Who Moved My Cheese?

Yes I Can

Changing will make you happy

This week I re-read the small but insightful book called Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson. I finished the 90-page, large letter formatted book in less than 1.5 hours, and you might be able to finish it faster.

So what is it about, and what makes is special? It’s about Change. And dealing with it, whether in your personal or professional environment. Change happens everywhere, always. Sometimes we initiate it ourselves, but most of the times it comes to us.  The book uses the story of two mice, Sniff and Scurry, and two Littlepeople, Hem and Haw, to explain to be more aware of change, to recognize it in an early stage and to anticipate it. » Read more…

10 things not to do when dealing with China

The Chinese market is unique

The Chinese market is unique

Hong Kong television station Pearl showed an insightful lecture by a J Walter Thompson consultant about marketing in China. Most important lessons: traditional marketing principles don’t work and don’t listen too much to Chinese experts.

Here’s his list of “10 commandments”, as he called it, which I enriched with some examples:

  1. Don’t take your CEO to dinner in a rich neighborhood of Shanghai » Read more…

The upwards spiral of the ongoing battle between Apps and Web

Apps and Web, the upwards spiral

Apps and Web, the upwards spiral

Everything moves in waves or big circles or spirals. Left and right wing politics, growing and shrinking economies, technological progress, relationships, you name it. And generally an upward spiral is preferred. The same applies to centralized and decentralized computing and “Web vs App”. Regarding the latter: Some say that the Web has had it’s time and the App will take over. The opposite used to be said 15 years ago.

» Read more…

How non-native speakers are enhancing the English language

The further simplification of the English language

Further simplification of the English language

Every language evolves. The speakers of a language use variations that best suit their needs. Also non-native speakers change the language where they see fit or where it better fit’s with their own language’s grammar. Foreign words are introduced as well. Some fear it, and try to fixate or otherwise influence this by defining spelling and grammar rules and punishing kids who make mistakes. Did you know in The Netherlands a commission defines spelling rules and changes them every few years? Making things harder and less logical every time. Ridiculous. Language should evolve by itself, which it does. And it’s unstoppable. » Read more…

18 relevant social media stories

Many, many articles are written on social media and social media marketing. How you should do it personally, how you should do it as a company, trends, what is hot etc. And social media like Twitter and LinkedIn are used to spread the links. As an online professional interested in consumer behavior, social media is of special interest to me and I try to keep track of the publications. For my own and for your use, I’ve gathered some here and added a short summary, so you can easily see if it’s relevant for you. » Read more…

How the ‘Freemium’ business model leads to success

Freemium 99 procent free

Freemium: 99 procent free

A few days ago Fast Company published a story about ‘Evernote CEO Phil Libin’s 3 Steps to “Freemium” Success‘, which he achieved with his company and service Evernote. The Freemium business model is based on providing free basic services and earning money from users opting to pay for additional features. The competitive advantage is in price. A free product cannot be beaten (on price) by an even cheaper product. The article presents 3 success factors and from the text a few preconditions can be distilled: » Read more…

To touch or not to touch the iPad?

Be careful touching the iPad

Jacob Nielsen (of Nielsen Norman Group) published research about the usability of the Apple ipad with early iPad Apps and some websites. Surprisingly it is signaled that some issues encountered with websites in the early 90’s are reoccurring now with this state of the art piece of technology.

Remarkably the touch pad functionality, which would be one of the fundamental features of the device, causes the main issues. Many of the different App user interfaces seem inconsistent, causing repeated and longer learning curves for users new to specific apps and possibly the whole device » Read more…

“We hate to do it, but we have to follow procedure” or NOT!

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Some quotes from this intriguing speech by Barry Schwartz about our lost wisdom:

  • “You don’t need to be brilliant to be wise” but at the same time “Without wisdom, brilliance is not enough”.
  • “We hate to do it, but we have to follow procedure” some say
  • “Rules and procedures may be dumb, but they spare you from thinking” (Scott Simon)
  • “As we turn increasingly to rules, rules and incentives may make things better in the short run, but they create a downwards spiral that makes them worse in the long run” and “we are engaging on a war on wisdom”
  • “We must ask, not just is it profitable, but is it right” (Barak Obama, 18-12-2008)

Also read my story about rewarding strategies.

Would you buy her apples?

Evil witch offering apples at Albert Heijn

Evil witch offering apples at Albert Heijn

Like most kids, when I was young, I learned not to buy apples from evil witches. I normally buy my apples at the Albert Heijn supermarket, but today I decided not to. See the picture at the right.

This supermarket has a temporary Snow White promotion, during which you can collect miniatures of all 7 dwarfs and other characters of Snow White’s fairy tale. It’s kind of weird to associate the apples you want to sell with an evil witch and the poisoned apple that caused Snow White to suffocate.

Multitaskers perform lousy when multitasking

Multitasking as it should be - Inspector Gadget

Multitasking as it should be - Inspector Gadget

A Stanford study on multitasking performance, published in August and sited in NRC this weekend, showed that frequent media-multitaskers perform less when having to focus on multiple information sources than typical non-multitaskers. This can be explained by assuming that the typical media-multitaskers are actually not good at focusing or concentrating on a task at hand. They basically cannot choose the relevant information sources. Surprisingly the media-multitaskers group indicated to be quite good at handling the different information sources, while the actual results of the study show otherwise.

“We kept looking for what they’re better at, and we didn’t find it,” said Ophir, the study’s lead author and a researcher in Stanford’s Communication Between Humans and Interactive Media Lab.

At the same time, companies are requiring their people to be tuned in to more and more information sources, like email, mobile and even twitter while the research shows it to be counterproductive.