August 31, 2005

Where's Amazon?

When the tsunami came, many prominent online merchants like Amazon, eBay, Google, MSN and Yahoo prominently displayed donation links on their front pages.

So why do they refuse to do the same when an American tsunami by name of Katrina leaves hundreds of thousands homeless and an American city unliveable?

Information week has the story.

Do they think people in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and around the country won't remember?

Gerard Van Der Leun characterizes it as Billion Dollar Web Companies to New Orleans, "Drop Dead"

HT to Michelle Malkin who has more updates on Katrina's aftermath than anyone.

UPDATE.  Hugh Hewitt reports that he's heard from Amazon and they've changed their minds.

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Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:13 PM | Permalink

August 25, 2005

Hiding in Plain Sight

They're beginning to find us!   

The Gap, the largest clothing store in the nation, introduced a new chain yesterday called Forth & Towne.

The New York Times says it's aimed at 

that unwieldy and indefinable category known as grown-ups.

Why?  It's where the money is.

Baby boomers spent $42.7 billion on apparel last year, compared with teenagers who spent $20 billion.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:11 PM | Permalink

Brokers Go Independent

As more and more people look for financial advisors whom they can trust, who will be their clients' advocate, they are turning to independents.     

From Businessweek's blog Well Spent.

Schwab commissioned a report on the topic of brokers turning independent, which it released in July. It found that by 2004, independents had 47.5% market share of high-net-worth households, up from 30% 2001. At the same time, traditional stock brokers lost market share, claiming 30% of high-net-worth customers in 2004 vs. 40% in 2001.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:21 PM | Permalink

August 23, 2005

Conversation is the Kingdom

A not-to-be-missed post by Jeff Jarvis, Who wants to own content?

Distribution is not king.
Content is not king.
Conversation is the kingdom.
----
In our media 2.0, web 2.0, post-media, post-scarcity, small-is-the-new-big, open-source, gift-economy world of the empowered and connected individual, the value is no longer in maintaining an exclusive hold on things. The value is no longer in owning content or distribution.

The value is in relationships. The value is in trust.

Jeff says there is no scarcity of good stuff out there, the value is in the conversation, in the relationship.

You want to join in on what people do on their own.  You want to help people make and find and remake and save the content they want.

Better to be part of a fluid network, better to gather than create.

If I have to pick sides, you can guess what side I pick: small, not big; open,not closed; shared, not owned; enabled, not excluded.
Yet once you think about it, this isn’t so new, really: Isn’t journalism supposed to be about building trust (so how did it become so untrusted?)? Aren’t brands supposed to be about communicating trust (so how did so many of them become so untrustworthy?)?

In the end, isn’t the only asset worth owning trust? Content is not king. Distribution is not king. Trust is king in the kingdom of conversation.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

August 17, 2005

A Second Depression?

Could an avian flu pandemic trigger a second Depression? 

The Bank of Montreal and its BMO Financial Group think so.

One of the biggest brokerage firms in Canada is sounding an alarm over the potential economic disaster that could result from an influenza pandemic. 
------
In what's thought to be the first report of its kind, BMO Nesbitt Burns has issued a document, titled
An Investor's Guide to Avian Flu.

The firm said its goal was twofold: to encourage the business community to get involved in planning and helping finance efforts to limit the effects of a possible pandemic; and to get Canadians to reconsider their buoyant optimism in the market.

""I think it's important to highlight the potential risk," said Sherri Cooper, the report's co-author and chief economist and executive vice-president of BMO Financial Group.

"I'm not trying to assess the probably of a pandemic. But it's out there, and it's frightening," she told CTV News.

Some of the repercussions projected in the report, were a pandemic were to break out, include:

• A dramatic slowdown in the economy, equal to the Great Depression. A rampant decline in spending would result from people panicking, which would put a sudden stop in spending.
• High levels of unemployment, with many people unable to work.
• Travel restrictions on the free-flow of goods and people across borders. "In a world that depends so heavily on global trade, this would have a very damaging effect on economic activity," said Cooper.
• A collapse in the housing market.

The report adds if there were to be a serious pandemic that leads to high death rates, a surge in housing supply would be met with a reduction in demand. "And just like during the Depression, there would be a collapse in real estate values," said Cooper.

HT to Instapundit

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:11 PM | Permalink

August 15, 2005

Values, Not Valuables

I had only my intuition to guide me in my planning for ESOL, the Electronic Organizer for Life and Legacy, the tool for having and leaving good records and good directions, good stories and good memories.

ESOL is designed to organize the Business of Your Life and Legacy easily with ways to memorialize and revise records and directions and create and preserve a Legacy Archives for any person.

Now a landmark study, The Allianz American Legacies Study, indicates that I'm right on the money.  The study was commissioned by the Allianz Life Insurance Company, designed by Ken Dychtwald of AgeWave and conducted by Harris Interactive who surveyed 2627 US adults, half boomers and half their elders, 65 or older.

Here are some of the more interesting highlights.

Non-financial leave-behinds - like ethics, morality, faith and religion - are 10 times more important to both boomers and elders with children than the financial aspects of a legacy transfer.

Passing along "values and life lessons" is overwhelmingly considered (by over 75 percent) the most important element of a legacy for both generations.

• Sixty-eight percent of boomers and 71 percent of those in their parents' generation say they have a high comfort level discussing legacy and inheritance, yet
only 31 percent of elders and 29 percent of boomers have actually had a thorough discussion that includes all four pillars of legacy: values and life lessons, instructions and wishes to be fulfilled, personal possessions of emotional value, and financial assets or real estate.

• Fulfilling last wishes and distributing personal possessions were five times more likely to be the greatest source of family conflict during a legacy transfer than the distribution of finances according to boomers whose parents are not alive.

 

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:27 PM | Permalink

Boomers have the money

Evidence that American business is beginning to cotton on the fact that we're getting older.

From the New York Times, publishers are going to make mass market paperbacks in 'larger editions' that allow larger type and more space between the lines.  Higher prices too, $9.99.

From the BBC, silver surfers ready to storm online shops so get ready retailers.

From the Wall St. Journal.  Vodafone making a simple mobile phone for older users who don't want all the doo-dads and icons.  They're calling it Vodafone Simply.  They realize what a big market wants a simple phone.

Nike steers advertising toward Reality Anatomy - 'Big butts, thunder thighs and tomboy knees'.

Why? Baby boomers spend more online than any other age group.

They spend more offline as well.  According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Boomers 45-54 spend $50,101 on consumer goods and services while 25-34 year olds spent $40,525.  Matt Thornhill at the Boomer Project has done the math.  A segment of Boomers (45-54) outspent 25-34 year olds by $400 million: $1.158 billion to $800 million.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:51 PM | Permalink

August 10, 2005

Beer and Wine - what you don't know

If you're not reading Lipsticking, Marketing Online to Women, you wouldn't know these important facts about wine and beer.

1. Women buy 77% of the wine sold in this country, much to the surprise of wine producers.
2. Women are better than men at holding their liquor, much to the surprise of everyone.

From realbeer, a study at the University of Kentucky found that men's loss of inhibition was three times greater than women's with the same blood alcohol levels.

And in a related story, the best beer is the world is brewed by Trappist monks in Flanders, at the abbay of Saint Sixtus of Westvleten.

  Trappist Monk Brewery

You would think with the #1rating by ratebeer.com,  the brewery would be cashing in, but that's only if you know nothing about the monastic life or about the silent order of trappist monks who aren't talking.

Mark Bode, who co-ordinates the claustrum, a nearby exhibition on the monastic life, said, "We make the beer to live but we do not live for beer."

Outsiders don't understand," he says. "They say, 'You are successful, make more beer; you will make more money'. But the monks believe the most important thing is monastic life, not the brewery."

The #1 rated beer, Westvleteren Abt 12,  has not been distributed commercially since 1941.  You have to go to the Saint Sixtus monastery to buy your cases of the heavenly beer.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:27 PM | Permalink

Transcending time and space

I like what Ann Althouse has to say about blogs

[B]logging is just writing, and like other writing, it has aspects that are better than conversation:

It can reach beyond the people you know.

It can reach people in the future, including the people you know.

It can reveal things that cannot come up in ordinary conversation.

It can allow one person to contribute a larger share of the ideas than would be seemly in conversation.

It lets you leap over your immediate physical environment.

If I stuck to face-to-face conversations, I'd be talking to people in Madison, Wisconsin all the time!

Her commenters add: 

[B]logging has made [me] more communicative than I used to be (not that I was shy about talking, being a professor and all...).

I have also found that because of blogging I have likely read more news and commentary on a subject than most people, even my peers. Because, if I am going to argue in public about something, I need to be informed.

Another says

I also find by either writing or reading blogs and their comments, I read more and get exposure to a more diverse range of opinions and insights than I received from reading the same newspapers as everyone else or only talking to nearby folks. The exposure has reformed some of my own opinions -- and in some cases -- helped me become more tolerant of the differing view because of greater understanding of why some people think like they do. In others, it's helped me identify issues that I oppose and that's stimulated me to be a more active opposition voice.


Still Another says
Blogs let you see into cliques that you can't really get at any other way. I have learned far more about libertarians and lawyers, for example, than I could ever find out through my social contacts.

For me, blogging has made me a better writer.  I have learned much more about Catholicism, marketing, doctors, technology  because I read so many blogs by so many smart writers.  It has opened my world immensely.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:49 AM | Permalink

August 9, 2005

If it's Popsicle, it's possible

When it's hot and humid, nothing beats in price, value or lack of calories, a good old fashioned Popsicle®.

An eleven year old boy, Frank Epperson, accidentally made the first popsicle® when he mixed some water and flavoring powder for soda water, a popular drink those days, and left the mixture out on his back porch with the mixing stick still in it.

Next morning, Voila!.  A stick of frozen soda water that  Frank took  to school to show his friends.  That was 1905.

Eighteen years later in 1923, he remembered what happened and began a business.  In 1924 he got his patent and by 1928, he had earned royalties on more than 60 million Popsicles®

The Man of Popsicle - If it's Popsicle, it's possible.

It's the 100th Anniversary of the invention of the Popsicle® and no one's doing anything about it.  For shame.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:46 PM | Permalink

August 5, 2005

Search for Meaning Overlooked

When the global marketing officer of Procter and Gamble says marketing is broken, it's time to look around and see what's on the mind of the majority of the market.  It's time to pay attention to boomers.

David Wolfe does and he has the best grasp on the mind of the market today.  Meaning - The Big Challenge That Boomers Face Widely Overlooked in Marketing.

Most marketing is overly focused on idealized pursuits of pleasure seeking and pain avoidance. In being this way, most marketing fails to address consumers’ need for meaning in their lives. Without a sense of meaning, people suffer psychological pain.
----
Today’s 86 million young adults generally have idealized and somewhat narcissistic images of their life’s meaning. Life is all about self. And it’s been that way among the young from time immemorial.

Today’s 132 million middle-aged and older adults generally have more realistic and less self-centered images of their life’s meaning. While the young dream of what they want to be in the future, older people tend to strive to be what they want to be in the present. Much of that striving revolves around the pursuit and expression of life meaning.

The search for meaning is the number one task of the inner self in midlife – the time of life that dominates culture today. Ninety percent of midlifers are boomers
----
Idealizations are out. Realism is in. It all has to do with culture shifting from a foundation built on fantasies of what I would like to be to grounded self-images of what I can and should be. Doen’t sound very elegant, does it?

That’s because we’ve been so brainwashed by Madison Avenue, Hollywood and catwalk glitzy fashion that its hard to find beauty, grace and inspiration in the mundane. But when you manage to find those things in the ordinary, you wonderfully transcend to a higher state of human beingness where the real meaning of your life resides.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:34 PM | Permalink

Global Thought Bubble

From the New York Times' editorial on blogs, Measuring the Blogosphere.

It's natural enough to think of the growth of the blogosphere as a merely technical phenomenon. But it's also a profoundly human phenomenon, a way of expanding and, in some sense, reifying the ephemeral daily conversation that humans engage in. Every day the blogosphere captures a little more of the strange immediacy of the life that is passing before us. Think of it as the global thought bubble of a single voluble species.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:20 PM | Permalink

August 4, 2005

Agents for all

An agency for citizen journalists.  Take a great news-worthy photo?

Send it to Scoopt who will sell it to the press and then split the proceeds 50:50.

Full story in the Guardian. via Jeff Jarvis whose longer post on Agents for All is here.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:08 PM | Permalink

Avian Flu update

Usually a glorious sight, the great migration of birds from western China to Siberia this brings a shuddering premonition of  fear and death.

At least 5000 wild birds and geese died in western China from infections with the H5N1 virus. 

H5N1 is the variant of avian flu that is the most worrisome because it's fatal to humans, and has killed to date some 57 people in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia.  Last week,  two more people died in Vietnam.  Both had eaten sick chicken before falling ill.

Because chicken and duck farms can be quarantined and infected birds destroyed, public health scientists and government officials hold tight to slim hopes that the outbreaks of avian flu can be localized and a global pandemic averted.

But the virus jumps from domesticated birds to wild birds and geese,  hopes begin to die.  When infected birds migrant from Qinchan Lake in western China to central  Siberia, they bring the highly contagious virus with them.  About two weeks ago, large numbers of ducks, turkeys, chicken and geese began dying in the Novosibirsk region in Russia.    They were all incinerated to keep the virus from spreading. 

The great fear is that H5N1 will spread to the country's main poultry farms in the heavily populated European part of Russia.

UK and US teams,  using computer models to work out various scenarios if the H5N1 virus mutates to allow human-to-human transmission,  say a global pandemic could claim 20 to 40 million lives,   They also say, surveillance and a targeted use of anti-viral drugs requiring close cooperation of governments and decisive action within days could still stop a global pandemic. 

We can hope and pray this works, but nothing can beat being prepared.

UPDATE: Quarantine imposed on all poultry farms in Russia via Sigmund, Carl and Alfred

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:31 PM | Permalink
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Beer and Wine - what you don't know
Transcending time and space
If it's Popsicle, it's possible
Search for Meaning Overlooked
Global Thought Bubble
Agents for all
Avian Flu update
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