) Did they tell a friend about the experience and urge that friend to also visit the store? 9) When they got home, did they think, oh wow, I should have bought something else while I was there? 10) Are they actually excited about visiting that store again as soon as they can? The reason I ask is, I never worked at a RadioShack, but I used to be able to answer every single one of these questions in the affirmative. I was a brand evangelist for RadioShack. I actually loved your brand. At the moment I have no clue what it stands for, except...

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Park the Snark

By on Mar 4, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

We talk a good game about bullying. Then the claws come out. Maybe we can’t help ourselves. Maybe we should try harder. Last weekend a good portion of the globe enjoyed the annual late winter Sunday evening television marathon known as the Academy Awards. The Oscars and the Super Bowl are two of the remaining real-time TV tent poles broadcast from the U.S. to the rest of the world still commanding appointment viewing of some of the largest assembled audiences joined collectively. Whether they are culturally worthy of that significance is beyond the scope of this blogger, but they are what they are: massive, temporally significant, and dare I say, glamorous. This year’s Academy Awards offered what many have called the best line-up of nominated commercial films in years. Among the strong critically acclaimed competition, an important film won Best Picture. We saw unusually significant advances in motion picture technology win accolades. An excellent line-up of creative contributors offered heartfelt belief in their projects. We also enjoyed a quite clever world record tweet stunt (“the retweet blasted round the world”) emerge from a reasonably relaxed show format that seemed to try hard not to focus on itself too seriously, but to put that focus on the work being honored. I don’t know if it was one of the best Oscar shows ever, but it seemed to me a credible, enjoyable celebration of creativity, all the more poignant given the immense geopolitical events mounting on the world stage as it played. It was a good night for Pharell Williams to sing “Happy.” A lot of us felt that way. Then came Monday morning. Or if you really wanted to get in on it, later Sunday night. What was the most insulting joke told by the host? Who had the bad taste to show up with the worst vanity surgery? How awful was that mispronunciation of someone’s name? Can you believe that awful gown? She has to be the worst dressed, no contest. What kind of self-aggrandizing acceptance speech was that? Did you see how drunk he was at the party? What kind of backstage snub comment was that? Did you see the look on his face when he lost? Did...

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