The Kingdom of Thailand draws more visitors than any other country in Southeast Asia with its virtually irresistible combination of breathtaking natural beauty, inspiring temples, renowned hospitality, robust cuisine and ruins of fabulous ancient kingdoms - The Lonely Planet Travel GuideThis Fall's Exec alumni-and-guest tour is of the Kingdom of Thailand. The 11-day event is under $2000 per person (double occupancy) including air transportation from Phoenix; a full specially-designed ground-package fitted to our alumni's interests with 4- and 5-star hotels and including an extended visit to Bangkok's many historical and cultural sites; several days in Chiang Mai and time at their wonderful nighttime market; a safari and water rafting that allows us to see the wonderful ecology of Northern Thailand at close distance; a visit with the U.S. Embassy to discuss trends in doing business in Thailand; a visit with colleagues, faculty and graduate students at Dhurakijpundit University with lunch on-campus; an optional four-day extension to the beautiful Southern beaches; and much more.
Consider joining us -- we leave October 28th and return November 7th. If you're interested in seeing the full tour details or would like additional information, contact us at the blog email address or by phone at 480-965-5300.
Continuing the thought: blogging democratizes journalism
Jeff Greenfield is probably the bloggers' best booster in big media because he earnestly likes the things (it's not just a fad) and he's influential. He says to TVNewser:I think the real-time quality to the opinions, corrections, and other voices is terrific; when someone makes a reference to another voice, says 'read the whole thing' and lets you link to the other voice, it's a breakthrough in political dialogue. Unlike some of my colleagues, I don't fear the lack of editorial control, because there's a self-correcting mechanism at work, and if peopel don't like the tone of the blogs, there's still plenty of traditional media around. My big complaint is that it's forced me to get up earlier to read all this stuff--including yours.
Posted by Dan Brooks on July 31, 2004 at 01:35 PM | Permalink
You think YOU like Starbucks?
Meet John Smith.
John "Winter" Smith—just Winter to those who know him—had already been up for three hours, visited four Starbucks, eaten one Starbucks doughnut, and downed a Starbucks DoubleShot espresso and 12 ounces of regular Starbucks coffee. He's jittery, but he's still on his game: Standing at the counter of Starbucks No. 5 for the day, an unremarkable strip mall location in Scottsdale, Winter realizes something is amiss. "These cards are different!" he says, staring at the store manager's business card, which he's grabbed from a stack at the register. "I haven't run into any other cards across the country that have this on the back."And Winter should know, because he has visited 4,300 different Starbucks in the U.S., Japan, Canada and the U.K.
And amazingly he is doing this all on his own! He isn't paid to do it, he isn't even being "showcased" by Starbucks. He is on a purely personal quest to visit every corporately owned Starbucks. Since these are opening rather regularly, it isn't clear that he can ever quit.
He isn't rich. He drives his own car. Doesn't this seem like an opportunity for Starbucks to have their own "Jared," of Subway fame? The risk is that Winter could as easily turn into Morgan Spurlock, of Super Size Me fame.
How to handle this ticklish marketing "opportunity?" An interesting discussion here looks at both the risks and benefits associated with having a brand loyalist like Winter.
Posted by Dan Brooks on July 30, 2004 at 04:49 PM | Permalink
Here is the brand hijack manifesto:
Let go of the fallacy that your brand belongs to you. It belongs to the market.This is the "marketing without marketing" approach of a group called "Plan B." If you find this interesting, you're likely to enjoy their site, too.
Co-create your brand by collaborating with your consumers.
Scrap the focus groups, fire the cool chasers and hire your audience.
Facilitate your most influential and passionate consumers in translating your brand's message to a broader audience.
Be patient. Your brand initiative could take years to take off - or weeks.
Be flexible. Carefully plan every step, but be totally open to having the story rewritten along the way.
Lose control. Free yourself to seize sudden opportunities that only last for moments.
Resist the paranoid urge for consistency. Embrace the value of being surprising and imperfect.
Respect your community. Draw the line between promotion and the adbusting trinity of manipulation, intrusion and co-option.
Let the market hijack your brand.
Posted by Dan Brooks on July 30, 2004 at 04:36 PM | Permalink
Oil prices just reached a new high and are hovering around $42 a barrel. Pump prices for gasoline are forecasted to stay high for the foreseeable future. Is this a good time to launch a new "super premium" gasoline? Shell is introducing its new premium brand "V Power." It will cost ten to fifteen cents a gallon more than their premium brand gasoline.
What do consumers get for their added investment? Here's Shell's pitch:
The new gasoline actively cleans critical engine parts as motorists drive, and features more than five times the minimum amount of cleaning agents required by government standards. Shell V-Power gasoline replaces Shell’s existing premium grade gasoline, and is available now at Shell stations across the USA...This seems like something that would have caught auto-owners' attention a couple of decades ago: carbon deposits, cleaning agents, build-up. Many people buy cars that advertise you won't need a tune-up for 100,000 miles. Today, however, many lease, so they just take the car in if there is a problem. Many trade their vehicles so often they barely need to attend to oil changes, let alone worry about the build-up of carbon deposits.
...This level of protection helps prevent the future build-up of carbon deposits on your vehicle’s intake valves or fuel injectors.
What if they advertised greater performance? Better mileage? Cleaner emissions and aid to a better environment? For more details on the launch and some comments on this odd pitch of a new, high-priced product (a "status fuel?"), go here.
Posted by Dan Brooks on July 30, 2004 at 04:12 PM | Permalink
Management often gets caught in the marketer’s twilight zone: Chasing after the most elusive of marketing aspirations. Cool brands have the “it” factor – that certain attitude, style and appearance to which people are magnetically drawn. This leads ambitious corporate executives to constantly demand of their marketing teams, “Make my brand cool.”"Chasing cool" is A Dangerous Attitude, and the reasons are explained in an article by Alex Wipperfürth, which will be included in his forthcoming book, Brand Hijack.
Do the suits in the boardroom really want theirThe article details the reasons why 'cool' is attainable but just barely and it isn't for everyone. The author has some pretty cool ideas. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
brands to be defiant and oppositional? No, what
they’re most likely striving for is mainstream
acceptance laced with some topical cachet.
Therein lies the fallacy of cool: It’s not really
what you want to chase. There are several reasons
Posted by Dan Brooks on July 30, 2004 at 03:09 PM | Permalink
Imagine THIS as the future of driving?
Imagine that every time you drove into the heart of your city's downtown you had to pay a small fee. How would traffic be affected if that fee shifted predictably by time-of-day depending on the congestion in the city center? This is one of the ideas that UC Berkeley researchers hope to test drive in a new international center dedicated to the future of urban transportation policy and technology. The Volvo Research and Educational Foundations recently awarded $2.4 million over five years to the UC Berkeley Institute of Transportation to establish this Centre of Excellence.London, England, instituted a fee for entering downtown London -- the complexity of enforcing, collecting and managing the fees has to be weighed against the benefits to congestion (as yet, undecided) from levying the fee.
Engineers at U.C. Berkeley are looking not just at a fee but a "time of day" fee as the next natural step in improving traffic flow.
In the picture on the right, the six large circles on the road are data collectors monitoring the speed and density of traffic. Based on this data, fees for access to the freeway will be set. Just how variable the fees will be is part of the research (can they change real time? NOTICE: the fee for road use is now ... $10 ... may elicit mass exit use: "GET OFF! GET OFF! Next exit, get off! We can't afford this now -- the fee just went up.").
Posted by Dan Brooks on July 30, 2004 at 08:49 AM | Permalink
New magazine for gadgeteers
Make will have 5-minute tips you can use to improve your gadgets, networks, and computers, as well as much longer projects that might take several days (or weeks) to complete. The first issue is coming out in January. If you're interested, visit the web site and sign up for the newsletter. I'll also be running the Make blog on that page. I hope that a lot of BB [BoingBoing] readers become Make contributors, too. Please send me your ideas for hacks, tips, tricks, workarounds, neat things to build, useful tools, etc.
Posted by Dan Brooks on July 30, 2004 at 08:34 AM | Permalink
When computer memory was big iron
This picture on Gizmodo shows an ancient hard drive being taken in for cleaning. The drive weighed in the neighborhood of 100 pounds, the platter weighed about 35 pounds by itself and spun at 3600 RPMs, so the centrifugal force was significant.
It held, at most, a megabyte or two of memory -- a fraction of what is held in USB pens that slip into your pocket or onto your keychain now.
Here is the comment of someone who worked on these machines:
The picture is of a fixed-head disk, very similar to a Borroughs unit I had the pleasure of disassembling (in 1975) after a catastrophic head crash .... It took me 3 days to whittle it down to nuts and bolts, and the platter weighed 18 pounds. The hub upon which the platter was mounted was phosphor bronze, and weighed an additional 17 pounds. So imagine the inertia of 35 pounds spinning at 3600 RPM. It had electric brakes, because if you just switched off the power, it would spin for a loooong time. ... It held a few megabytes at most, if I recall correctly (a similar unit was used as a swap disk on the PDP-10, so it would have held 256K or so).
Posted by Dan Brooks on July 30, 2004 at 08:24 AM | Permalink
Wheelchairs from spare parts
The Free Wheelchair Mission, a religious NGO, is making wheelchairs out of spare parts for just over $41 per wheelchair. They have made their plans available on the web, also. These are shipped to nations where the need for this type of support is the greatest.
The project also provides low-cost wheelchairs to all comers. Original link here.
Posted by Dan Brooks on July 30, 2004 at 08:13 AM | Permalink