Yesterday, Target Stores ran a very interesting two-page ad in the nation’s major Sunday newspapers. It showed five customer e-mails that were essentially complaints about Target’s customer service and provided five very clear, action-oriented responses.
Little did I expect to find a nugget of simplification in an article about Henry Paulson and the distribution of TARP money, but that is exactly what I found in the October 2009 issue of Vanity Fair. It seems that while homeowners were asked to read and sign dozens of pages of legalese to get measly home mortgages, the CEOs of the nation’s major banks signed a lightly populated two-page commitment to borrow billions.
Is our brand on Twitter?
If you haven’t been asked that question by your company’s CEO yet, here’s betting that you soon will. For those unfamiliar, Twitter is a popular “micro-blogging” service that has captured the excitement of everyone from Oprah and Richard Branson to your next door neighbor.
I have been lucky.
Over the course of the last couple of decades, I have seen a lot of great bands: The Ramones, The Allman Brothers, Dispatch, REM, The Stones, numerous Dead Shows, Eric Clapton, The Who, Dire Straits, Keb Mo, The Police, Elvis Costello, CSNY and many, many more. Like most people – I love music, I play music, and I need music in my life.
“Realistically, this thing must live for three to five years.” He was the CMO of a rapidly growing technology company and his disclaimer came shortly after he approved our strategy recommendation. He justified it with two reasons. First, he needed a shelf life of three to five years to justify the financial investment.
My mail is killing me. Well, only one letter—the one from the tree-spraying company—actually discussed calling the poison control center. But every day, I get a letter from one company or another who is trying to hoodwink me, treat me like a number, confuse me or scare me.
Just when I think Michelle Obama can’t get any classier than she already is, she does. It seems she’s consulting with some very sophisticated advisors on her fashion choices.
Her selections for the inauguration and the evening balls show a very subtle reversal of the choices most would expect her to make. For the events of the day, she picked a dress that made a bigger statement than the dress for the evening. It was a nice way to communicate that the events of the day were the more important events.
As we watched our new President take the oath of office, Americans were moved by the profound dignity of the scene. Something else struck me—the simple economy of the oath itself. A man assumed the role of our nation’s leader in just thirty-five words.
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Once again the New Year was greeted by the annual pilgrimage of media magnates and technophiles from around the world to the balmy desert valley of Las Vegas, where throngs of buyers and sellers convened at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to make deals, make news or just be seen.
I complain about needless complexity in credit card agreements, telephone bills and government forms when it is a nuisance. Once in awhile, an example stops me in my tracks because it is much more serious. Reading the January, 2009 edition of Vanity Fair, I was horrified to read that unclear instructions had killed hundreds of people.