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Showing posts from September, 2009

Recommended economic-ish readings for this week

I was never confident enough to take one of Cochrane's classes in business school, but I really enjoyed this rebuttal of Paul Krugman's article Krugman's articleCochrane's rebuttalPerhaps its because I've been indoctrinated at Chicago and can't be saved, but I'm amazed at the fuzziness of Krugman's article, and the tone is disappointing as well. Other stuff around this topic: This Economist debate
In less serious personal news, I'm now fighting addictions to these three casual games: Mafia WarsFeeding Frenzyand of course, Zuma

Its the wrong kind of tank!

Wow. Real life; guaranteed to be stranger than fiction. :)
From a fwd in the original post here
The temple priests admiringly inspect the rear armour slats on their newly acquired Abrams M1A2 temple tank. The mix-up apparently occurred when a wealthy NRI devotee had misunderstood a request from the temple trust, asking him to donate a new tank to commemorate the annual temple 'Thiruvizhaa' this year. “We had sent a letter to the devotee, Mr. Shankar Sundaram of Cleveland (which is in 'States'), indicating that our temple needed a tank for many years. He has very kindly and promptly responded to our request. Sadly, it's the wrong kind of tank. Heh heh.”, said the temple head-priest Aravind Adigal.

Examples in good design: HPs Retail Site and Gilt

I saw two examples in good design today:
HP Retail site.
When a product makes it much easier for you to do something than you expected (in the process delighting you!) that's good design!
Simple lesson from HPs retail site: When I went back to the site, I did think about checking out a printer I'd seen earlier and right there (well-placed on the right towards the middle of the screen) the site made it easier for me to do so. Good for business; good for the user.

Gilt Groupe.
The illusion of scarcity is a great way to make people feel like they're getting something special. Today when I wanted to test this retail site, they made me sign up and get on a wait list. Tastefully, getting back to me a letting me know within a day (just quick enough so that I don't lose interest) that I'd been "selected" to join.
In general I'd have expected to be annoyed by the pretentiousness, but given the positioning of the site (secret discounts on high-end retail) my take i…

Worst acting ever or worst ad ever or both?

Hmmm....I'm a fan of good acting and good marketing and good advertisements...which is why everything is this ad from Microsoft makes me cringe. Its not a terrible idea in itself...I guess.
Well, its a pretty terrible idea actually, but the execution is atrocious. The ad is badly conceived, horribly scripted, and the acting is so fake it makes the worst Bollywood melodramas seem understated.

Yikes!


Fortune cookie tells me to be lazy. :)

I thought I might try to get some work done this weekend, but then I got up late and picked up some Chinese food.
When the world conspires to tell you to "have a little fun this weekend so that you can accomplish more later", you listen.

Cable TV ad still growing.. who'd have thunk it?

....too bad about everything else.:)

Heroes on NBCU: Great examples in transmedia storytelling

My Netflix online subscription allowed me to catch-up on Season 4 of Heroes, which I'd given up watching for a while.
Now I buy into the idea and value of transmedia storytelling; or rather more the idea that fans want experiences that go beyond the core offering and online media (both video and other formats) is one of the best ways to give it to them. Leaving many little nuggets for avid fans (your power users!) is great art, great product work, and great marketing!
NewTeeVee had this article a while ago on how NBCU did this. I have to say they do it particularly well; the show Heroes has two companies (Primatech and Pinehearst) which are fronts for the Heroes (umm...you need to watch the show.:))
Check out the websites that they took the time to build: Primatech and Pinehearst. Consistent with the story; and just meaty enough to keep the fans engaged even more.:)

Useful talk: What is success?

Question what "success" means. Define what "success" means for you.
Don't judge people by their business cards, i.e. don't make up your mind about how to treat people by their answer to "What do you do?"Just because someone doesn't fit your idea of success, they aren't a "loser." Randomness is a big factor in determining where people finally end up.Basically, like your mom said... "Be nice to everyone else." :)


Multi-tasking is evil...

Yet more evidence that multi-tasking is bad for you.
This isn't surprising to me; I know its bad for me; it reduces the overall quality of work and ease with which I'd get things done; yet I can't keep away from it.
The GTD methodology suggests something similar and has the same core thesis and begs you to avoid multi-tasking: do one thing at a timefocus on it completely and immerse yourself in it; that's the way to enjoy yourself.use tools (lists, rules about when to do stuff etc.) to schedule what to do when and what to drop;Easier said than done, but reminding yourself always helps.:)

Really Quick Reviews: Love Aaj Kal, Life Partner, Kaminey, Inglorious Basterds and Show Business...and Dexter.

It's been a really long time since I blogged about anything I've read or seen, so this is starting to play catchup.
I realized that I got so, so used to seeing Hindi movies that were really bad (after the strike, and then this brain-cell killer which was the big-budget movie that was released after it), that my expectations had been set really low. In general in the past few months, I'd come to believe that if I don't cringe too many times during a movie, and there are at least a couple of things I find amusing, that's really all I have the right to expect.
So one really good movie was great, a second really great, and a third left me uncomfortable with my sense of satisfaction; I probably need to reset my expectations from Hindi films again.



Love Aaj Kal was incredibly good; well-directed, perfectly cast, incredibly romantic and funny.
Even the surprising casting was effective.

Life Partner: It was a pretty good Govinda movie and its been a while :); nuff said.
Kaminey: