Ten years ago at the blog — I may owe Burger King an Apology

Not because BK has notably upped their game, but they don't seem to have had any big screw-ups lately and they certainly haven't done anything as mind-numbingly stupid as firing the firm largely responsible for turning around probably the most damaged brands in the industry.

 AdWeek from 2015:

Instead, the fast food chain stopped working with Secret Weapon last month. The client is now “working to…determine our formal relationship” with L.A.’s David&Goliath, which joined its creative roster early this year and created  its “Legendary” ad for the Super Bowl. The decision to switch agencies also follows Jack in the Box’s promotion of Keith Guilbault to the chief marketing officer role in late 2013.

 (I looked up "Legendary" on YouTube. I believe I'd seen it before, but I'd almost completely forgotten it.)


Friday, May 31, 2013

Burger King vs. Jack in the Box -- More thoughts on corporate competence


While on the subject of corporate competence, this recent story  seems like a good excuse to do a post on on one of the most consistently incompetent companies on the business landscape.

One of the most intriguing and for those inclined toward schadenfreude entertaining things about Burger King is the way that for about the past thirty years, with a variety of managers and owners, the company has been so bad at so many things.

Their PR is often clumsy (you generally want to avoid headlines about you copying your competitor's products).

Their relationship with their franchisees is (Read more...)

Consider the WordWindow

This post is by Seth Godin from Seth's Blog

Computer adventure games were possible in the 1980s because of a bit of code called a ‘parser’. You could type, “pick up the axe” and the computer would understand the phrase and follow your commands. In italics, because it didn’t understand anything, it simply broke your sentences into bits and changed the state of your inventory accordingly.

When faced with a parser, even a primitive one, many people did that homunculus thing and decided that the computer could understand every single thing you might type, like, “I’m thinking that having an axe in my inventory would be helpful,” or even, “let me tell you about my cousin…”

My first gig, at Spinnaker, was leading the team that built the original generation of illustrated computer adventure games (I got to work with Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury, which is a great story). We discovered early on that the parser was magical but not nearly as powerful as people hoped.

Sounds a bit like LLM and ChatGPT, forty years later.

The solution was to offer a convenient and simple approach, which is almost always the solution to a problem of confusion.

We created the WordWindow™ button. The gratuitous trademark symbol made it more powerful, apparently.

When you clicked that button, it gave you a list of the 25 most common or useful things you could type.

I think this is going to be a powerful bridge even now. For example, a “Summarize” button is going to lean into ChatGPT’s strengths, but (Read more...)

Comparing Population Pyramids Around the World

This post is by Niccolo Conte from Visual Capitalist

Population Pyramids

Now Available, Exclusively to VC+ Members.

Dive deeper into what affects the demographics of global economies. Join VC+ to get our special dispatch!

Visualization comparing countries and their population pyramids

Understanding and Comparing Population Pyramids

Demographic data can reveal all kinds of insights about a population, from the country’s fertility and mortality rates to how certain events and policies have shaped the makeup of a population.

Population pyramids are one of the best ways to visualize population data, and comparing the pyramids of various countries and regions side-by-side can reveal unexpected insights and differences between groups.

This graphic uses population data from the United Nations to compare the demographics of some select nations and regions of the world, showcasing how much age distributions can vary.

Three Types of Population Pyramids

Although population pyramids can come in all shapes and sizes, most generally fall into three distinct categories:

  • Expansive Pyramids: Recognized by their traditional “pyramid-like” shape with a broad base and narrow top, expansive pyramids reflect a population with a high birth rate along with a high mortality rate which is most common in developing countries.
  • Constrictive Pyramids: With a narrow base and thicker middle and top sections of the pyramid, constrictive pyramids often occur in developed economies whose populations have low birth rates and long life expectancies.
  • Stationary Pyramids: These pyramids showcase an evenly distributed population across age groups, often found in newly-developed countries which have stable birth and mortality rates.

Each population pyramid is essentially a visual snapshot of a nation’s current (Read more...)

The swag is here

This post is by Seth Godin from Seth's Blog

To celebrate the new book, here are some limited edition swag options to benefit good causes and independent craftspeople.

You can find them all at seths.store.

I went to Brooklyn and worked with Dan at the Arm to create a set of five handmade letterpress posters. They’re 12 inches square, available framed or unframed, and all sales directly benefit Newborns in Need. It’s hard to describe just how magical paper and ink can feel in the hands of a pro. They’re each signed on the back, limited to 100 each. Many thanks to my friends at Scribe for making all of the fulfillment possible.

Next up are a pair of durable, soft, handmade t-shirts that capture some of the energy of the book. They’ll look better on you, promise. Made by the Cotton Bureau, all profits go to BuildOn.

And then there’s the legendary bee mug, made by independent craftspeople working with Bread and Badger in the Pacific Northwest. I can confirm that tea tastes significantly better in these mugs, with or without honey.

Book launches are always fraught, but now it’s the book’s job to spark and amplify the conversations that make change happen. Thank you for your support and for caring enough to make a difference.

PS bonus letterpress footage:

Double debossed, shot in gratuitous slo-mo, with AMSR sound as recorded live

PS lots of new podcast interviews here

Reliving the 2023 NVCA Annual Leadership Gala!

50 Years of Impact

For five decades, NVCA has worked to advocate for laws, policies, and a culture that encourage innovation and forge a promising path for the future. The yearlong celebration of our history – and what’s yet to be done – included our 2023 NVCA Leadership Gala and awards ceremony last month in San Francisco.

The annual event brought together the voices of the industry’s past, present, and future leaders. In a significant moment, the gala also marked the presentation of our newest award category – The Venture Vanguard Award.

Launching Venture Vanguard

Created in observance of our 50th anniversary, the prestigious new award honors exceptional individuals who have made and/or currently making significant contributions to create opportunities for entrepreneurs to build companies that change the world and turbocharge America’s growth and success.

The founding recipients — Brad Feld, Jan Garfinkle, Mary Meeker, Alan Patricof, and the late Don Valentine (1932-2019) — stand out both individually and as a collective group.

Individually, the five VC luminaries, selected by the NVCA board, have each transformed or are currently transforming the venture capital landscape through their unique perspectives, expertise, and experiences. 

When brought together as the founding Venture Vanguard class, presented by EY Private and Dentons Venture Technology Group, a formidable force emerged, amplifying the impact of the newly minted award category.

Recognizing the Changing Face of the VC Industry

In addition to the Venture Vanguard Award, we presented the Rising Star Award, (Read more...)

Graphene: An Investor’s Guide to the Emerging Market

This post is by Rida Khan from Visual Capitalist

The following content is sponsored by HydroGraph

Graphene: An Investor’s Guide to the Emerging Market

Graphene is an atomic-scale “honeycomb” that is revolutionizing the world of materials and capturing investor attention.

Experts predict that its market value could reach the billion-dollar threshold by 2027 and soar to a staggering $3.75 billion by 2030.

In this infographic sponsored by HydroGraph, we dive into everything investors need to know about this exciting industry and where it’s headed.

Promising Properties

Graphene possesses several unique physical properties which contribute to its wide range of potential applications.

  • 200 times stronger than steel
  • Harder than diamonds
  • 1,000 times lighter than paper
  • 98% transparent
  • Higher electrical conductivity than copper
  • Heat conductivity: 5 times that of copper
  • 2,630 m² of surface area per gram

Since its first successful isolation in 2004, graphene’s properties have opened the doors to a multitude of commercial applications and products.

Applications of Graphene

Graphene has permeated numerous sectors like electronics, energy, and healthcare because of its impressive array of end uses.

IndustryRevenue CAGR of Graphene Across Industries, 2022-2027
Biomedical and Healthcare52%
Electronics and Telecommunications34%
Aerospace and Defense16%
Other End-User Industries17%

Graphene’s antibacterial properties make it highly suitable for medical instruments and implants. Furthermore, it has shown remarkable potential in helping treat diseases such as cancer.

Another one of the (Read more...)