Friday, May 13, 2011

Living behind the curve

Timing is everything and Microsoft just doesn't have it.

At a time when more people are discovering how much better the tablet computer is for personal use, they're launching a new campaign featuring PCs.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. For all their technical savvy, the folks at Microsoft have always had an uncommon knack for running just a bit behind. The good news is, now they're only a few years behind instead of a decade.


25 years ago I read a column by a creative director who used the expression, “Once it’s done, it’s dead.” in referring to work that was just completed. As macabre as it is, I’ve always liked the expression.

I like it because it says move on.

I like it because it says there’s more to do.

I like it because it says get over yourself.

I like it because it says find better way.

I like it because it says the opportunities are limitless.

I like it because it says start inventing what’s next.

Well, this post is done. Next?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

One step closer to the future

On Saturday, Yves Rossy quietly ushered in a new era of flight when he flew over the Grand Canyon in his custom-built jet suit.

With kevlar wings providing lift and four small jets powering him forward after he was dropped from a helicopter, Mr. Rossy flew for more than 8 minutes at speeds of up to 190 mph through the canyon.


A few of things I like about this event.

First, it's a freakin' jet pack.

Second, while they're getting their fair share of publicity, this was a pretty low key event. According to this account, they flew when the time was right, not when the media was assembled.

Imagine if this had been sponsored by Mountain Dew, Red Bull or some other 'high energy' brand. This was more about the act and the invention than the marketing (though I'm sure Breitling feels they're getting their money's worth)

And third, the FAA actually worked with the team to facilitate the necessary permits at the last minute to make this happen. How often have we seen the words Federal Agency and cooperation used in the same sentence lately?

Nicely done, Yves. When can I get mine?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A missed opportunity for Ford

Anyone who's first exposure to the Ford brand is in the back of a New York City taxi, probably doesn't have a high opinion of the blue oval. New York City's potholed streets are not the best place to show off your wares. Especially, as is the case with the Crown Vics that currently comprise most of the fleet, if the vehicle isn't purpose built for that application.

They had a chance to change that recently in the competition to create the Taxi of Tomorrow for New York City. Unfortunately that competition was won by Nissan.

Ford could have made a statement about their commitment to urban transit, energy efficiency and the environment. It has now ceded this messaging to Nissan.

Ford has momentum with a lot of great products and a lot of positive press right now. But momentum is a funny thing. Losing a high profile competition like this might be just a speed bump, but it could be something more.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What do you know?

Knowledge is power. Unless it keeps you from discovering something new.

If we "know" how something's supposed to be done, we never find a new and better way.

If we "know" exactly what our customers want and never deviate from that, we never innovate.

If we "know" the rules of our category and never challenge them, we never find uncontested market space.

Everyone knew the earth was flat until Columbus proved it wasn't. Everyone knew that computers were for business until Apple proved they weren't. Everyone knew that prime-time TV shows had to be scripted until Survivor proved they didn't.

What do you know that's keeping you from creating something new?